Sir Jony Ive is most famous for his iconic product designs for Apple – including the iPod and iPhone. So it's raised some eyebrows that the British Royal Family has just revealed him to be behind flora-themed logo design for King Charles III's Coronation, which will take place in May.
The design is inevitably already dividing opinion online, but it turns out that it isn't the first design that Jony Ive has made for King Charles III (for more conventional graphic design inspiration, see these famous graphic designers).
👑 The new Coronation emblem has been unveiled!The emblem will feature throughout the historic events in May, including street parties, community gatherings and on official merchandise. pic.twitter.com/Yr3Gb1Lnd4February 10, 2023
According to the Royal Family’s website, the King Charles III Coronation emblem (we're calling it a logo), was created by Jony Ive and his 'creative collective' LoveFrom. It will surely be used on all kinds of merchandise up to and during the May event – examples in the style guide include a bunting, a water bottle and, of course, a tea pot.
Sir Jony Ive also created the terra carta logo. pic.twitter.com/6zVFqLiXdTFebruary 11, 2023
Apple's former chief design officer, who received a knighthood from Queen Elizabeth II in 2012, says the logo design was "inspired by King Charles’ love of the planet, nature, and his deep concern for the natural world" and communicates “the happy optimism of spring". Ive adds that the "gentle modesty" of design's natural forms combine to define an emblem that "acknowledges both the joyful and profound importance of this occasion.”
The design combines the flora of the four nations of the United Kingdom: the English rose, Scottish thistle, Welsh daffodil and the shamrock of Northern Ireland to form the shape of St Edward’s Crown, with which His Majesty The King will be crowned at Westminster Abbey on Saturday, 6 May. The main version of the emblem uses the red, white and blue of the union flag, but the full style guide for the design shows other colour variations and a version in Welsh too.
But the logo also bears some resemblance to a previous design that Ive's firm made for the new king. He designed the sustainability award, the Terra Carta Seal, for the then Prince of Wales back in 2021 (Ive formed LoveFrom after leaving Apple in 2019). I guess if Charles liked that design, it makes sense to stick with the same route.
Me, I like the Terra Carta better pic.twitter.com/lxec9vTcpLFebruary 11, 2023
Jony Ive recently stunned us with his fantastic update of Comic Relief's Red Nose design, but this work is proving to be more divisive. Beyond the arguments about the monarchy and the question of the cost, judging purely in design terms, the internet seems to be evenly split. Some people are gushing with praise. "It’s beautiful! It has a William Morris arts and crafts feel to it," one person tweeted.
But others aren't impressed. "Boring and self-indulgent," was one person's immediate verdict. "An utterly dreadful design. Should have employed a professional brand design company," someone else said – I'm not sure if they're being ironic or don't know who Jony Ive is.
Some have questioned the absence of Commonwealth symbols like the Canadian maple leaf, someone from Mexico describes the design as "girly". Others are more worried about the practicalities of the design. "Overly fussy making it difficult to produce at small sizes without losing clarity. Oh, lead times mean it is and waaaaaaaaay late. There'll be tons of inconsistent designs floating about."
…love it! #jony_iveNo wonder Steve Jobs didn’t leave you in charge of @Apple! https://t.co/ovzUyiwYJeFebruary 11, 2023
The King Charles III Coronation logo style guide notes that the design can be freely used charities, companies and individuals for celebrations to mark the coronation, including commercial use, merchandise and advertising. If you want to get started with your own designs, see our pick of the best graphic design software or see the best current prices for Adobe's Creative Cloud package below.