Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design Jonathan Ive can add a new title to his resume: Sir Jonathan Ive. According to BBC, Ive was granted knighthood in the United Kingdom in the New Year Honours List. The report said that Ive’s official title is a Knight Commander of the British Empire. Ive, who was born and raised in the United Kingdom before moving to the United States to pursue design work, said that the honor is “absolutely thrilling.”
Ive credits his home country for some of his incredible design work: “I am keenly aware that I benefit from a wonderful tradition in the U.K. of designing and making.” While Ive has had an extremely successful career in Cupertino, California as Apple’s design chief, recent rumors said the designer of the iPod, iMac, iPhone, and most recently the iPad, was considering a move back to the United Kingdom. Soon after those rumors, a reliable report claimed Ive would not be leaving…
Ive joins a long list of New Years 2012 Honours List members and John Patrick Richardson is the only other international KBE that accompanies him from outside of the United Kingdom. Richardson is known as a famous author and art historian. Notably, on the subject of Apple and knighthood, a report from early 2011 claimed that Apple cofounder Steve Jobs was in the final stages of receiving knighthood, but his honor and “Sir” title was blocked at the last minute by Former Prime Minister Gordon Brown over Jobs refusal to speak at an event.
Jonathan Ive became the leader of Apple’s design team in 1996 and has since then transformed the company’s design philosophy. Newcastle Polytechnic awarded Ive with a Bachelor of Arts and an honorary doctorate. In addition, today’s United Kingdom-related award was not Ive’s first major award from the country. According to Ive’s official Apple biography, in 2003, he was named Designer of the Year by the Design Museum London and The Royal Society of Arts awarded him the title Royal Designer for Industry.
Screenshot from the Honours List for 2012:
Walter Isaacson’s biography of the Apple Cofounder and former CEO Steve Jobs, “Steve Jobs“, highlighted some of the interactions between Ive and Jobs, calling them “spiritual partners.” According to Ive, Jobs would attempt to take credit for some of his ideas from time-to-time. “I pay maniacal attention to where an idea comes from, and I even keep notebooks filled with my ideas,” Ive said. “So it hurts when he takes credit for one of my designs.” In addition, the biography said that Jobs setup Apple’s internal organization so that Ive would have “more operation power” than anyone else.
Many of Ive’s design principles and ideas are inspired by the great work of Dieter Rams. In 2009, Ive’s participated in a video interview for a film called “Objectified.” In his portion of the film, embedded above, Ive discussed some of the work behind the unibody engineering efforts put into products like the MacBook Pro. Ive also discussed the simplicity of a product like the iPhone where the design “defers to the display.” Ive also discussed how different materials affect overall product design motifs.