Design Knight: Eleven Things about Sir Jony Ive you probably didn’t know

He also designed a toilet...which got rejected

by: - Last updated on: June 28th, 2019

When you hear Apple, its iconic line of products— the iPhones, the iPads, the MacBooks and the iPods come to mind. And the mind behind how these iconic products look and feel, the mind that has been with the brand for more than two decades now is bidding farewell to Apple. For those of you have been living in technology repellent world, we are talking about Jony Ive, Senior Vice President of industrial design who has visualized a number of Apple products over the years. He has not only been an integral part of Apple when it comes to the design of its products but calling him a design revolutionary for the tech world will not be an exaggeration. Which is why some are even calling Ive’s move of leaving Apple an end of an era (to read more about that, click here). Well, that remains to be seen, but here are eleven things you probably did not know about the person who changed the design game for the tech industry:

jony ive 1

1. Like father, like son

Jony Ive is hailed as a design genius and a lot of credit for it can be given to his genes. Born and brought up in London, England, son to Mike Ive, Jony Ive was surrounded by designs all his life. That was because Jony Ive’s father, Mike Ive, was a silversmith by profession and also helped craft a mandatory design curriculum for schools in the UK.

2. He was asked to design toilets and got rejected

Before joining Apple and becoming the design guru that he is, Jony Ive’s life was nowhere nearly as glamorous. Before he started working for the Cupertino tech giant, Ive was working with a design consultancy called Tangerine in London, where he had to design a bath, a toilet, and a sink, all for a British bathroom firm called Ideal Standard. The client apparently rejected his designed because they were “too expensive to create.”
Apple products are expensive. Join the dots.

3. Love that white on Apple? Thank Ive for it!

Apple has a very clear thing for the color white. Some might even say that it is THE color of the brand. But things were not always very… white at Apple. In fact, Steve Jobs was initially against using white and only preferred a shade called Moon Gray, as per former designer at Apple, Doug Satzger. But most of the products Jony Ive designed at school were white and after joining Apple, he started sliding in his love for white in Apple as well.

4. He almost died in a car crash

Ive has been quite passionate about cars all his life. Cars actually were the reason why he wanted to get into designing products in the first place. But this passion almost got him killed once.
A while after joining Apple, Jony Ive bought himself an Aston Martin DB9, a month after which he met with an accident which nearly killed him. With him in the car was another member of his design team, who almost died as well. Thankfully, they made it out alive and brought us the many Apple products that we have seen over the years.

5. A rocking friend list!

Ive may be working in the field of technology but he is no geek. His friends list includes the likes of Coldplay’s lead singer Chris Martin and U2’s lead singer Bono. Not really surprising when you consider that Ive had been a drummer in a rock band called White Raven when he was at school.

6. Helped design the lightsaber

One of Jony Ive famous friends is JJ Abrams, the mind behind a number of popular movies and series. Abrams says he made a number of “very specific” changes to the design of the lightsaber after Jony Ive’s suggestions. No wonder the Force is very strong in him!

7. Has an action figure of himself

Among all the things that Mr. Ive owns is a 7-inch action figure of no superhero, but himself that stands on his desk. He was gifted the figurine by his design colleagues at Apple a couple of years ago, which apparently was also his screensaver on the iPhone for quite some time. Figures!

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8. Designed a tablet for Apple even before joining the brand

Jony Ive is the mind behind the design of many Apple products, including the iPad tablet, but he actually had designed his first tablet for the brand long before the iPad. In fact, even before he had joined the company. Confused? Well, before he started working for Apple, Ive was working for a design firm called Tangerine in London, which had Apple as one of its clients. In 1991, he created the concept of Macintosh Folio which was a tablet with adjustable angled screen, coupled with a stylus, making it a drawing board of sorts.
Them dots? Join them again.

9. Designed a Leica camera for charity which was auctioned at a whopping $1.8m

Ive’s work has not been about just making money – he famously said that “our goal isn’t to make money.” He has designed products for charitable causes as well. This includes a Leica camera which set a world record auction price for a camera at a whopping $1.8 million. His other charity designs also include a Jaeger-Lecoultre watch, which helped raise about $13 million for Bono’s Product Red Charity, that works for people with HIV/AIDS.

10. A glass-walled office…no entry for the family!

Ive being Ive had the only private office in the design studio at Apple. The office is described as a “glass cube” as it has nothing but a desk, a chair, and a lamp. The studio is pretty much off-limits for most people and even Ive’s own family is not allowed inside.

11. Details are the “corner”stone…literally

That does not come as a surprise, does it? Well, Ive is completely obsessed with details, especially corners. As per Laurene Powell Jobs (Steve Jobs’ wife), Ive and Jobs would discuss corners for “hours and hours”. He even redesigned the buttons in the lifts at the Apple campus. He had a big fight with Mitsubishi lifts, which was the company supplying elevators, oversimplifying the control panels of lifts. Ive also co-designed Apple’s new campus called Spaceship in collaboration with Foster + Partners.

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