Since his death, Steve Jobs has been put at the top of many lists of the most important CEOs of our time and also on top many lists of our most creative figures. And deservedly so. Jobs’ contribution was to culminate one era and to help launch another.
The field we call industrial design grew out of the industrial revolution, and our current approach to industrial design originated at the Bauhaus, a school active in Germany between the world wars. The Bauhaus philosophy was that the design of an object—a tea kettle, a lamp, a chair, indeed anything—should reflect how and of what materials it is made, should indicate how to use it, and should communicate the spirit of its time. Jobs recaptured that Bauhaus ideal and brought it to new heights. In so doing, we can say that one of his achievements was a culmination of the industrial age. His other achievement, in the adoption and forwarding of the graphical user interface that is now ubiquitous on computers and mobile devices, was to move us deeper into our emerging era of visual thinking. Read the rest of this entry »