Affiliate Disclosure
If you buy through our links, we may get a commission. Read our ethics policy.

Steve Jobs wanted Macintosh design to be like the early Beatles

Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs

Apple co-founder Steve Jobs wanted the Macintosh to be "like The Beatles," an award-winning designer from the team behind the device has claimed.

The National Design Awards took place on Thursday, recognizing excellence and innovation in the field. As part of the 2023 ceremony, held at the Smithsonian Design Museum in Manhattan, award winner Clement Mok offered an anecdote about his work with Steve Jobs at Apple.

When asked what his favorite design was, Mok offered to WWD that he was "most proud of the first child, which is the Macintosh, and then my most recent child [Sugarfish Sushi]."

Talking about the core Mac team, which he assisted via an affiliated design team, Mok and the other designers saw the design direction for the device as "Whatever Steve Jobs liked," with hundreds of design iterations performed on that belief.

"In a strange way, it was such an indoctrination about design for me as a practitioner," Mok added. "It was not about what it looks like." The "best way" to describe the concept was using a quote from Steve Jobs himself.

Jobs said "What I want is like The Beatles. It's the early Beatle, not the later Beatle," according to Mok. "We were like, Steve, we can't figure out what that means.' It was about having verve, energy, and soul."

Decades down the road, the ethos continues to persist, according to Mok. "When I talk to people from Apple and how they think about design, that core is still there. And you can't quite express it but their care about details and creating that experience and wow factor is making that emotional tug."

Mok also says Apple is "very much a fashion brand."

Mok received the award for Digital Design, and wasn't the only Apple-affiliated person to win. Arem Duplessis, a group creative director at Apple, picked up an award for Communication Design.