Apple design chief Jony Ive has been promoted to the newly created position of “Chief Creative Officer,” a new feature by Stephen Fry in the Telegraph has revealed. The move leaves Ive open to more “blue sky thinking,” as Fry put it — with two other senior Apple employees also promoted to take on key managerial roles.
Richard Howarth will be the new head of Industrial Design, while Alan Dye is the new head of User Interface.
So who are they?
Like Ive, Howarth is a Brit — as “English as Vimto,” Fry says. He studied at Ravensbourne, a London design college that counts David Bowie and Stella McCartney among its more notable alumni.
An industrial designer, he has been with Apple for a long time, playing a crucial role in the creation of the first iPhone. “Richard was lead on the iPhone from the start,” Ive told Fry. “He saw it all the way through from prototypes to the first model we released.”
Apple CEO Tim Cook is also effusive about Howarth’s contribution to the company, writing in a company-wide memo that he “has been a member of the Design team for two decades, and in that time he has been a key contributor to the design of each generation of iPhone, Mac, and practically every other Apple product.”
The industrial designer also donates £4,250 every year to an award for design students run in conjunction with the RSA (Royal Society of Arts), which has been named the Richard Howarth Award. First launched in 2014, the bursary was inspired by his own experiences as a student. Back in 1994, he had a work placement at Sony in Japan, which he was able to fund after winning a £4,250 bursary for his entry into the RSA Student Design Awards.
Howarth says that he “can’t imagine what direction my life would have taken if I hadn’t won an RSA Student Design Award.” As such, the designer is now committed to “paying forward” his award every year, according to the RSA.
Within Apple, soft-spoken Howarth has a powerful reputation. While writing an extensive New Yorker profile on Jony Ive, Ian Parker was told “half-jokingly” that Howarth is considered “a badass in terms of driving things… He’s feared.”
Howarth’s formal job title is “vice president of Industrial Design.”
Dye, meanwhile, will handle user interface. Described by Fry as a “tall amiable American,” he is, according to Ive, “a genius for human interface design. So much of the Apple Watch’s operating system came from him.”
Cook, meanwhile, says that Dye “started at Apple nine years ago on the Marcom [marketing and communications] team, and helped Jony build the UI team which collaborated with ID, Software Engineering and countless other groups on groundbreaking projects like iOS 7, iOS 8 and Apple Watch.”
Dye helped create Apple’s iconic product boxes, according to an extensive feature on the Apple Watch in Wired by David Pierce, after which he “was handed the reins to the human interface group.” He is a “graphic designer by training.”
Before Apple, Dye worked as creative director at luxury women’s retailer Kate Spade — and before that, as creative director at Ogilvy & Mather, according to his LinkedIn profile. He studied at Syracuse University, graduating in 1997.
According to Syracuse’s site, he has also “done design work for the New York Times, Simon & Schuster, the National Basketball Association and New York Magazine. His design work has been recognised by many design publications and websites, and he is a regular speaker for design and advertising events. He was also the vice president of the New York chapter of the AIGA, the professional association for design, and was chair of the Art Directors Club’s Young Guns.”
Dye’s new formal job title is “vice president of User Interface Design.”
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