Archive for October, 2011

Every time I get in front of a class of design students – which is often – at some point, I draw a grid. At the upper right, I draw an apple, more specifically, I draw the apple logo. At the lower left, I draw something confusing, ugly, annoying. The upper right quadrant represents joy, exstacy, orgasm, pleasure, pure giddy fun. The lower left (and obviously, all the quadrants in-between) are lesser. Much less. Over the course of a semester, I tirelessly explain why. The references to Apple are too numerous to count.

I tell them that Steve Jobs has single-handedly, by having a passion for beauty, love of form, design, and – dare I say – meaning, pulled this entire matrix – of visual communication, user interfaces, technological products, marketing schemes, even corporate attitudes toward their customers – to the right. Worldwide. We strive to touch the pole he vaulted over with ease and grace. We strive to do something, anything, that exudes the beauty and serenity of his legacy with the products under our fingers that he has given us. Every day.

When I turned 40, I threw a big party with one gift wish: the brand-new, first-version iPod on the market. All my friends pooled money (they were expensive!) and after a wonderful evening, I unpacked my new toy. I will never forget the mix of joy and frustration. Joy because it was so breathtakingly beautiful, frustration because for those thankfully few, painful moments I couldn’t figure out how to make it louder or quieter. I was forced to use, no, to re-define the use of my sense of touch. Steve continued these lessons in (use of) sensuality with the iPhone and the results are fact. And legend. If technology can bring us to heighten the use and the experience of our senses (as opposed to the never-ending frustration with the use and understanding of so many products, inane installations of stuff to protect us from evil and danger … not to mention having to deal with outright ugliness), well, what a world THAT would be? And could become?

That’s exactly what he did. We hunger for more, more, more and though there’s a flaw in the sustainability of that, the hunger is, in my eyes, for a world that has more trust in our intuition, intelligence, ingenuity, curiousity and, of course, sensuality. I hope he has inspired someone to follow in his footsteps, carry the torch, continue the legacy (even if they are not doing it at his company). I’m doing all I can to continue to ignite in others the inspiration he will always be for me.


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