Free AppleCare with each new iMac 5K or Mac Pro purchase: Apple Price Guides updated Nov 19th (exclusive coupons)
Thursday, February 20, 2014, 01:05 pm PT (04:05 pm ET)

Apple's Jony Ive nearly gave up on industrial design in college

More than 20 years ago, renowned designer Tom Karen helped to shape Apple's future when he took on the task of talking a teenaged Jonathan Ive out of giving up on a future in industrial design.

Tom Karen

Tom Karen and some of his more famous designs, including the Bond Bug, Raleigh Chopper, Bush TR130 radio, and Aircruiser II concept jetliner.


Ive's father met Karen when the two served as judges for a student design competition. Concerned about his son's future, the elder Ive asked Karen to intervene when it appeared that Jonathan was reconsidering his choice of career, Karen recalled for the Telegraph.

"He got in touch with me a bit later and said, my son Jonathan's at university in Newcastle and is thinking about giving up his industrial design course," Karen said. "Maybe you could revive his interest?"

Karen invited the Ives to the offices of Ogle Design, the firm at which Karen served as managing director and chief designer. Under Karen, Ogle was responsible for the design of iconic 1970s British products like the Raleigh Chopper bicycle and Bond Bug three-wheeled microcar.

The tour had the desired effet, rekindling the younger Ive's interest in design. "The outcome was that Jonathan stuck to industrial design and made a huge success of it," Karen added.

Ive went on to co-found design consultancy Tangerine and was brought on as a consultant at Apple in 1992, later joining the company full-time. He was promoted to Senior Vice President of Industrial Design upon Steve Jobs's return in 1997 and is now considered of the best designers in the world, earning a knighthood in 2012 for his work.