How Steve Jobs Transformed Design

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This week, Apple employees will hold a special event to celebrate of the life of the company's founder and former CEO Steve Jobs, who died October 5. Besides the ubiquitous presence of Apple's game-changing products like the iPod, iPad and iPhone, Jobs leaves behind an even greater legacy: From the form and function of the products he enabled, to introducing a tool that changes the way designers work, no one person has more greatly transformed the field of design. Chee Pearlman, an editorial and design consultant was one of the few journalists to interview Steve Jobs, and his chief designer, Jonathan Ive. She says that Jobs viewed design "holistically," not just as "styling."

 

Chee interviewing Ive

Chee Pearlman interviewing Apple's chief designer, Jonathan Ive
at the Art Center conference in 2006.

The sleek, distinctive look of Apple's products certainly changed the world of industrial design. But Jobs also changed the way that designers interact with technology with the Macintosh, a personal computer introduced in 1984 that is now used by most of the world's graphic designers. One of the reasons that designers embraced the Mac was because it was the first computer to contain multiple typefaces and proportionally spaced fonts, which eventually became standard on many computers. But how did Jobs become so interested in type? After dropping out of Reed College, he stuck around campus to audit classes and happened to attend a "calligraphy" class. Frances heads to the home of DeAnn Singh, a teacher and calligrapher, to learn about the craft of calligraphy and how it may have influenced Jobs.

 

Steve Jobs speaks about his calligraphy class at a 2005 Stanford commencement address


DeAnn painting

DeAnn Singh paints calligraphy letters on an anniversary bench made by Tori Spelling


DeAnn for Tori

A calligraphy piece of a Persian wedding poem by Rumi that DeAnn Singh created


As designers began to use the Mac instead of more traditional techniques, the look of graphic design, advertising and art radically shifted. To learn about the impact that the Mac had on graphic designers, and how it has evolved through the years, Frances sits down with four graphic designers from different generations: April Greiman, Lorraine Wild, Andrew Byrom and Keith Scharwath. The designers speak about how the Mac has enabled them to produce their specific brands of graphic design work, and what kind of legacy that Jobs and Apple have left on the design world. -Alissa Walker

 

 April Greiman
Transmedia designer April Greiman, principal of Made in Space, Inc.


Bowl of rice
Greiman's piece Hand Holding a Bowl of Rice,
a mural on the Metro station at Wilshire and Vermont


Lorraine Wild

Lorraine Wild, graphic designer and principal of Green Dragon Office


Looking at LA
The cover of Looking at Los Angeles, a book designed by Wild and Green Dragon Office


Bynum with Mac
Designer Andrew Byrom and his Mac laptop


Grab Me
Grab Me, a typographic work by Byrom


Keith studio
Keith Scharwath being interviewed in his sign painting studio


BL poster
Scharwath's poster for the film Beautiful Losers,
with custom type by Geoff McFetridge
Credits

Guests:
Chee Pearlman - Journalist and Curator, Chee Company, DeAnn Singh - Calligrapher, April Greiman - Transmedia Designer, Made In Space, Inc., Lorraine Wild - Graphic Designer, Green Dragon Office, Andrew Byrom - Graphic Designer and Type Designer, Keith Scharwath - Graphic Designer and Art Director

Host:
Frances Anderton