Last night I watched Steve Job’s 2005 Stanford University commencement speech on YouTube. For me, what stood out most about his speech was a story he recalled about an unexpected fascination and passion for typography he developed during a calligraphy class he enrolled in after dropping out of college. I immediately connected with this story because I completely understood what he was talking about. As a college student studying graphic design, I also studied typography. At its core, typography is one of the most aesthetic and technical art forms imaginable. To most people typography is meaningless due to the fact that typefaces have become so ubiquitous in our society. For Steve Jobs, however, this brief college experience would give birth to something huge that would forever change the world of computing and personal technology.
Steve Jobs was more that a visionary genius, he was also an aesthetics genius. While other companies ignored how products looked or made a consumer feel while using them, Jobs did the opposite. The result was a stunning array of glorious creations. Elegance, simplicity and perfection were the finger prints Steve Jobs left on every Apple product. Apple products changed the way human beings interacted with technology forever. No longer were computers intimidating or frightening to use. They now became our friends. Using Apple products have become as comfortable as slipping on a pair of worn jeans right out of the dryer or a big fluffy pillow to lay ones head on when sleepy. When you see an Apple product, you want to hold it and play with it right away and never put it down. In my opinion, that’s at the heart of what aesthetics is and how it influences human beings. For Steve Jobs, looks were just as important as functionality. The presentation of every curve, every button, every mouse, every light, every color and every sound mattered. Everything. Steve Jobs got it big time and it paid off big time.
So thanks Steve for caring about how products look and feel to us and how they make us feel about technology. Thanks for caring about how we interact with technology before we even knew it ourselves. Thanks for creating elegant and extraordinary products worthy of a buck instead of cranking out mediocre products just to make a buck. Thanks for forever pronouncing functionality and looks husband and wife and never letting them divorce. Thanks for “thinking different” and in doing so set the world on fire.
Thank you for everything Steve. You will be greatly missed.