In 1982, Steve Jobs, founder of Apple Computer, Inc., was seeking "the best design in the world" for his company, which had skyrocketed from nothing to a $581 million market value in only six years. When Hartmut Esslinger, the idealistic founder of frogdesign, expressed his view that "computer accessibility is a problem of democracy," Jobs recognized a kindred spirit. He called on Esslinger to design an expressive visual code that could produce a wide range of coherent design variations. The result was a design program that led, for instance, to the horizontal lines that mask the vents in this Macintosh home computer. Esslinger maintained that "in computers, design isn’t decoration, it’s the essence."
Jobs left the company in the late 1980s but returned in 1997 and resumed his search for great design. He found it with Jonathan Ive, an Apple designer since 1992, whom he promoted to senior vice president of industrial design. With his collaborators Ive has designed beautiful objects, including the Cube, the iMac, and the iBook, endowed with communicative skills and mesmerizing details. "Our goal is to take a great technology and make it very accessible, make it appropriately meaningful to a lot of people," Ive has declared. "We try to remove the barriers . . . that have traditionally forced people to try and fit the machine, rather than the machine fitting them."
Publication excerpt from The Museum of Modern Art, MoMA Highlights since 1980, New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 2007, p. 70.