Friday, October 28, 2011

And more ...

... Steve Jobs and the End of Innovation | Bryan Appleyard. (Hat tip, Dave Lull.)

There he saw a man neurotically repelled by the sloppy or the incomplete. He insisted that even the innards of Apple’s machines, which customers normally would never see, should be as well designed as the exterior. “For you to sleep well at night,” he said, “the aesthetic, the quality, has to be carried all the way through.” In pursuit of perfection, he could hold up the release of products for years – as he did with the iPad – or demand expensive last-minute changes. A few weeks before its launch, the first iPhone had to have its plastic screen replaced with glass because Jobs thought the plastic scratched too easily. “At its core,” wrote David Pogue, tech watcher for the New York Times, “Apple existed to execute the vi- sions in his brain. He oversaw every button, every corner, every chime. He lost sleep over the fonts in his menus, the cardboard of the packaging, the colour of the power cord.”

What Jobs brought to business was something business could surely use more of - an aesthetic sensibility. What he grasped is that a product is actually better if the aesthetic is an integral part of it.


  1. I read in an interview with someone who really knew him well that he thought of himself first as a designer, as an artist. I can really relate to that. And I think you're right: the AESTHETIC aspect of material goods is really a lot more important than most people give it credit, especially in business. Even the little beautiful things can make your day brighter.

    The other designer I think of along these lines is Michael Graves, who designed a whole line of kitchen products that were really fun and aesthetic to use.

  2. On this subject, see Virginia Postrel's book The Substance of Style.