Apple's Jony Ive knighted, discusses 'quest for simplicity'

Apple's British design guru receives a knighthood today, and has spoken about the Californian company's design philosophy.

Apple's design guru Jonathan Ive has received a knighthood, with the 45-year-old British designer behind the iPod , iPhone and iPad opening up about Apple's design philosophy in an interview with the Telegraph.

"We try to develop products that seem somehow inevitable," Sir Jony told the paper. "That leave you with the sense that that's the only possible solution that makes sense."

The Chingford native says Apple's products are tools, "and we don't want design to get in the way. We're trying to bring simplicity and clarity."

If you tried to describe Apple's familiar design aesthetic, 'minimalist' might be the word you'd reach for. But Sir Jony says simplicity isn't as simple as just clearing space. "Simplicity is not the absence of clutter," he says, "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."

Sir Jony says his team is devoted to detail, even when it comes to the tiniest aspect of crafting a gadget. He calls it 'finishing the back of the drawer'. "You can argue that people will never see it and it's very hard to, in any rational sense, describe why it's important, but it just seems important."

According to Sir Jony, Apple sometimes funnels huge amounts of time and resources into tiny design details that are "way beyond any sense of functional imperative... and we do it because it's right."

Sir Jony says he was inspired by his dad, who he describes as having "an incredible gift in terms of how you can make something yourself".

Having fashioned its most popular gadgets, and contributed massively to the distinctive look that's made so Apple popular in the last decade or so, Sir Jony is one of the most important bods at the house Jobs built. Check out a video of Sir Jony looking pleased as punch as he receives the old sword on the shoulder treatment from Princess Anne.

One final tidbit -- he says what he's working on now feels like the "most important and the best work we've done". Could that be the iPhone 5, or Apple's rumoured TV ?

Are you a fan of Apple's design? Or do you prefer another manufacturer's style? Let me know in the comments or on our Facebook wall.

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About the author

Luke Westaway is a senior editor at CNET and writer/ presenter of Adventures in Tech, a thrilling gadget show produced in our London office. Luke's focus is on keeping you in the loop with a mix of video, features, expert opinion and analysis.

 

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