Design Like Apple | John Edson

Summary of: Design Like Apple: Seven Principles for Creating Insanely Great Products, Services, and Experiences
By: John Edson


In ‘Design Like Apple: Seven Principles for Creating Insanely Great Products, Services, and Experiences’, John Edson highlights the magic of Apple’s design principles, which sets the company apart from its competitors. The book examines Apple’s relentless dedication to performance, purpose, refinement, and beauty through focused design in creating exceptional products that users love. Edson presents an insightful comparison of Apple and other companies’ approaches, emphasizing the importance of prioritizing aesthetics and user experience above all.

The Magic Door to Insanely Great Products

Every product we see and use has been designed by someone somewhere. Steve Jobs recognized that design was the key to creating products that wowed users. He made design a cornerstone of Apple’s culture, and the company’s success lies in incorporating performance, purpose, refinement, and beauty into every design. Apple’s approach is based on seven design principles that serve as a guiding force for their design philosophy. Today, businesses recognize the value of using design to differentiate their offerings and create a unique customer experience.

Design’s Impact on Product Success

Design plays a vital role in the success of a product. Apple’s emphasis on design has set it apart from its competitors, while Motorola’s engineering-driven approach resulted in disappointing results. Aesthetically attractive designs evoke an emotional response from consumers and engender brand loyalty.

Design is a crucial aspect of product development that can differentiate a brand from its competitors. The aesthetic appeal and user-friendliness of a product can create an emotional connection with consumers and cultivate brand loyalty. Apple’s focus on design above all else serves as a prime example of this principle in action.

In contrast, Motorola’s approach to product development was driven by engineering considerations, resulting in a range of phones with the same base and different heads. The muddled design failed to satisfy consumers, resulting in disappointing sales.

Apple’s emphasis on design can increase manufacturing costs, but it ultimately pays off with premium and sought-after products. The customer experience, rather than new technology or engineering, informs the development of every product. Apple’s design-centered approach has even revolutionized the cellphone industry with the introduction of the iPhone.

Beautiful design creates an aesthetic attractiveness that evokes a deep-seated emotional reaction in consumers. While Motorola’s RAZR V3 achieved this response, it fell short in functionality. However, Apple’s iPhone 4S is both beautiful and ingenious. The solid, glossy surface of the device, combined with its cutting-edge technology, conforms naturally to the way humans interact with devices. This ingenuity sets Apple’s products apart from other technology companies.

Charisma is another element of Apple’s product line that separates it from competitors. The mystique and charm of its products engenders brand loyalty in consumers. Apple’s “Mac versus PC” ad campaign exemplifies this character. It presented Apple as young, hip, and proactive, casting Microsoft as sluggish and out of touch.

In conclusion, design plays an integral role in the success of a product. While engineering considerations are essential, they should not take precedence over design. Aesthetically attractive designs create an emotional response in consumers, engender brand loyalty, and differentiate a brand from its competitors.

The Power of a Central Design Philosophy

Companies that prioritize a central design vision and integrate it into their culture can create compelling products with a clear brand vision that resonates with customers.

Successful companies like Apple have demonstrated the importance of having a central design philosophy that informs all aspects of product development. By establishing design values and using them as a compass, companies can resist the temptation of shortcuts and expedient solutions that compromise their core values.

A coherent design philosophy that’s championed by a powerful leader enables a company to present a cohesive brand vision that aligns with its values. Even in the absence of such a leader, companies can create and follow a set of design tenets that articulate a central vision. This puts everyone in the firm on the same page regarding design’s role in the development process, the nature of their products, and what makes their customers happy.

However, simply having a design vision isn’t enough. A company must hire people who share or understand this point of view well enough to integrate it into every product and service development. Emphasizing design as an integral part of a company’s DNA requires every employee across departments to be devoted to the firm’s design principles and incorporate design into their way of thinking and problem-solving.

Organizations that prioritize design like Apple view it as a tool for creating beautiful experiences that convey a coherent point of view down to the smallest detail. The product itself becomes the ultimate message, and to reinforce that message, it must be of exceptionally high quality and part of a pattern of repetition.

In contrast, companies that lack a central design vision might create products that make money, but without taste and intention, those products won’t represent the company’s core values, resulting in inconsistencies that confuse customers. Having a coherent design philosophy can help companies create compelling products with a clear brand vision that resonates with their target audience.

The Power of Exceptional Products

In a world where traditional advertising has been diluted by technological advancements and social media, the key to making your offering stand out is to produce something extraordinary. The product itself is the message, not the advertising surrounding it. Outstanding, well-designed, and well-made products create loyal followers who become advocates for your brand. Advertising reinforces the emotions created by using the product but isn’t enough to propel a mediocre product to the top. Design that incorporates the customer’s needs at the center of the development environment is crucial for creating exceptional products that connect emotionally with users. Companies that focus on creating exceptional products and continue to do so build and solidify their brand’s reputation in the minds of consumers and can withstand occasional missteps or setbacks.

Apple’s Design Philosophy

Apple’s design philosophy centers around understanding its customers and creating a universe of products, services, and support functions that fit their lives. The company’s success is built on its ability to zoom out and examine the evolving consumer market to develop products like the iPhone, which operate as prolific platforms that can be customized by users. This human-centered ethos and empathy-driven design approach have led to the creation of products that change the way we see and interact with the world. Apple’s vertical approach initially excluded partnerships, but the company has evolved since the 1990s to allow software like Microsoft to run on their computers. This approach has allowed Apple to become one of the most successful and innovative technology companies in the world.

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