13 Jony Ive quotes for designers

Apple's design guru explains his philosophy of design in brilliantly trippy, zenlike soundbites.


Aside from being a stand-up guy and East End success story, Apple design chief Sir Jony Ive is also one of the most successful and admired designers in the world, with a hand in the creation of almost all of Apple's key hardware products of the past decade and a half, and some of its best software too.

And as well as that, he is brilliant at explaining his design philosophy in trippy, zenlike soundbites. One of the highlights of an Apple launch is finding out that Sir Jony has done another video.

Here, then, are our 13 favourite Jony Ive quotes: his most mind-bending and zenlike philosophical musings.

Use the slideshow controls above and right to read the quotes and see more photos of Jony and his design work for Apple.

"Very often design is the most immediate way of defining what products become in people's minds."

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"Simplicity is not the absence of clutter; that's a consequence of simplicity.

"Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product.

"The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That's not simple."

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"It's very easy to be different, but very difficult to be better."

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"Design is a word that's come to mean so much that it's also a word that has come to mean nothing."

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Right: Jony Ive accepting the D&AD's 50th Birthday Award as the most awarded design studio, accompanied by other members of Apple's design team. Photo by Kevin Joseph.


"So much of what we try to do is get to a point where the solution seems inevitable: you know, you think "of course it's that way, why would it be any other way?" It looks so obvious, but that sense of inevitability in the solution is really hard to achieve."

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Right: Jony became the Senior Vice President of Industrial Design at Apple in 1997. Two years later saw the launch of Apple's iconic iMac.

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"That's an interesting thing about an object. One object speaks volumes about the company that produced it and its values and priorities."

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"When our tools are broken, we feel broken. And when somebody fixes one, we feel a tiny bit more whole."

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"I think there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity; in clarity, in efficiency.

"True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It's about bringing order to complexity."

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"The memory of how we work will endure beyond the products of our work."

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"You have to deeply understand the essence of a product in order to be able to get rid of the parts that are not essential."

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"I figured out some basic stuff: that form and colour defines your perception of the nature of an object, whether or not it is intended to."

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"Our goal is to try to bring a calm and simplicity to what are incredibly complex problems so that you're not aware really of the solution."

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"We don't do focus groups - that is the job of the designer. It's unfair to ask people who don't have a sense of the opportunities of tomorrow from the context of today to design."

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