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Jony Ive Quotes on Building a Great Product

This post doesn’t list every single quote Jony Ive ever made.

Instead, I have selected and organized quotes by the most important principles he used to design Apple’s world-changing products.

Put together, these are a masterclass in designing brilliant products.

Let’s get to it.

My Favorite Jony Ive Quote

“We have always thought about design as being so much more than just the way something looks. It’s the whole thing: the way something works on so many different levels. Ultimately, of course, design defines so much of our experience.”

Jony Ive Quotes on Product Design

“There is beauty when something works and it works intuitively.”

“Apple’s goal isn’t to make money. Our goal is to design and develop and bring to market good products.”

“When something exceeds your ability to understand how it works, it sort of becomes magical.”

“We have always thought about design as being so much more than just the way something looks. It’s the whole thing: the way something works on so many different levels. Ultimately, of course, design defines so much of our experience.”

“‘Different’ and ‘new’ is relatively easy. Doing something that’s genuinely better is very hard.”

Jony Ive Quotes on Design Principles

“One of the things we’ve really learnt over the last 20 years is that while people would often struggle to articulate why they like something, as consumers we are incredibly discerning, we sense where there has been great care in the design and when there is cynicism and greed.”

“What we make testifies who we are. People can sense care and can sense carelessness. This relates to respect for each other and carelessness is personally offensive.”

“So much of what we try to do is get to a point where the solution seems inevitable: you know, you think "of course it's that way, why would it be any other way?" It looks so obvious, but that sense of inevitability in the solution is really hard to achieve.”

“Really great design is hard. Good is the enemy of great. Competent design is not too much of a stretch. But if you are trying to do something new, you have challenges on so many axes.”

“Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity. Simplicity is somehow essentially describing the purpose and place of an object and product. The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That’s not simple.”

“It’s a very strange thing for a designer to say, but one of the things that really irritates me in products is when I’m aware of designers wagging their tails in my face.”

Jony Ive Quotes on Design Process

“If something is not good enough, stop doing it.”

“There’s no learning without trying lots of ideas and failing lots of times.”

“Designing and developing anything of consequence is incredibly challenging.”

“A small change at the beginning of the design process defines an entirely different product at the end.”

“I think now more than ever it’s important to be clear, to be singular, and to have a perspective, one you didn’t generate as the result of doing a lot of focus groups.”

“We don’t do focus groups — that is the job of the designer. It’s unfair to ask people who don’t have a sense of the opportunities of tomorrow from the context of today to design.”

“I think there is a profound and enduring beauty in simplicity; in clarity, in efficiency. True simplicity is derived from so much more than just the absence of clutter and ornamentation. It's about bringing order to complexity.”

“We shouldn’t be afraid to fail. If we are not failing we are not pushing. Then 80% of the stuff in the studio is not going to work. If something is not good enough, stop doing it.”

“True simplicity is, well, you just keep on going and going until you get to the point where you go, ‘Yeah, well, of course.’ Where there’s no rational alternative.”

Jony Ive Quotes on Creativity

“The best ideas start as conversations.”

“So much of my background is about making, physically doing it myself.”

“I find that when I write I need things to be quiet, but when I design, I can’t bear it if it’s quiet.”

“I think it’s important that we learn how to draw and to make something and to do it directly. To understand the properties you’re working with by manipulating them and transforming them yourself.”

“Designing and developing anything of consequence is incredibly challenging.”

“What I love about the creative process, and this may sound naive, but it is this idea that one day there is no idea, and no solution, but the next day there is an idea. I find that incredibly exciting and conceptually actually remarkable.”