Good Jobs Steve...

13 October 2011
As Apple marks the first sales of the iPhone 4S on 14 October 2011, a day that has become a tribute to founder Steve Jobs, Icograda President Russell Kennedy reflects on Jobs' legacy - the impact of his vision and innovation on the communication design profession.
Steve Jobs had a phenomenal impact on the communication design profession. His introduction to graphic design and typography through calligraphy is a fascinating story, a non-conventional pathway by a corporate leader indeed, but one that may hopefully inspire others.

Communication design seemed to be the essence of the man’s psyche. Apple products are more than beautiful objects - they communicate and interact with users in a way not seen previously. Beyond revolutionising the finished art and typesetting processes for graphic designers in the 1980s, Jobs continued to innovate, building on the potential of the graphical-user-interface (GUI) as a user-friendly interface for other products and new communication platforms.

His machines were the first to enable designers to converge, expand, share and communicate. Apple made expanded media possible. This convergence of disciplines shifted graphic design into the broader scope of communication design that we understand today.

Jobs was also responsible for one of the great corporate identities of our time. The Apple case study demonstrates how the success of a brand far exceeds the graphical representation of its logo. Jobs ensured that the Apple philosophy was embedded in every aspect of the company. If a corporate identity provides a window to the soul of an organisation, then Apple did and continues to do so like no other.

Jobs and Apple have been an inspiring example of a design-based business model. A design thinking approach to business and a respectful, accessible and syncopated approach to usability through design are his greatest legacy (Think Different).

If history judges Steve Jobs on his output then one could argue that Jobs' impact on graphic/communication design was the greatest since Gutenberg... perhaps greater.

Russell Kennedy
Icograda President 2009-2011