Apple News, , , , , , , , , , — May 23, 2012 16:01 — 0 Comments

Apple design guru Ive at the Palace for a knighthood

Jonathan Ive, Apple, Industrial Design, kinghthood, UK, iPad

Go Jony, go! Jonathan Ive, Apple senior vice president of industrial design, is knighted by the Queen today

British-born Jonathan Ive says he is humbled by the honour, in recognition for his services to design and enterprise


Twenty years since he left the UK to work for Apple in California, design guru Jonathan Ive returns to London today to receive a knighthood from Princess Anne  in recognition for his work on products such as the iPad, iPhone and Macbook.

Since 1997 Ive has been in charge of all of Apple’s designs, and by association is one of the most influential designers in the world — if not the most influential.

In doing so he has amassed a personal wealth of £80 million, but remains fairly incognito, which is the way he likes it. Ive lives with his British wife, Heather, and two children in San Francisco, a short drive from his design studio, on Apple’s Cupertino campus.

The level of secrecy is legendary at Apple and only select employees are even allowed inside the office, which has tinted windows and is filled with gear for designing and prototyping Apple’s various products.

Ive’s is knighted today  for services to design and enterprise. The honour, he told The Telegraph’s  Shane Richmond, is “incredibly humbling”.

“All I’ve ever wanted to do is design and make; it’s what I love doing. It’s great if you can find what you love to do. Finding it is one thing but then to be able to practise that and be preoccupied with that is another,” he says. “I’m very aware of an incredible tradition in the UK of designing and making, and so to be recognised in this way is really wonderful.”

Ive, an Essex boy, raised in the nondescript midlands town of Stafford who went on to study design at Newcastle Polytechnic, now Northumbria University, says he was influenced by histeacher-father. “My father was a very good craftsman. He made furniture, he made silverware and he had an incredible gift in terms of how you can make something yourself.”

In his biography of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson recalls that the lateAppleco-founderalsopickedup similar influences while watching his adopted father fix cars in his garage.

“Growing up, I enjoyed drawing but it was always in the service of an idea. I drew all the time and I enjoyed making, ” says Ive.

“One of the things that was interesting about my time at the school of art and design is that you were in very close proximity to graphic designers, fashion designers and fine art students. That’s one of the things that really characterised my time at college and I think it characterises a lot of the energy and vitality in London, this density of such creative diversity, ” he told Richmond.

He says it was while he was at university that he first got his hands on an Apple Mac. Having considered himself to be technically inept, writes Richmond, he was amazed to find a computer that he could use. “I suddenly realised that it wasn’t me at all. The computers that I had been expected to use were absolutely dreadful.”

Ive’s path to Apple and international recognition started with Tangerine, the design agency he co-founded, and which led him to do work as a consultant for Apple. Despite living and working in California for 20  years he says, he is “definitely the product of a very British design education”.

“Even in high school I was keenly aware of this remarkable tradition that the UK had of designing and making. It’s important to remember that Britain was the first country to industrialise, so I think there’s a strong argument to say this is where my profession was founded.”

His mantra for design is “simplicity” and “focus”.  Everything, he tells Richmond, emphasises the teamwork involved in producing products such as the iMac, the candy-colouredcomputerthatrelaunched Apple on the path to success, or the iPad, the tablet that has redefined the way people use computers, and the iPhone of course, the sleek camera and computer that fits in your pocket.

“Our products are tools and we don’t want design to get in the way. We’re trying to bring simplicity and clarity, we’re trying to order the products.

He also acknowledges his heritage as a British designer and the social responsibilities of good design, borne from the industrial revolution.  “One of the concerns was that there would somehow be, inherent with mass production and industrialisation, a godlessness and a lack of care,” he says.

“We’re keenly aware that when we develop and make something and bring it to market that it really does speak to a set of values. And what preoccupies us is that sense of care, and what our products will not speak to is a schedule, what our products will not speak to is trying to respond to some corporate or competitive agenda. We’re very genuinely designing the best products that we can for people.”

Arise Sir Jony Ive, Britain salutes you.

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About the author

Tony Myers has written 866 articles for Smart Movie Making

Fooling around with the iPhone since 2010. Taking it to the next web by writing about new media, new technology, new wave cinema and the digital revolution.

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