Design legend Sir Jony Ive leaves Apple to launch his own creative business

Jony Ive and Apple CEO Tim Cook
Jony Ive and Apple CEO Tim Cook [Image: VCG/VCG via Getty Images] (Image credit: Getty Images)

Sir Jony Ive, Apple's chief design officer, announced yesterday that he will be leaving the company, after nearly 30 years of service. Famous for designing some of Apple's most recognisable and revolutionary products, including the iPod and iPhone, Ive has left to set up his own creative company.

Having led Apple's design team since 1996, Ive was responsible for helping to turn the company's fortunes around by creating some of the most influential pieces of industrial design, starting with the iMac in 1998.

Other Apple products designed by Ive include the iPod in 2001, and the iPad in 2010. Ive can also take credit for designing the iPhone, the Apple Watch, and most recently, Apple's hugely popular AirPods

Ive's decision to leave was revealed in an exclusive interview with the Financial Times. "While I will not be an [Apple] employee, I will still be very involved - I hope for many, many years to come," he told the newspaper. "This just seems like a natural and gentle time to make this change."

Ive's new venture, LoveFrom, will be launched fully in 2020 once the designer completes his transition from Apple later in the year. Famed industrial designer Marc Newson will join him at LoveFrom.

Ive will have no immediate successor at Apple. Instead, Evans Hankey will take over as vice-president of industrial design, with Alan Dye becoming vice-president of human interface design.

Ive's sleek and distinctive devices are counted amongst the most beautiful Apple products, and have helped the brand generate its loyal customer base. (Stylish though they may be, Apple devices don't come cheap – although we might see a few Prime Day deals come 15 July). 

His work paved the way for Apple's devices to be regarded as some of the best computers for graphic designers, a position that the tech giant recently built on with the launch of its new super-powerful, super-pricey Mac Pro.

For many people, Ive's work perfectly sums up the Apple brand. It's functional, simple, elegant, and will be a tough act to follow. Plenty took to social media to share their thoughts on Ive's decision to leave.

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Even though Ive's leaving his high-profile position, both Ive and Apple say that he will continue to work "on a range of projects with Apple."

In a statement, Ive added: "After nearly 30 years and countless projects, I am most proud of the lasting work we have done to create a design team, process and culture at Apple that is without peer."

Has Ive's decision to leave got you thinking about going it alone yourself? If so, you should keep in mind the nine things you need to sort before going freelance.

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Dom Carter

Dom Carter is a freelance writer who specialises in art and design. Formerly a staff writer for Creative Bloq, his work has also appeared on Creative Boom and in the pages of ImagineFX, Computer Arts, 3D World, and .net. He has been a D&AD New Blood judge, and has a particular interest in picture books.