Join Gary Hustwit for an in-depth discussion in this video Jonathan Ive, part of Objectified.
- View Offline
- I remember the first time I saw an Apple product. I remember it so clearly because it was the first time I realized, when I saw this product, I got a very clear sense of the people that designed it and made it. A big definition of who you are as a designer it's, it's the way you look at the world. And, I guess it's one of the sort of curses of what you do is that you're constantly looking at someting and thinking why, why is it like that? Why is it like that and not like this? And so in that sense you're constantly designing.
When we're designing a product we have to look to different attributes of the product. And some of those attributes will be materials that its made from. And the form that's connected to those materials. So of example with the first iMac that we made, the primary component of that was the (mumbles) which was very cool. We would have an entirely different approach to designing something like that than the current iMac, which is a very thin flat panel display. Other issues would be you know, just physically how you connect to the products.
So for example, something like the iPhone. Everything differs to the display. A lot of what we seem to be doing in a product like that is actually getting design out of the way. And I think when forms develop with that sort of reason and they're not just arbitrary shapes, it feels almost inevitable. It feels almost undesigned. It feels almost like well, of course it's that way. Why wouldn't it be any other way.
This is the vessel for the iMac. When we removed this, the aluminum for the display and the center here, we actually take that material and then we can make two keyboard frames from it. These are literally just a couple of the stages of how you make the MacBook Air. Rough cutting, this is for the (mumbles). And there is a remarkable efficiency and beauty to just how much a single part can do.
And I think that's one of the things that we push and push ourselves on is trying to figure out well can we do the job of those six parts with just one? This part is actually stars off as this extrusion. So this is an aluminum extrusion that goes through multiple operations. Most of them, CNC machine operations to end up, to end up with this part.
And so you can see, I mean, just a dramatic sort of transformation between this raw blank and the final part. But what we end up with is a part that's got all of the mounting features. So all the buses, they're all, this is just one part. But this one part is providing so much functionality. And this one part really does, does enable this product. So you're, you know, so much of the effort behind a product like the MacBook Air was experimenting with different processes.
There's a, completely non obvious but, the way that you hold, you know, to get from this part to this part, they're incredibly complex series of fixtures to hold this part in the different machine stages. And we end up spending a lot of time designing fixtures. The design of this in many ways wasn't the design of a physical thing. It was figuring out process.
It's really important in a product to have a sense of the hierarchy of what's important and what's not important by removing those things that are all buying for your attention. An indicator has a value when it's indicating something. But if it's not indicating something, it shouldn't be there. It's one of those funny things, you spend so much more time to make it less conspicuous and less obvious. And if you think about it, so many of the products that we're surrounded by, they want you to be very aware of just how clever the solution was.
When the indicator comes on, I wouldn't expect anybody to point to that as a feature. But at some level, I think you're aware of a calm and considered solution that therefore speaks about how you're going to use it, not the terrible struggles that we as designers and engineers had in trying to solve some of the problems. That's quite obsessive isn't it (laughs)
Objectified is a documentary about industrial design; it's about the manufactured objects we surround ourselves with, and the people who make them. Gary Hustwit, the director of Helvetica, talks with Dieter Rams, Marc Newson, Jonathan Ive, and other renowned designers behind some of the world's most iconic products. lynda.com is proud to offer this film to our members, along with over one hour of online-exclusive bonus movies.