Steve Jobs Biography

My family and I are longtime Apple fans. I confess, we briefly cheated on them in the 90’s, but there are reasons for that (one of which being Apple’s fall from grace during Steve Jobs’s banishment), all of which are explained in the new Steve Jobs bio. We even owned one of the original Macintosh computers. Over my last visit to Tulsa, I found some of the old disks from our second Mac (strangely hidden in plain site in a trunk in our living room also containing a plethora of troll dolls…).

There were quite a few interesting facts and I’m pretty sure my family would appreciate me never reading another biography as each time I came up for air from the book I recounted several Steve Jobs facts. Here are a few I found most notable:

1. Steve Jobs appreciates graphic design. In his brief stint at Reed for college he took a calligraphy class, which gave him a great appreciation for things such as kerning and leading and all the type goodies. It was largely because of this respect that Apple took the road it did instead of the road Windows and PC’s went. He stressed over details such as the rounded corners of the Macintosh for weeks (making everyone working for him crazy on the way).

He even had the opportunity to work with Paul Rand (one of the most famous and arguably the greatest graphic designer of all time) on a logo for one of his companies, NeXT. Rand was similar to Steve Jobs in the sense that they both knew (or felt) they were the best. He reportedly told Jobs (who asked for a number of options) that he didn’t create options for his clients.

“I will solve your problem, and you will pay me,” he told Jobs. “You can either use what I produce, or not, but I will not do options, and either way you will pay me.”

I was tickled (for lack of a better word) by that, because what graphic designer doesn’t at some point think something along those lines. Perhaps someday I’ll have the clout.

2. A big point to take away from the book (and in fact a point both Jobs and his wife wanted to come across) is that despite his genius, he wasn’t perfect. I would argue to say his work borders on perfect, but his personality was far from it. I’ll say it, he was crazy. A complete asshole. But he was brilliant. When he returned to Apple (after being fired), he knew they needed to set themselves apart by not only their visual aesthetic, but also their ad campaigns. He recognized that the client for Apple wasn’t your average business associate at a law firm, it was the creative type. Their original line was “Here’s to the crazy ones.” Their ad agency (Chiat/Day) came up with this poem (which I’m sure you saw floating around Facebook after Jobs’s death):

Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules. And they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them, disagree with them, glorify or vilify them. About the only thing you can’t do is ignore them. Because they change things. They push the human race forward. And while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.

It worked. It was this train of “crazy” thought that revolutionized the music industry, the mobile phone industry, and the notepad as well as personal computers.

3. As a designer, I often get requests that make no sense or that I know won’t work (slash will be hideous). It’s part of my job to interpret what they’re asking for and translate it to something that does work. Jobs took a more radical approach, but shared a similar outlook on interaction with clients. He wrote this for the biography:

Some people say, “give the customers what they want.” But that’s not my approach. Our job is to figure out what they’re going to want before they do. I think Henry Ford once said, “If I’d asked customers what they wanted, they would have told me, ‘A faster horse!’ ” People don’t know what they want until you show them.

I’d highly recommend this book to anyone. I honestly don’t think I know anyone anymore without at least one Apple product (I mean, who hasn’t had an iPod along the way), but even if you don’t, from a business approach this is an excellent read. While I normally stick to a little fluffier novel for the beach, this was with me for 2 solid days (I read quickly, but I confess I toted this book to every meal I was so engrossed) in Hawaii.

Has anyone else read/or started it??


Aloha Friday: 2011 Superlatives

Happy Aloha Friday (actually from Hawaii, woo!).

2011 was a year of highs and lows and an emotional rollercoaster to say the least. I’m ready to bid it adieu and start fresh with 2012, but first I thought I’d offer a brief look back over the past year. I saw a similar post on another blog and thought I’d do my own design spin on it.

Best iPhone App: Tie between Instagram and Hipstamatic (you can tell I think this, as around 80% of my photos have been through these)

Best iPad App: Twitter. Never thought I’d “tweet”, but the amazingly clean and functional design of this twitter app literally turned me into a tweeter. Check it out.

Best New (to my collection) Typeface: Museo. Clean lines, modern flow, a nice little, versatile font.

Best New TV Show: Homeland. Hands down. Have you seen it?? I confess I love my CW guilty pleasures, but Homeland is a legitimately great show with staying power. And if Claire Danes doesn’t win an Emmy or Golden Globe, I’ll be shocked.

Best Memory: Our wedding. This was definitely the high point of my year and I’m so fortunate to have so many amazing memories from the entire week with all our friends and family.

Best Book: Steve Jobs bio. A whole post to come on this next week, but if you have some free time, pick up this book.

Best New Website: Pinterest. This site has alleviated my need for the countless amounts of “inspiration” folders I had cluttering my desktop.


