updated 08:25 pm EST, Fri December 30, 2011
Jonathan Ive becomes Knight Commander in UK
Queen Elizabeth II finished 2011 by knighting Apple's Senior VP of Industrial Design Jonathan Ive. Sir Jonathan is now a Knight Commander of the British Empire for fostering the UK worldwide and his direct contributions to design. He had already been named a Commander of the British Empire in 2005.
Sir Jonathan, in reacting to the knighthood, told the BBC he was "humbled and sincerely grateful" for the honor. He claimed to have stood on the shoulders of giants, having benefited from a "wonderful tradition" of design in his home country.
Ive knew from age 14 that he wanted to design for a living and attended Northumbria Polytechnic to learn industrial design work. He started as a commercial designer almost immediately and garnered reputation with Tangerine, a design agency he co-founded with friends.
Apple came into play after it hired him on in 1992, having been impressed with notebook design work Tangerine had done in consultancy. Coming on at what many consider Apple's low point, however, his design talents were widely thought to have gone underused until Steve Jobs returned to Apple. Jobs quickly recognized Ive's abilities and put him in charge of design at Apple in 1997, a decision that ultimately proved crucial to the turnaround of a company that nearly went bankrupt.
Many started taking notice with the original iMac's translucent gumdrop shape in 1998. He quickly reinvented the company's entire look, dropping beige boxes for much more distinctive looks. All of Apple's core products, including the iPod, iPhone, and iPad, embody at least his basic concepts.
A large part of Sir Jonathan's influence comes from former Braun designer Dieter Rams, who emphasized a minimalist but quality appearance. Jobs is known to have sparked some ideas, although he occasionally took credit for Ive's own work.