World’s Greatest Art Director
Steve Jobs (1955-2011)
It is no exaggeration to say that Steven Jobs may have been the most important person in the history of design, but of course he was not a designer. I’ve come to think of him, instead, as the world’s greatest art director, the ultimate end user, a one-man focus group for cool. His famously secretive design department (quick, name another Apple designer besides Jonathan Ive? You can’t), was dedicated in large part to one exceedingly challenging task: pleasing Steve. He dreamed, they executed, he critiqued, in an endless, iterative loop that never really ended. (iPhone 5 anyone?) What was no secret to the world was that everything he touched, from products, to movies, to ad campaigns, took on a sophistication, beauty, and smartness that went beyond anyone’s expectations. Steve was a master at the “whole package.”
Designers say it all the time: you can’t do a great project without a great client. In a sense Apple was lucky enough to have in Jobs the most brilliant, intuitive, perceptive design client imaginable. He kept hitting the ball back to them, harder. If they pleased him—no easy task, surely—the marketplace and the press was usually a breeze. What he brought to the table—for the designers at Apple and the agencies they worked with, especially—was irreplaceable. The good news: there are likely some Jobs-inspired projects and campaigns still in the pipeline. The bad news: They won’t get perfected by the master.
Metropolis’ art directors, Dungjai Pungauthaikan and Ashley Stevens, take a look at Apple’s most memorable campaigns over the last two decades.
Original Apple Logo (1976)
Rainbow Apple Logo (1976-1998)
Test Drive a Macintosh (1984)
Think Different Campaign (1997-2002)
Monochrome Apple Logo (1998-2003)
Fruit Color iMacs (1999)
Aqua-themed Apple Logo (2001-2003)
ipod Introduction (2001)
Ipod Shuffle Introduction (2005)
Glass-themed Apple Logo (2003-present)
Get a Mac Campaign (2006-2009)