updated 06:52 pm EDT, Thu May 24, 2012
Apple designer honored by Queen Elizabeth II
Apple Senior VP of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive is now officially Sir Jonathan Ive, having been knighted by Princess Anne on behalf of Queen Elizabeth II yesterday. The honor, first bestowed on Ive through an announcement at the end of last year, makes the 45-year-old designer a Knight Commander of the British Empire, a step up from the Commander honor he was given in 2005 for services to design and to enterprise.
Ive has worked for Apple since 1992 and has been responsible for many acclaimed hardware designs, most recently the iPad, iPhone and iPod but also numerous Mac models (including the iMac) and many peripherals and other items. While Ive and his team are generally responsible for the outside look of products, Ive often echoes Steve Jobs' sentiment that "design" really covers all parts of a product, up to and including the packaging. Ive was made head of design by Jobs in 1997, helping to foster the crucial turnaround of the company through the innovative look of the original iMac, iPod and other products.
As part of the ceremony, Ive has given several interviews (one of which is embedded below) in which he repeated the mantra of Jobs and current CEO Tim Cook that being able to focus on design without worrying about making money allows the company to create really great product, which take care of the money and popularity by themselves. He told the BBC's James Naughtie that his work was "part fine art, part engineering" and called it "very challenging" but he was grateful to be able to do what has always fascinated him -- which he called "drawing as a means to an end, drawing to make something."
He also told a previous interviewer that the work he was doing now -- on unnamed future products -- could be the work he is most likely to be remembered for, expressing a great optimism for Apple's future of being able to continue to bring disruptive and innovative products to market successfully. When asked what he would like to do in the future, be it at Apple or anywhere else -- any unfulfilled goal he desired -- Ive said simply that his wish was to be able to continue working at Apple with the design team he currently has.
The brief video interview given to ITV and the knighting ceremony itself can be seen below. Ive has often credited influences such as Jobs and design legend Dieter Rams, saying he "stood on the shoulders of giants" and benefitted from the long tradition of industrial design in his home country of England.