How To Design Like Apple

Apple is known for its beautiful, simple product design. Minute MBA lays out how to replicate that based on five basic rules.

As we all know by now, Steve Jobs was a notorious perfectionist, but that's not the only reason iPads and iPhones almost sell quicker than Apple can make them. There are also some specific principles to abide by in terms of aesthetics and quality. Looks like the only one they forgot was "ignore everything Forstall did". [OnlineMBA]


    how to design like apple, take previous device, add feature that was new 1 year ago. call it revolutionary.

      I think that's more Apples marketing strategy, their design history has more been along the lines of, "shit, shit, shit, lucky fluke, rehash said fluke until it goes stale."

        Only the ipod was really a "fluke" in that it gained such huge popularity and cross-market owning dominance... But yes to the latter: "rehash till stale". Verrrry stale!

          I blame Sony for that, if they weren't so set on mini-disc taking off they'd have owned the MP3 market like they did every other portable music generation.

            Bullshit. Sony was dead long before that and the only reason why American consumers bought their products was because they were first to market, not because they were any good at design.

            Other large consumer electronics brands tried the digital music player market too you know.

        So according to you, Apple has never, ever sold a single product that wasn't a 'fluke'. Not even pre-1997?

          Spot on, alanzeino, glad to see you're paying attention! Though I guess you could argue that people falling for trend products is good marketing rather than fluke, a fool and his money, as they say! You've given us all something to think about.

            Samsung spends more money on marketing than Apple, I guess the same applies to them huh:

              Not really, just because Apple spend less on advertising doesn't mean they don't have a better marketing department.

              Those marketing figures are for the whole company. Samsung is a giant corporation that sells everything from televisions to phones to tablets to semiconductors to flat panel displays to printers, digital cameras, mechanical and solid state storage, media players and more. Apple sells MP3 players, desktop computers, phones and tablets. Comparing their company-wide marketing expenses is meaningless.

            Just like those fools falling for the trend of automatic gearboxes in cars

        Incorrect. They start with a market dominating hit in the Apple II, so it's more like, "Hit, rehash, rehash, rehash, stale, flop, flop. Hit, rehash, rehash...." and so on

      I think the video mistakes fashion for design (even though fashion is designed). Something that is pretty or "different" today and yet looks "old" in a years time may be good fashion but not good design. The mooted blackberry phone is more Apple that Apple's own iphone 5 ie the 5 looks dated.

      The video also mixes the visual form of an object with the way it functions. That because an object is pretty it also function well. There's much to not like about iOS UI (as there is about Android). To state that all aspects of an Apple iObject are great is wrong.

    Edit: Was meant for @ted

    "lucky fluke" Hahahahahahah - yeah, years worth of research and development - fluke indeed.

    Last edited 13/12/12 12:06 pm

      you mean, years worth of research & development by other companies. then buy the design for a bucketload of cash & sell it as your own.

      Edit: speling

      Last edited 13/12/12 12:26 pm

        Would you like to edit that edit?

          I noticed that, but nah, I like the irony :p

    Ugh, these comments..
    Just once I'd like to click on an article with 'Apple' in the title and not see a bunch of crap in the comments.

      I actually find the apple bashing comments to be very amusing. They say a lot more about the posters psychology than they realise. Lots of self referential boosting of self esteem by assumption that purchase of a basic consumer good is a demonstration of their superior knowledge and reasoning. Defence mechanisms like denigration of people who have made a more popular choice as victims of a "reality distortion field" and so on to cope with the fact that the market disgrees with them. Deriding of the concept of following fashion as "Sheep" depite almost certainly wanting to be percieved as having the same social status that being responsible for leading fashion confers i. e. lead sheep. It's all very entertaining.

      The fanboys, not so much fun. Until recently they were on the winning side. They'll become more entertaining as the numbers go progressively against them and they need defence mechanisms to cope for the fact.

        Android fans can't act the way you described or they'll get sued. Apple invented the raving fanboy/Micro$oft basher (dollar sign compulsory) back in the 90s and has patents on it, sorry.

    How to design like Apple:

    Step 1: Take a step back and look at the current market. Don't ask people what they want. Instead, give them something that in 10 years' time, will become a must-have (in other words, give them something they didn't realise they needed)

    Step 2: Build something "that just works" based on the future market's needs

    Step 3: Patent it, and every little thing involved with it

    Step 4: Accuse everyone of stealing your ideas and sue

    Step 5: Watch as other companies take Apple's lead and design for the future market

    Step 6: Play catch-up and still make a successful product based on your former reputation instead of the current product.

      preach it! sister

      How many of those steps are actually design-related and not executive direction?

      Thank goodness, a realistic one! Perfectly put Grayda. Practically the only worthwhile comment in this whole article.

    Every time I read an "How does apple design" feature I think of industrial designer Dieter Rams. Look it's been said by many and not just me. Apple design philosophy aswell as Braun in 60/70's was/is based largely on his 10 principles for good design. People should realize a lot of the design process and language is based around these fundamentals. Personally I think way, way, way to much pointless commentary is made about market share, who did what first blah blah blah and who is suing who. It's monotonous and doesn't help the Industrial Design community but it sure helps out the legal industry. We must remember design isn't impacted by market share it valued only by the people who use it.

    Anyway for those who care bellow is the ten principles of good design. /Dieter Rams via Wikipedia

    1. Is innovative - The possibilities for innovation are not, by any means, exhausted. Technological development is always offering new opportunities for innovative design. But innovative design always develops in tandem with innovative technology, and can never be an end in itself.

    2. Makes a product useful - A product is bought to be used. It has to satisfy certain criteria, not only functional, but also psychological and aesthetic. Good design emphasizes the usefulness of a product whilst disregarding anything that could possibly detract from it.

    3. Is aesthetic - The aesthetic quality of a product is integral to its usefulness because products are used every day and have an effect on people and their well-being. Only well-executed objects can be beautiful.

    4. Makes a product understandable - It clarifies the product’s structure. Better still, it can make the product clearly express its function by making use of the user's intuition. At best, it is self-explanatory.

    5. Is unobtrusive - Products fulfilling a purpose are like tools. They are neither decorative objects nor works of art. Their design should therefore be both neutral and restrained, to leave room for the user's self-expression.

    6. Is honest - It does not make a product more innovative, powerful or valuable than it really is. It does not attempt to manipulate the consumer with promises that cannot be kept.

    7. Is long-lasting - It avoids being fashionable and therefore never appears antiquated. Unlike fashionable design, it lasts many years – even in today's throwaway society.

    8. Is thorough down to the last detail - Nothing must be arbitrary or left to chance. Care and accuracy in the design process show respect towards the consumer.

    9. Is environmentally friendly - Design makes an important contribution to the preservation of the environment. It conserves resources and minimizes physical and visual pollution throughout the lifecycle of the product.

    10. Is as little design as possible - Less, but better – because it concentrates on the essential aspects, and the products are not burdened with non-essentials. Back to purity, back to simplicity.

    How to design like Apple
    1) Google Image search 'Braun'
    2) You have just designed like Apple.

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