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Apple's Jony Ive nearly gave up on industrial design in college

post #1 of 42
Thread Starter 
More than 20 years ago, renowned designer Tom Karen helped to shape Apple's future when he took on the task of talking a teenaged Jonathan Ive out of giving up on a future in industrial design.

Tom Karen
Tom Karen and some of his more famous designs, including the Bond Bug, Raleigh Chopper, Bush TR130 radio, and Aircruiser II concept jetliner.


Ive's father met Karen when the two served as judges for a student design competition. Concerned about his son's future, the elder Ive asked Karen to intervene when it appeared that Jonathan was reconsidering his choice of career, Karen recalled for the Telegraph.

"He got in touch with me a bit later and said, my son Jonathan's at university in Newcastle and is thinking about giving up his industrial design course," Karen said. "Maybe you could revive his interest?"

Karen invited the Ives to the offices of Ogle Design, the firm at which Karen served as managing director and chief designer. Under Karen, Ogle was responsible for the design of iconic 1970s British products like the Raleigh Chopper bicycle and Bond Bug three-wheeled microcar.

The tour had the desired effet, rekindling the younger Ive's interest in design. "The outcome was that Jonathan stuck to industrial design and made a huge success of it," Karen added.

Ive went on to co-found design consultancy Tangerine and was brought on as a consultant at Apple in 1992, later joining the company full-time. He was promoted to Senior Vice President of Industrial Design upon Steve Jobs's return in 1997 and is now considered of the best designers in the world, earning a knighthood in 2012 for his work.
post #2 of 42

"Victory has a thousand fathers, but defeat is an orphan."  —John F. Kennedy

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post #3 of 42
I think this just goes to show anyone who is thinking about giving up to never give up. Doesn't matter how hard it may seem, don't ever give up and you'll eventually be rewarded. Things may seem impossible to learn at times but if you push through, you'll likely end up where you want to be. It's just that sometimes people have to work grades than others to get there and I know that can be frustrating to those that do have to work harder.

I myself are glad he stayed. As much as we all think of Steve at Apple as the genius, I think Jony Ive is just as much of a genius as anyone and still continues to be to this day. When he leaves Apple, this will be nearly as big of a loss as losing Steve IMO.

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post #4 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I myself are glad he stayed.

Apparently you yourself constitute a plurality! :lol:

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

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I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

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post #5 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kibitzer View Post

Apparently you yourself constitute a plurality! lol.gif

Sorry, didn't know the grammar police was here. 1smile.gif

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post #6 of 42

You can work  hard at something but if you don't have the innate ability and talent you're not going to reach the peak of that field no mater how hard you try. I love football but I know I will never be in the NFL. Jony Ive has the natural talent and ability.

post #7 of 42

I hope that he never gives up.  The world of design would seem so sterile without him.

post #8 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by RalphMouth View Post

You can work  hard at something but if you don't have the innate ability and talent you're not going to reach the peak of that field no mater how hard you try. I love football but I know I will never be in the NFL. Jony Ive has the natural talent and ability.

You don't always have to be at the peak to succeed. It depends on what you want to do. You'll never be given the chance if you give up on yourself.

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post #9 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post


Sorry, didn't know the grammar police was here. 1smile.gif

 

The grammar police were here. :lol:

post #10 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I myself are glad he stayed. As much as we all think of Steve at Apple as the genius, I think Jony Ive is just as much of a genius as anyone and still continues to be to this day. When he leaves Apple, this will be nearly as big of a loss as losing Steve IMO.


Jony has a great team of people working with him.  Like Steve did, I only hope that Jony's legacy also includes having someone that follows his footsteps in design and beliefs.


Edited by sflocal - 2/20/14 at 3:28pm
post #11 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post
 

 

The grammar police were here. :lol:

They was? :D

I admit to being a Fanatical Moderate. I Disdain the Inane. Vyizderzominymororzizazizdenderizorziz?

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post #12 of 42
Like father, like son, at least with the facial hair.

845d0cd9-c824-02b5-f0d7-d227966c6991.jpg?width=605&quality=90&crop=auto
post #13 of 42

That Ives guy should have given up, all that boring, simplistic and pure stuff a real designer would have come up with things like this real design work:-

 

 

/s

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post #14 of 42

I have a dream I ain't given' up on eider.

Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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Citing unnamed sources with limited but direct knowledge of a rumoured device - Comedy Insider (Feb 2014)
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post #15 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post
 


Jony has a great time of people working with him.  Like Steve did, I only hope that Jony's legacy also includes having someone that follows his footsteps in design and beliefs.

 

I hope so too. Jony has played just as much of a part of Apple's success as anyone. He just never gets recognized for it, although I think he likes it that way.

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post #16 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by ddawson100 View Post
 

 

The grammar police were here. :lol:


The grammar police are here?? :\

post #17 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

Sorry, didn't know the grammar police was here. 1smile.gif
Well I'm dyslexic I'm screwed
post #18 of 42

Does make you wonder, though, which industry could have been that much better if he had switched. With that much talent and brains he likely would have made an impact wherever he ended up.

post #19 of 42
I'm sure Karen had nothing to do with the basic mechanical layout of the Bond Bug, just the styling—but honestly, 100 years ago there were plenty of 3-wheeled cars (Morgan was only one of the latest and most successful), but that's because they knew which end to put the single wheel on! These single-front-wheel abominations are waiting to capsize just sitting there.
post #20 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post
 


The grammar police are here?? :\

The grammar policeses are here!

post #21 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Ireland View Post

I have a dream I ain't given' up on eider.

I have a dream I'm not giving up on either.
post #22 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by comley View Post

Well I'm dyslexic I'm screwed

Well, I'm dyslexic; I'm screwed.

You did very well; you just missed out on a bit of punctuation.
post #23 of 42
Probably a miss quote but "... my son Jonathan's at university in Newcastle". To be accurate, he was at Newcastle Polytechnic, a totally separate institution at the time. Newcastle University is right across the road and both were excellent places.
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post #24 of 42
They're both in Newcastle though. The quote lacks precision, but it's not incorrect.

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post #25 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by sflocal View Post
 


The grammar police are here?? :\

 

I used to not be able to spell deziner designer, now I are one.

"Inspirational phrase here." - Person you never heard of here.

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post #26 of 42
I almost gave up on the last piece of pizza. I reached deep within and found the strength to persevere. Still awaiting accolades.
post #27 of 42
post #28 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Crowley View Post

They're both in Newcastle though. The quote lacks precision, but it's not incorrect.

You think? Back in those days there was a massive difference between a University and a Polytechnic (it may have been all made the same now but not then). They differed in entrance requirements not to mention the courses and qualifications received ... and dare I say 'prestige' or is that not PC these days. 1biggrin.gif I attended both over a few years at the time. I did a foundation course at the Poly and went on to get my Degree at the University. In fact my best mate was on the same Industrial Design course as Jony at Newcastle Poly and I spent many an hour watching those guys playing in there with their fibre glass and band saws ... I was always quite envious of the fun that course was compared to mine.
Edited by digitalclips - 2/21/14 at 6:25am
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post #29 of 42
"Like Steve did, I only hope that Jony's legacy also includes having someone that follows his footsteps in design and beliefs"

As Steve did, I only hope that Jony's legacy also includes having someone who follows his footsteps in design and beliefs.

FTFY;)
post #30 of 42
One look at those five pics indicates to me a need for more design expertise. The car, radio and by cycle all look like crap.
post #31 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I hope so too. Jony has played just as much of a part of Apple's success as anyone. He just never gets recognized for it, although I think he likes it that way.

Not sure that's true, I feel Jony is credited with much of Apple's success but perhaps that's just my perception as i am from that world. Maybe the unwashed masses don't know ... 1hmm.gif
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post #32 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Rogifan View Post

Like father, like son, at least with the facial hair.

845d0cd9-c824-02b5-f0d7-d227966c6991.jpg?width=605&quality=90&crop=auto

Burle Ive?

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post #33 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by digitalclips View Post


You think? Back in those days there was a massive difference between a University and a Polytechnic (it may have been all made the same now but not then). They differed in entrance requirements not to mention the courses and qualifications received ... and dare I say 'prestige' or is that not PC these days. 1biggrin.gif I attended both over a few years at the time. I did a foundation course at the Poly and went on to get my Degree at the University. In fact my best mate was on the same Industrial Design course as Jony at Newcastle Poly and I spent many an hour watching those guys playing in there with their fibre glass and band saws ... I was always quite envious of the fun that course was compared to mine.

