A while ago I was reading this article about Jony Ive’s dislike of the the faux leather and overly detailed aesthetic design of iOS and OSX; the article’s headline read like he was outright criticizing Apple designers penchant for replicating real life in digital form. In reality it came off as a shrug.
Lately I’ve seen articles ridiculing Apple’s and Apple software designers use of skeumorphism; with a few defending it. Many wonder why the software team doesn’t emulate Ive’s minimalist design; with some daring to say that Microsoft has taken Apple’s designer leadership crown.
Sounds dire doesn’t it?
But not really. I mean all these people aren’t going to stop buying Apple products, nor are developers going to abandon iOS/Mac.
But that’s an aside.
I’ve had this idea, and maybe it’s just an unfunny joke, that all any PC maker or phone maker needed to do (to beat Apple) was buy a book of Dieter Ram’s designs and copy. I mean cut out the middle man if you are going to do it right.
But that oversimplifies Ive’s work, and it highlights something I might write about more later; aesthetics versus meaning. Jony Ive, I think, is an industrial design impressionist. He has internalized the basic philosophy of Dieter Rams to the point where what he does doesn’t feel like a copy. And I think that’s forgotten by some OEM’s, even those that say they don’t copy Apple.
Ive builds for Apple software; we buy and want Apple products because of this. The gaudy stuff is just extra icing