From Paul Kunkel’s Apple Design, c1996:
“As Apple designers we will continue to deliver power, ease of use and functionality second to none. But the fruit of our work will be shaping the perceptions of those who use our products. The more we learn about our customers, easier it will be to reach that goal. Ultimately, the pursuit isn’t differentiation for it’s own sake, it’s value. Value is defined by usable, engaging and emotive solutions.”
Continuing: “We’re tired of restyling computers. The very act of styling distracts the designer from trickier issues of meaning. Differentiation has never been a goal at Apple. It has been a consequence, the result of an ongoing effort to humanize technology, understand what it means, and convey that meaning to users everywhere. Our goal at Apple has never been to look or feel different. The goal is to be better.”
Couldn’t have said it better myself ;-)
Actually this reminds me of what Steve Jobs said recently at the iPad 2 unveiling about the intersection of liberal arts and technology: “It’s in Apple’s DNA that technology alone is not enough — it’s technology married with liberal arts, married with the humanities, that yields us the result that makes our heart sing.”
Or when Hartmut Esslinger, founder of Frog Design coined the firm’s famous slogan, “Form Follows Emotion”: “Things don’t stand alone but for us. For human beings with a history and the need to realize themselves in objects.”
Ultimately design is about enabling the fundamental humanism of ourselves and our lives, not the objects or the technologies.