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Sharing views with Jonathan Ive.

Catching up on some reading I came across the Jonathan Ive interview at the Design Museum last November.

As Apple’s head designer, and regardless of ones views on Apple, their products or tax position, I found his comments interesting and in many cases supported by our own recruitment experiences.

The gulf between design and manufacture is significant and aggravated by those who believe that we will 3D print everything in the future, which as we all know “can do anything”!Jonathan Ive

Manufacturing is frequently regarded as the brake on all those wonderful design ideas that can be produced sitting in front of a computer with CAD and a suite of rendering software. Whereas, in reality, it is the enabler, it's the key to achieving the reality that supports the rendered image, and as such we need to understand what is possible and what is not.

Decades ago in the days of my apprenticeship, we had Production Liaison Engineers. Their brief was to wander the drawing boards (yes, no computers!) and to head-off new designs that were going to cause problems when it came to manufacture. They were effectively manufacturing’s gatekeepers, but with the objective of taking years of manufacturing experience and ploughing it back into the design team.

As Ive said “Of course we can make anything any shape, but that's just being bloody minded. You can't make those decisions, you can't read about it, you gain that experience by making.”

Today it seems the ‘design for manufacture’ element remains hard won experience, not taught, as it requires manufacturing space, and that is now expensive alongside computers and CAD software.

So whilst CAD literacy has increased dramatically, the practicalities of taking that design through to reality are lagging behind. This is something that should be addressed, as good design has rules…..even if it is 3D printed!

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