Apple designer 'Jony' Ive gets knighthood in honors list

By Lee Kaelin on

Jonathan Ive, senior vice president of industrial design for Apple, has been recognised by the Queen for services to design and enterprise in the Queen's New Years honors list (PDF). He receives the prestigious title of Knight Commander of the British Empire (KBE).

When asked, he said he was "humbled and sincerely grateful" for the award. "I am keenly aware that I benefit from a wonderful tradition in the UK of designing and making," he said when speaking to the BBC. "I discovered at an early age that all I have ever wanted to do is design."

Ive was born in Chingford, Essex in 1967. His father was a silversmith, and he spent the majority of his youth taking things apart in a bid to fuel his fascination into how it all worked. He went on to study industrial design at Newcastle Polytechnic University (now Northumbria University).

Several years later, with a degree in his hand he found employment in the field of commercial design. He then went on to found a design agency called Tangerine with three friends, where he eventually submitted a prototype notebook design to Apple in 1992.

The Cupertino-based company was so impressed they hired him, and he has worked for them ever since. He has been instrumental in the design of Apple's products since starting his employment and was often referred to by the late Steve Jobs as being his "spiritual partner."

"What's made him so outstandingly successful is the relationship he's had with Steve Jobs and Apple," said Deyan Sudjic, director of The Design Museum, when speaking to the BBC. "He's been working there for 19 years and has built up the kind of relationship that's very rare."

The KBE will be awarded at an official ceremony at a later date, in which the Queen will "tap" him on the shoulders using a ceremonial sword. After which he will rise as Sir Jonathan Ive. In 2005, he was awarded the title Commander of the British Empire (CBE), also for the design and enterprise.

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