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Design Museum Names Apple's Jonathan Ive "Designer Of The Year"

Design Museum Names Apple's Jonathan Ive "Designer Of The Year"

by , 10:00 AM EDT, June 3rd, 2003

Jonathan Ive has won yet another award for design work, and this time he has been named the "Designer of the Year." Like several of the awards he has been given in the past, this one is from his native UK and the Design Museum. Mr. Ive is Apple's vice president of industrial design, and is credited with the design of the original iMac, the current iMac, the iPod, and other Apple products.

According to the Design Museum, Mr. Ive was chosen by a combined panel of online voting and a jury of four. Mr. Ive won both the online poll and the jury vote. In addition to the title, Mr. Ive was given a price of £25,000. From the Design Museum's Web site:

The £25,000 prize in the Design Museum's Designer of the Year award is given to the designer - or design team - living and working in the UK, or to any designer who was born in the UK but is now based in another country, that made the biggest contribution to design in the past year.

How was the shortlist chosen?
The shortlist of four -- Solange Azagury-Partridge, Tord Boontje, Jonathan Ive and Rockstar Games -- was chosen by a jury consisting of: Paola Antonelli of the Museum of Modern Art, New York; design historian Emily King; industrial designer Marc Newson; and fashion designer Sir Paul Smith. The jury was chaired by Alice Rawsthorn, director of the Design Museum.

Designers working in every area of design - from cars and web sites, to graphics and furniture, but not fashion or architecture - were eligible for nomination. The shortlisted designers were chosen on the basis of their work in 2002. You can judge the work of the nominees for yourself in an exhibition at the Design Museum from 1 March to 29 June 2003.

Choosing the winner?
The winner of the £25,000 prize was chosen by the four jurors and the public, who voted for their favourite nominee on this Web site and after visiting the Designer of the Year exhibition at the Design Museum. The name of the winning designer was announced by Ken Adam, the Oscar-winning film set designer, at the Design Museum on 2 June 2003.

From the Design Museum's description of Jonathan Ive:

Regarded as one of the world's most influential product designers, Jonathan Ive is vice-president of industrial design at Apple in California. By combining what he describes as "fanatical care beyond the obvious stuff" with relentless experiments into tools, materials and production processes, he and the Apple design team have designed and developed such ground-breaking products as the iMAC, iBook, the PowerBook G4, the Cube and the iPod MP3 player.

Born in London in 1967, Ive studied art and design at Newcastle Polytechnic before co-founding Tangerine, a design consultancy where he developed everything from power tools to televisions. In 1992, one of his clients - Apple - offered him a job at its headquarters in Cupertino, California. Ive has described his first years at Apple as "frustrating" because the company appeared to have lost its earlier commitment to design and innovation.

Apple's culture changed when Steve Jobs, one of the original co-founders, rejoined and restored its original values. The first project on which Ive collaborated with Jobs was the iMac. Not only did it help Apple financially by selling more than 2m units in its first year, the iMac transformed product design by introducing colour and light to the drab world of computing where, until its arrival, new products were routinely encased in opaque grey or beige plastic.

The Apple design team has since applied the same lateral thinking and passionate attention to detail to the development of equally innovative new products such as the Cube, the iPod and the PowerBook G4, which was launched in January as the world's lightest and slimmest 17 inch notebook computer. Jonathan Ive was nominated for the Designer of the Year prize for his exceptional record of ingenuity and innovation.

There is also an article in the Independent (UK) that includes a lot of information about Apple, the industry, Johnathan Ive, the award, and other related information. It's a recommended read.

You can find more information on the Design Museum's award at the organization's Web site. The full presentation is a Flash affair (we had trouble running the HTML version of the award presentation in Safari, but the Flash version worked properly).

The Mac Observer Spin:

Recognizing Mr. Ive's talent, and then giving him the power and resources to use that talent, was one of the better things Steve Jobs did when he came back to Apple.

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