www.flickr.com
    This is a Flickr badge showing public photos from turbobrown. Make your own badge here.

Thursday, September 21, 2006

Apple Design

There's an article in BusinessWeek called Who Is Jonathan Ive? about Apple's Senior VP for Industrial Design and their design process.In my opinion there are some very valuable nuggets in the article.

For starters, Apple keeps their focus on a few products and intends to provide excellence, instead of having a wide array of average offerings.

Second, they put value in differentation and design where their competitors cut costs, but the result is some fiercly loyal customers. According to the article, "Apple spends as much as $65 per PC casing, vs. an industry average of maybe $20." That means that fans of their design are going to keep coming back, whereas competitors are forced to find ways to cut costs and improve performance to keep customers. I would guess that among computer manufacturers brand loyalty is significantly higher with Apple because of their intense focus on the quality of their products' designs.

And lastly, they are willing to pay for talent. The article claims that the average salary for folks in their industrial design department is $200,000. Their department is significantly smaller than the industry averages among their competitors (also related to the diversity of product offerings), but their results speak for themselves. When you buy the talent you experience the benefit.

A lot can be taken away from this article for companies in any industry. There's some other excellent points on the content of the article over at the 37Signals blog which is where I came across the article.