Inside the world of Apple's design guru Jony Ive

Apple's Jony Ive on design
Apple's Jony Ive on design

Jony Ive is the British designer behind one and half billion items sold by the world's most valuable company. He joined Apple in 1992 and five years later, at the ripe age of 30, was heading up the company's industrial design. Today, all of the company's designs are done in house.

A recent New Yorker profile offers a particularly revealing look into the self-described "shy" Ive. Here are our favorite tidbits:

* His office art aesthetic is varied. A framed Banksy print (a Queen with the face of a chimpanzee) leans against the wall, as does a framed poster that reads "Believe in your f***ing self. Stay up all f***ing night," and "Think about all the f***king possibilities," among other words of inspiration.

* He's got a Playmobil figure in his likeness. Sunglasses, wide-leg pants, cropped hair: It's a look he embodies frequently. (The Christmas gift from his colleagues lives on his office shelf and a photo of it is his iPhone lockscreen.)

* Apple (AAPL) may or may not be designing a self-driving car, but Ive has very specific auto preferences. He's a fan of old-school Bentleys for their design aesthetic and calls the Toyota Echo design "baffling" and "insipid." His first vehicle after moving to San Francisco was a yellow Saab convertible.

* Ive loves Apple's famously rounded corners. Reporter Ian Parker says Ive came alive when talking about the design.

* He likes to sketch with brown ink. Parker drew a comparison to the infamous sketches by Leonardo da Vinci.

* What does he really think about Walter Isaacson's 2011 bio of Steve Jobs? "My regard couldn't be any lower."

* His colleagues don't get to experience much of his "English irony." ("I think you reserve that for entertainment," he said.)

* He was never intimidated by Google Glass. "We always thought it would flop, and, you know, so far it has." Ives, a watch collector, is the leading force behind the Apple Watch.

* Ive believes that letting consumers make their own choices -- like picking a color -- is "abdicating your responsibility as a designer."

* He might be reading Fifty Shades of Grey, but we'll never know. He only shared his reading list with Parker off the record.

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