Oh, I see your point now.  Yes, I suppose it's technically (polytechnically, in fact ;)) incorrect then.

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post #34 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post

I think this just goes to show anyone who is thinking about giving up to never give up. 

There's giving up and there's cutting your losses.  I took a job with Apple on July 1st of last year.  I quit on August 12th.  There way no way staying at that job was going to be good for me or for Apple.  Cut my losses, moved on.

post #35 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post
 

There's giving up and there's cutting your losses.  I took a job with Apple on July 1st of last year.  I quit on August 12th.  There way no way staying at that job was going to be good for me or for Apple.  Cut my losses, moved on.

 

I meant if you're passionate about something don't give up on it just because its hard, or you can't think you'll be able to do it. Hard work pays off in the end.

 

If the job at Apple was a dead-end job then you shouldn't have taken it in the first place. Sounds like you just took it because you wanted to be able to say you work for Apple. 

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post #36 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by wizard69 View Post

One look at those five pics indicates to me a need for more design expertise. The car, radio and by cycle all look like crap.

They were all advanced design for their times.  The fact that none were ever produced clearly demonstrates that the design, while it may be dazzling or attractive, needs to be subservient to the function.  The same could be said for Mr. Ive's design work.  Eye-catching but not user friendly.  True, Apple phones, pads, and laptops look nice.  But, if given a choice, I can accept a clunky exterior design in favor of stuff that works internally.  I do not purchase my devices for their appearance.  The way they make my life easier and/or more productive is far more important.

 

That said...is is pleasant to have a good looking exterior.

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post #37 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by macxpress View Post
Sounds like you just took it because you wanted to be able to say you work for Apple. 

Fabulous assumption on your part, but wrong.  I had never really considered working for Apple as I am not an engineer or software designer.  My previous employer went out of business so I started looking in earnest for something that was a fit.  I found a job in customer service at Apple.  Turns out I'm not well suited for call center work.  

post #38 of 42
Originally Posted by WelshDog View Post
I found a job in customer service at Apple.  Turns out I’m not well suited for call center work.  

 

Yeah, you gotta hit mute before laughing at the people who can’t find their Menu Bar.

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post #39 of 42
never give up... you never know, you could be in an olympics cross-Country ski race, in sixth place, dead last, and because of a crash you end up earning the bronze medal... (deserving it no, but third place is bronze medal!)
post #40 of 42
Quote:
Originally Posted by Sky King View Post

They were all advanced design for their times.  The fact that none were ever produced clearly demonstrates that the design, while it may be dazzling or attractive, needs to be subservient to the function.  The same could be said for Mr. Ive's design work.  Eye-catching but not user friendly.  True, Apple phones, pads, and laptops look nice.  But, if given a choice, I can accept a clunky exterior design in favor of stuff that works internally.  I do not purchase my devices for their appearance.  The way they make my life easier and/or more productive is far more important.

That said...is is pleasant to have a good looking exterior.

We've covered this before, I think. There's no hint in your comment that you are aware of Jony Ive's primary asset. That is, he designs for touch, the tactile sense, as much or more than he does for the eye.

I have come to agree with you about iOS 7, by the way, which is entirely visual and stripped of tactility, and I think it's why it doesn't work as well as iOS 6 did for you or for me. I can't believe Ive had anything to do with the design of that software, but who's to know?

Back to Ive's strong point, his father is a silversmith, and I think he draws his sense of texture and surface from that trade. Silver is our most tactile metal—soft, warm, takes a rounded form like nothing else. Jony seems to have carried his father's finger sense into the range of materials that Apple uses, from aluminum to glass to stainless to plastic, and exploited their strengths with a self-consciousness that we rarely have seen in design, and have never seen in consumer product design.

So I think we sell him short when we speak of his work as good looking. That misses all the poetry of what he's doing in metal and mechanism. Or eroticism, to be frank about it. Also by the way, I think it would be a good idea to read Leander's book before I go into this sort of stuff again.
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