For decades, his appreciation of visual brilliance radiated and resonated through his words. In tribute, to wit, here are our Top 10 Steve Jobs Quotes about Art and Creativity:
"Picasso had a saying. He said, 'Good artists copy, great artists steal.’ And we have always been shameless about stealing great ideas and I think part of what made the Macintosh great was that the people working on it were musicians and poets and artists and zoologists and historians who also happened to be the best computer scientists in the world."
— PBS’s "Triumph of the Nerds: The Rise of Accidental Empires” (1996)
“In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. It’s the fabric of the curtains of the sofa. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design. Design is the fundamental soul of a human-made creation that ends up expressing itself in successive outer layers of the product or service.”
“It’s really hard to design products by focus groups. A lot of times, people don’t know what they want until you show it to them.”
“It’s rare that you see an artist in his 30s or 40s able to really contribute something amazing.”
— Playboy interview (Jobs, of course, would go on to guide some of Apple’s greatest digital-product innovations while in his 50s.)
“We made the buttons on the screen look so good you’ll want to lick them.”
— Fortune magazine (via WikiQuote)
“Design is a funny word. Some people think design means how it looks. But of course, if you dig deeper, it's really how it works. The design of the Mac wasn't what it looked like, although that was part of it. Primarily, it was how it worked."
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“We tried to make something much more holistic and simple. When you first start off trying to solve a problem, the first solutions you come up with are very complex, and most people stop there. But if you keep going, and live with the problem and peel more layers of the onion off, you can often times arrive at some very elegant and simple solutions.”
— MSNBC/ Newsweek interview
“People from technology don't understand the creative process that these companies go through to make their products, and they don't appreciate how hard it is. And the creative companies don't appreciate how creative technology is; they think it's just something you buy. And so there is a gulf of understanding between the two of them.”
— Wall Street Journal
“Innovation comes from people meeting up in the hallways or calling each other at 10:30 at night with a new idea, or because they realized something that shoots holes in how we’ve been thinking about a problem. It’s ad hoc meetings of six people called by someone who thinks he has figured out the coolest new thing ever and who wants to know what other people think of his idea.”
— Business Week
“Your work is going to fill a large part of your life, and the only way to be truly satisfied is to do what you believe is great work. And the only way to do great work is to love what you do. If you haven’t found it yet, keep looking. Don’t settle. As with all matters of the heart, you’ll know when you find it.”
— 2005 Stanford commencement speech
Excerpted from the Stanford commencement address starting at minute 03:10:
There have been a great many creative and inventive people in history but most have not told us how they did it. Isaac Newton gave a hint when he said: "If I have seen further it is only by standing on the shoulders of giants." Jared Diamond, who has studied human evolution, says that opportunity, not necessity, is the mother of invention. Ecclesiastes 1:9 says:
What has been will be again,
what has been done will be done again;
there is nothing new under the sun.
Yet we keep making progress. And nature, specially the biosphere, evolves. We keep inventing things. How does it happen? We are very lucky in that Steve Jobs in his product introductions shows us how creativity works in practice, at least he shows us the tip of the iceberg. And the story he told about calligraphy during his Stanford commencement address is also about how creativity works in practice.