If you’re scrolling through this article on your iPhone screen or MacBook—you owe a lot to former Apple chief design officer Jony Ive. The award-winning industrial designer has had a hand in just about every Apple product to date, having spent more than 20 years working in direct collaboration with the late Steve Jobs.
Ive started his industrial design career at the London-based start-up design firm Tangerine, where he worked for a short few years before being recruited by Apple in September 1992. The English-born designer was apprehensive to leave his role in London for the Apple headquarters in California but ultimately made the move—and continued to make moves—within the company, playing a vital role in the design of everything from the iMac to the Apple Watch.
Although Jony Ive spent the last 25 years in one of the most coveted industrial design roles in the world, his subsequent act is just as impressive. Here’s what the former chief design officer of Apple is doing now and exactly why he made the decision to step away from such a coveted position.
WHY DID JONY IVE LEAVE APPLE?
There is a lot of hearsay and chatter when it comes to the real reason why Jony Ive decided to step away from his role at Apple—but the consensus comes down to the fact that the company culture and growth mindset had shifted away from what it was when Ive was working closely with the late Steve Jobs. Ive and Jobs were famously close, working in collaboration in the design studio on every new project and product.
The death of Jobs changed everything for Ive, who, according to multiple reports, didn’t like the ways in which current Apple CEO Tim Cook conducted business with the design team. Cook reportedly did not collaborate with design with in the same manner as Jobs, nor did he adhere to Jobs’ philosophies on the balance between creative and profit.
What’s more, Jony Ive’s new role within the shifting and ever-growing company reportedly left him exhausted and approaching burnout—and without proper support in place, the creative-minded design team Ive made it clear that he intended to step down if things didn’t change. In June 2019, Ive announced his departure, stating that, “art needs the proper space and support to grow. When you’re really big, that’s especially important.”
WHAT IS JONY IVE DOING NOW?
After departing from his role as chief design officer at Apple in 2019, Jony Ive started an independent design firm in collaboration with Apple industrial designer Marc Newson. The LoveFrom firm worked with Apple as its primary client from its inception until July 2022 when the company announced it would end its consulting agreement with Ive. This marked the end of Ive’s relationship with Apple.
The shift away from Apple has given Ive and Newson more time to focus on other big-name clients, including Airbnb and Terra Carta, on undisclosed projects. Most recently he was recruited by the Agnelli family to work with Ferrari and Ferrari’s holding company Exor. Details on exactly what Ive will be doing with the brand are slim—but certain car and design industry folk believe the collaboration could be to do with Ferrari’s first electric vehicle which is slated for release in 2025.
Ive was also appointed Chancellor of the Royal College of Art (RCA) in London where he is currently wrapping up a fixed five-year term as Head of the College. The industrial designer is also involved in various charitable causes including Bono’s charity, Project Red.