I originally simplified design to a set of technical skills that enabled one to sketch, draw, create etc. Much as I envisioned college teaching you hard skills to prepare you for a job, being a fashion designer meant creating patterns that resulted directly from the movement of their hands. Ralph Lauren, Tommy Hilfiger, Tom Ford, these guys must have designed at least in a technical sense? In reality these “fashion designers” were really lifestyle designers, creating a tangible vision that they could effectively communicate to others who could materialize their vision into products. Immersing myself in the more creative world, I soon began to appreciate the breadth and complexities inherent in a seemingly rather straight forward word, design.
Industrial design, graphic design, and service design, each of these specific fields focus on different areas. Greater than the sum of its parts, design is the basis for every element in life. From law, to architecture, to societal norms, these systems are all designed to effectuate a certain end. Effectuating purpose through action. For trained professionals such as Supreme Court Justices, designers, surgeons, and CEOs, all of their work can be boiled down to design. Everyone is a designer, only differentiated by an awareness of the power that one has to improve the world that surrounds us.
Here are Ace & Everett's 4 favorite designers.
1. Stefan Sagmeister - Austrian, built his business around designing covers for CD’s. A unorthodox designer, he is know for his provocative designs that challenge conventional norms and ideas. Sagmeister goes on a year-long sabbatical every seven years, where he does not take work from clients. Notable work - Lou Reed CD cover, and having his assistant slightly incise his body to create an ad for his AIGA Detroit lecture.
2. Phillip Stark - French, “celebrity designer" for everything from hotels to household products. His work covers interior, product, industrial and architectural design work. Phillip is known for his preference for fluid, organic forms with the inclusion of subtle yet playful details. His most famous design, the Louis Ghost chair, is the most widely sold design chair in the world.
3. Jonny Ive - British, Steve Jobs’ most trusted confidant, Ive was one of two people who Steve Jobs requested to see while recovering from surgery for a pancreatic tumor in 2004 (Laurene, Jobs’ wife, was the other). He has been Apple’s Senior Vice President of Design since 1996 and remained instrumental in their recent dominance of the tech space. Ive has the only private office in the Apple design studio, which has been described as a glass cube, furnished with only a desk, chair and lamp.
4. Marc Newson - Australian, an industrial designer who recently joined Ives and the Apple design team on a part time basis. His designs follow biomorphism, using smooth flowing lines, and tend to have an absence of sharp edges.
4.5 Ive + Newson - International, In 2013, Ive and Newson collaborated in an auction at Sotheby's for Bono's product Red. It took Ives and Newson two years to curate over 40 objects for the auction and show to benefit The Global Fund to Fight AIDS & Tuberculosis. This lead to Newson joining Ives and the Apple design team on a part time basis in September 2014.
Designers are the most selfish and selfless, they must believe their vision is best, while never truly receiving credit for the beauty they create. While their jobs seem alive with creativity and passion, always remember the golden rule, “DESIGNERS DON’T SMILE!”