Jonathan Ive Talks Design, Failure, and More in Appearance at London's Design Museum

Jonathan Ive, Apple's Senior VP of Design, made a rare public appearance at the Design Museum in London yesterday (via Cult of Mac). At the event, he discussed everything from his view on the future of design to his opinions on failure with museum director Deyan Sudjic.

We shouldn’t be afraid to fail - if we are not failing we are not pushing. 80% of the stuff in the studio is not going to work. If something is not good enough, stop doing it.

The talk with Sudjic also included a roomful of up-and-coming design students, with Ive offering additional perspective on the design process and rejection.

"The best ideas start as conversations. A small change at the beginning of the design process defines an entirely different product at the end. At the start of the process the idea is just a thought - very fragile and exclusive. When the first physical manifestation is created everything changes. It is no longer exclusive, now it involves a lot of people." Ive also mentioned, "There are 9 rejected ideas for every idea that works."

jony_ive_design_museum

Photo by @nickcorston)

Unfortunately for those design hopefuls listening to Ive, the odds of working in his team are slim. Apple's Industrial Design team is notoriously difficult to get into, in large part because its members never leave the company. The eighteen-person team hasn't seen a single member leave for fifteen years. "I like to work in a small team," Ive told Sudjic. "There is only 18 of us on the design team. Nobody has ever left."

Ive also touched on how to gain experience in the field, design studies in schools today, and the difference between making something different and making it better.

Our goal is to desperately make the best products we can. We’re not naive. We trust that if we’re successful and we make good products, that people will like them. And we trust that if people like them, they’ll buy them. And we figured out the operation and we’re effective. We know what we’re doing, so we’ll make money, but it’s a tough sequence.

Ive has famously remained out of the spotlight for much of his tenure at Apple, but has opened up considerably since taking on new responsibilities for software design and more recently with the impending launch of the Apple Watch. Recent appearances have included an awards ceremony hosted by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art and a Vanity Fair summit in San Francisco.

Update: Dezeen also has a very thorough overview of Ive's interview.

Top Rated Comments

hipnetic Avatar
91 months ago
Seems fitting. When it comes to user interface design, Ive is an expert on Design Failure.
Score: 18 Votes (Like | Disagree)
KdParker Avatar
91 months ago
Hey, I've seen what they do to people who want to leave in Sons of Anarchy and mob movies :D

Quote:
The eighteen-person team hasn't seen a single member leave for fifteen years

All jokes aside. I think it is a bad idea to have a design team that has been so static for almost a generation.
Score: 14 Votes (Like | Disagree)
rGiskard Avatar
91 months ago
Here's a few quotes that were left out:

"If a design overheats and throttles the GPU (https://forums.macrumors.com/showthread.php?t=1815601) so hard it performs worse than the previous generation, then that's the price of beauty. Nothing is free, deal with it!"


"Form is paramount, ergonomics are for dork engineers. If a user must give his computer a reach around to access an SD Card reader, then that is the price of thin."

"If a user can access the diabolical innards of a design, then it is a failure. The ultimate goal is a perfectly sealed disposable computer, because we here at Apple love the environment and want to change the world!"
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
Apple Knowledge Navigator Avatar
91 months ago
The best ideas start as conversations.
TC: Let's make a watch. Let's make some really... expensive... watches.
JI: Do you like gold?
TC: Sure!
JI: See you in two years, Tim.
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
H2SO4 Avatar
91 months ago
"There are 9 rejected ideas for every idea that works." Lesson to Samsung: get rid of the half-baked concepts and ideas *before* you get to production.

Jeez. Someone had to lower the thread to Samsung bashing. Can we just leave it alone for even one article?
Score: 9 Votes (Like | Disagree)
MellowFuzz Avatar
91 months ago
Quote:
The eighteen-person team hasn't seen a single member leave for fifteen years

All jokes aside. I think it is a bad idea to have a design team that has been so static for almost a generation.

Their marketing must be as static, which would explain why Apple thinks U2 is cool.
Score: 8 Votes (Like | Disagree)

Related Stories

studio buds family

Beats Studio Buds Debuting Today With Active Noise Cancellation, Stemless Design, and More for $150

Monday June 14, 2021 8:00 am PDT by
We've seen a lot of teasers about the Beats Studio Buds over the past month since they first showed up in Apple's beta software updates, and today they're finally official. The Beats Studio Buds are available to order today in red, white, and black ahead of a June 24 ship date, and they're priced at $149.99. The Studio Buds are the first Beats-branded earbuds to truly compete with AirPods...
YouTube Picture in Picture Feature

