The Purple Cow

The curse and boon of a designer.

Ask yourself how many times a day do you stop and admire the way your chair looks?


Ask yourself how many times a week do you pause your iPod and admire how wonderful it looks?

None. The curse of a designer is that he never gets the credits. An engineer, a marketer, an advertiser or even a simple salesman is often celebrated or acknowledged publicly for their contributions but not a designer. No one ever thinks and thanks the endless hours of sheer passion that went into making the sketch of a chair before the chair was actually manufactured.

But isn’t it the purpose of the design anyway?

To be invisible.

A great design is something that vanishes and elevates only what you do with it. The utility of a product should take over the aesthetic effort. The product should seem like a natural extension of you. That is the hallmark of a great design.

But there is one and only one boon and joy for a designer that no one else can get: The first few moments of a customer unwrapping the product.

Those initial few moments of how incredible the customer feels are worth a lifetime to a designer. Remember, when you opened your first iPod/MacBook Air/iPhone. Those precious and mesmerizing and magical 5 minutes belonged to not the Apple salesman, advertiser, marketer or even Steve Jobs.

Jony Ive owned them.