Hope everyone has a nice New Year’s and a fabulous start to the New Year!


The Power of Print: Anthro birthday mailer

I love paper. LOOOVE it. I love invitations, packaging, posters, books, cards, etc., etc., etc. I love nice printing. Sadly I feel like a lot of these things I love are disappearing because of the power and quickness of the internet and the “Go Green” movement. Because I love paper, I really appreciate when a store gives me something or mails me something that I didn’t receive in an eblast.

My birthday is in October and today I received a little gem of a mailer from Anthropologie in anticipation of “my day”. The theme was “me time” and included a cute little bracelet as well as a 15% off for the month coupon. I thought I’d share because I was so excited by not only their thoughtfulness of remembering my birthday (hehe), but also by the simple beauty of this little piece, which serves as a great reminder why print work is still relevant and useful. Enjoy.

My love of paper has inspired me in different ways recently. Stay tuned this week for an announcement and launch (hint, hint…)!

A Personal Apocalypse

I’m feeling a bit feisty today.

Monday night we attempted to go to a movie and for the second time in a week I locked my keys in the house. With no family members with keys here (and Mike’s key locked in as well), we faced a dilemma. How to break into a house that I work hard to make hard to break into? The windows are new and have the safety pulls that don’t allow it to open beyond a certain point unless you’re controlling it inside. LUCKILY (?) ONE window’s safety pulls were undone inside. It was the tiniest window in the house, but I managed to shimmy my way into the house via a lift from Mike and a toilet hand-stand into the bathroom.

Last night Mike and I had grand plans to cook out steaks. We had them all ready to go, all the fixings for salad and twice baked potatoes, and then a power outage ran us out of our house. Apparently Colorado can’t keep up with 100 degree weather heat because it certainly seemed like a brown out.

Last night after the power outage forced Mike and I to go out to dinner my car was hit while we were eating. The driver originally hit it and ran, but either her conscience got the better of her or the fact that there were multiple witnesses with her plate numbers as it was in the midst of Rockie’s game traffic. Thanks, Kim, I really wanted to deal with this right now:

So instead of all the work I needed to be doing this morning I shopped around getting my car fixed and talking to Geico. In the midst of my exciting morning, I look out my office window and notice tree leaves where they shouldn’t be. I peak out a bit more and see a tree on my property line has fallen on top of my neighbor’s car. This does not surprise me. Given the way this week has gone, why wouldn’t a healthy tree uproot itself and fall onto my neighbor’s BMW?

I attempt to move the tree myself with no luck. So I enlist my friend Alana’s help (as she is currently funemployed after recently relocating here) and together we move the tree to a new “falling position” that hit nothing! (How miraculous!) Thankfully, the hood of the car next door doesn’t have a scratch on it.

Lessons Learned this Week (Please let this be the end of them):
1. Give friends a key even if you have no local family members.
1.5 I’ve found a fault in my home security I’ve corrected!
2. I may never fit in here in Colorado. 100 degrees without humidity really isn’t THAT hot. Come on.
3. There’s no lesson to learn from my car being backed into as that girl got a major lucky break by the cop letting her off from the hit and run charge.
4. Always move fallen trees from your neighbor’s cars before panicking. There may be no damage.

Anyone else have a spell of bad luck this week?

What Qualifies as Iconic Photography?

My friend Lindsay sent me an article this morning from NPR that I found quite interesting. It featured a picture of a couple laying down kissing in the midst of a riot-ridden Vancouver (after the local hockey team was defeated in the finals of the Stanley Cup). It poses the question of whether or not this could be the V-J day kiss in Times Square (a spontaneous moment of celebration at the announcement of the end of the war with the Japanese during World War 2 captured by Alfred Eisenstaedt) of our generation. Both the recent (very recent, last night) picture and Times Square picture are below.

I find the question interesting on several levels. While the images are obviously similar in content with a spontaneous kiss in the midst of chaos, the inspiration for the kisses are quite different. One was celebrating the completion of a war that had resulted in countless deaths, while the other apparently resulted at the victory of their favorite hockey team? I have to laugh at that though, because I wonder if these people were Bruins fans or simply drunk. Additionally, an update to the article suggested perhaps it was performance art.

While the similarities from the Vancouver image and this image at the Getty are quite similar, I question that theory for the mere fact that knowing a riot would ensue in Vancouver seems to be a bit out there. Do you think the riot image is real or staged?

It also raises the question of what qualifies as an iconic image. Is it a message that resonates the most with people? Is it the quality of the image? Is it the most graphic? And what are images from our generation that you think will stand the test of time? Below (as a native Oklahoman) is an image I’ll never forget.

What are some images from recent times you feel are iconic?