Apple’s chief design officer Jony Ive is something of a legend in Silicon Valley. He’s the man whose golden touch is credited with the iconic designs of some of Apple’s most successful products, like the iPhone, iPod, and iMac.
But while Ive is very good at designing cutting-edge technology, it seems that he cannot do the same for a magazine cover. I mean this in the literal sense: when presented the opportunity to design a “limited edition” cover for Wallpaper magazine, Ive seems to have drawn a blank.
The magazine cover is meant to coincide with an extensive interview Wallpaper — which covers architecture, design, and art — conducted with Ive on the subject of the new Apple Park building and the iPhone X. But you wouldn’t be able to tell that from the cover. With the exception of a converting Wallpaper’s ordinarily black logo to a retro Apple-inspired rainbow, there’s no way of actually knowing that this interview is inside.
There are a few bits of information in the interview, including Ive’s commitment that Apple will continue to update the X over time. As Ive puts it: “In 12 months’ time, this object will be able to do things that it can’t now.” (So, it’ll get a software update with some new features.)
The cover is so baffling that I’m still trying to wrap my head around it. Steve Jobs famously said, “Design is not just what it looks like and feels like. Design is how it works.” In the case of Ive’s magazine cover — an object that is supposed to perform the very basic task of informing you what it contains to read — the only conclusion I can draw based on Ive’s design is that his ideal magazine is one with no content at all.
Or maybe I just don’t get it. As Ive himself once said in a prior interview: “Simplicity is not the absence of clutter, that’s a consequence of simplicity… The absence of clutter is just a clutter-free product. That’s not simple.”