Steve seemed astonished that I spent less time talking about my projects than I spent describing the objectives, goals, and processes of my approach to design, including my experiences navigating power struggles within my client’s companies— most of which resulted in very successful products. He seemed mildly uncomfortable with the idea that a design language isn’t universal or absolute but needs to be right for the spirit of a company, and I saw him frown when I said that aesthetics evoke emotions but are just one of the elements of a great product.
In fact, Steve didn’t really know much about design, but he liked German cars. Leveraging that connection, I explained that design like that has to be a complete package, that it must express the product’s very soul; without the excellent driving experience and the history of stellar performance, a Porsche would be just another nice car—but it wouldn’t be a Porsche. We also discussed American design, and I offended him when I insisted that American computer and consumer electronics companies totally underestimated the taste of American consumers—Sony’s success with clean design being the proof. He was gracious enough to concede that Apple didn’t make the cut, but he also said that he was out to change all that, which was why he was looking for a world-class designer."
It is interesting to get insight into Jobs before he was ‘famous,’ especially from the perspective of, arguably, one of the most important men in the design business.
While you have to take Esslinger’s opinion with a grain of salt, his core point is important: design is learned.
That said, there still might be basic traits that make some better than others, naturally.
"How Jony Ive’s Apple iOS 7 Hinders the Future of Design" - John Maeda
An excellent point. Yes there are 2 ends of the spectrum, practically polar opposites, but there are places in between. iOS 7 feels a little bit like an Ives ego trip.
Definitely an interesting thing to think about how these two are going to switch roles in the tech industry. Especially as the chief of hardware design has now moved to designing software.
Although Google has certainly not mastered the whole design thing, they have made more significant changes to their products as well as introducing new products where design is the priority, than Apple has in the last 2 years.
Google’s changes have been more disruptive and drastic while Apple is making minor and iterative changes, but is this necessarily the best way to go when it comes to meeting the consumer demand that these two companies face?
Some sceptics reckon that Google has a long way to go before it can aspire to Apple-like excellence. “Consistency alone does not make for great design,” sniffs Jason Putorti, a designer who works for Causes, a web business that helps people mount online campaigns. Others point out that products such as Google Glass, prototype web-connected glasses that make wearers look like extras from a Terminator movie, are still badly in need of beautification (see picture).
True. But the fact remains that Google is getting better at design faster than Apple is mastering the kind of web services that have made its rival so successful. And the stock market has noticed."