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Summary:

Apple’s head of design Jonny Ive has been public about the influence uber designer Dieter Rams on his work. Now the man behind many of German company Braun’s iconic design speaks about Ive, Steve Jobs, Apple and the importance of design in today’s world.

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Braun's Rams influenced Apple's Ive. Photo courtesy of Gizmodo

Braun's Rams influenced Apple's Ive. Photo courtesy of Gizmodo

I am eagerly awaiting Dieter Rams: As Little Design as Possible. Rams, who was featured in critically acclaimed documentary Objectified is one of the most influential design gurus in the world. He has created countless products for Braun, the German white goods company. And he is a man who has influenced Apple’s head of design, Jonny Ive. Here is what Rams had to say about Apple in a chat with The Daily Telegraph, just before the WWDC.

Without doubt there are few companies in the world that genuinely understand and practise the power of good design in their products and their businesses. Probably the first example was Peter Behrens and his work for the German company AEG, in the early part of the 20th century. He might be considered to be the founder of corporate identity. Adriano Olivetti was close behind as he transformed his father’s Italian company, Olivetti. Having become aware of this scarcity at the start of my career in the 1950s, I am sorry to report that the situation does not seem to have improved to this day.

I have always observed that good design can normally only emerge if there is a strong relationship between an entrepreneur and the head of design. At Apple this situation exists – between Steve Jobs and Jony Ive.

I am always fascinated when I see the latest Apple products. Apple has managed to achieve what I never achieved: using the power of their products to persuade people to queue to buy them. For me, I had to queue to receive food at the end of World War II. That’s quite a change.

They understand that design is not simply an adjective to place in front of a product’s name to somehow artificially enhance its value. Ever fewer people appear to understand that design is a serious profession; and for our future welfare we need more companies to take that profession seriously. (The Daily Telegraph of the U.K.)

  1. Agreed. “design is a serious profession”. Apple is probably the only tech company with a head of design. This makes them both a tech and an industrial design firm… And actually marketing can be added to the mix!

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  2. design is not simply an adjective to place in front of a product’s name to somehow artificially enhance its value. Ever fewer people appear to understand that design is a serious profession;.

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  3. Truer words have never been spoken! Great article.

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