YouTube Premium Subscribers Can Now Use iOS Picture-in-Picture: Here's How

Wednesday August 25, 2021 3:55 am PDT by
Google has rolled out picture-in-picture support as an "experimental" feature for YouTube premium subscribers, allowing them to watch video in a small window when the app is closed. If you're a premium YouTube subscriber looking to try out picture-in-picture, follow these steps: Launch a web browser and sign into your YouTube account at YouTube.com. Navigate to www.youtube.com/new. Scroll...
M1X MBP Feature

Leaker: Upcoming MacBook Pro to See Price Hike Over Current Model, Equal Performance Across 14 and 16-Inch Sizes

Tuesday August 24, 2021 5:28 am PDT by
The upcoming 14-inch MacBook Pro is set to be more expensive than the current 13-inch MacBook Pro and both the 14 and 16-inch models will offer the same performance, according to the leaker known as "Dylandkt." The leaker shared the information on Twitter, explaining that both of the upcoming MacBook Pro models, expected to come in 14 and 16-inch sizes, will feature the same performance due...
youtube apple tv

YouTube Discontinuing 3rd-Generation Apple TV App, AirPlay Still Available

Wednesday February 3, 2021 3:09 pm PST by
YouTube is planning to stop supporting its YouTube app on the third-generation Apple TV models, where YouTube has long been available as a channel option. A 9to5Mac reader received a message about the upcoming app discontinuation, which is set to take place in March.Starting early March, the YouTube app will no longer be available on Apple TV (3rd generation). You can still watch YouTube on...
ryanscoolios13thumbnail

Apple Releases iOS 13.1.3 With Bug Fixes for Phone, Mail, Health, and More

Tuesday October 15, 2019 10:09 am PDT by
Apple today released iOS 13.1.3 and iPadOS 13.1.3, minor updates to the iOS 13.1.2 software that was released two weeks ago. This is the fourth update to the iOS 13 operating system that came out in September. The iOS and iPadOS 13.1.3 updates are available on all eligible devices over-the-air in the Settings app. To access the updates, go to Settings > General > Software Update....
Top Stories 75 Thumbnail

Top Stories: Last-Minute iPhone 13 Rumors, Apple Announces App Store Changes, and More

Saturday September 4, 2021 6:00 am PDT by
The finish line is in sight! Apple's annual iPhone event is likely just a week or so away and all eyes will be on the company as it unveils the next version of its most popular product line. With any luck, we'll also see the next-generation Apple Watch and perhaps even some new AirPods. Other news this week saw Apple making some more changes to its App Store policies in response to a...
affinity designer contour tool

Serif Updates Affinity Photo, Designer, and Publisher With New Tools and Functions

Thursday February 4, 2021 1:58 am PST by
Serif today announced across-the-board updates for its popular suite of Affinity creative apps, including Affinity Photo, Affinity Designer, and the Apple award-winning Affinity Publisher for Mac, all of which were among the first professional creative suites to be optimized for Apple's new M1 chip. "After another year which saw record numbers of people switching to Affinity, it's exciting to...
iPhone 13 Dummy Thumbnail 2

Kuo: iPhone 13 to Feature LEO Satellite Communications to Make Calls and Texts Without Cellular Coverage

Sunday August 29, 2021 7:39 am PDT by
The iPhone 13 will feature low earth orbit (LEO) satellite communication connectivity to allow users to make calls and send messages in areas without 4G or 5G coverage, according to the reliable analyst Ming-Chi Kuo. In a note to investors, seen by MacRumors, Kuo explained that the iPhone 13 lineup will feature hardware that is able to connect to LEO satellites. If enabled with the relevant...
maxresdefault

Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak Discuss iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, Privacy, Shortcuts on Mac, and More

Saturday June 12, 2021 6:12 am PDT by
As is tradition, Apple executives Craig Federighi and Greg Joswiak joined Daring Fireball's John Gruber in an episode of The Talk Show to discuss several announcements that Apple made over this weeks WWDC, including iPadOS 15, macOS Monterey, and a large focus around privacy. Federighi kicks off the conversation discussing the common architecture, now thanks to Apple silicon, across all of...
iOS 14 on iPhone feature emergency

Apple Seeds Third Betas of iOS and iPadOS 14.6 to Developers [Update: Public Beta Available]

Monday May 10, 2021 10:13 am PDT by
Apple today seeded the third betas of new iOS and iPadOS 14.6 updates to developers for testing purposes, one week after seeding the second iOS and iPadOS 14.6 updates. iOS and iPadOS 14.6 can be downloaded through the Apple Developer Center or over the air after the proper profile has been installed on an iPhone or iPad. iOS and iPadOS 14.6 appear to be more minor changes focusing on...