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Steve Jobs: Designer

October 6, 2011

A lot of people have a lot of things–kind, inspirational, wonderful things–to stay about the life of Steve Jobs. There’s not anything that I could say to add to his memory; his life was tremendous, and rarely do a human’s philosophies, accomplishments, theories, or goals get recognized so fully and praised so genuinely in one’s own lifetime. He was indeed a world-changing man. That being said, I, like many people, have been personally motivated and inspired by what Jobs meant to my field, and so I want to offer this reflection, mostly so I never forget the incredible lightbulb “THIS is how design should be” moment I had when I got my first MacBook.

One of my favorite thing about Apple is its innovation in design as function and not just as decoration. Jobs broke through a world of silver and blue machines made of cheap plastics and brought us some of the most beautiful and functional technology the world has ever known. Even Apple’s earliest machines were elegant. But beyond their classic appearance lies an ease of use and an optimized functionality that is what truly makes Apple products great. It’s the reason why the iPhone works for world-class businessmen as well as it works for my mom. At the heart of good design is a product that works with as little friction as possible. Apple products are intuitive, clean, and functional.

As a designer, I will always treasure the way it feels to buy something and love the packaging as much as the product. Jobs and his team did so much to pioneer brand experience, and the design world will be forever changed by the standard he set. Today, the technology community rightfully mourns the loss of one of the most brilliant men to ever influence their field; I suggest that the design community owes him just as much. Many people have ideas and many people even share the design philosophy that Apple holds, but Jobs helped put that philosophy into the hands of so many people around the world. His influence is undeniable.

One of my favorite quotes by Steve Jobs summarizes so well what all good designers should strive for. He said, “Design is not just what it looks like. Design is how it works.” Perhaps no man so well combined form with function in our modern world.

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