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Keep It Simple: The Early Design Years of Apple Flexibound – January 7, 2014


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Product Details

  • Flexibound: 296 pages
  • Publisher: Arnoldsche Verlagsanstalt (January 7, 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 3897904071
  • ISBN-13: 978-3897904071
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 0.9 x 10.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.8 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #198,251 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

Hartmut Esslinger knows a thing or two about industrial design and what it’s done for Apple. He worked directly with Steve Jobs to establish a “design language” that was used on the Macintosh line of computers for over a decade. (Christopher Mims Quartz, September 12, 2013)

Keep It Simple is filled with prototypes and drawings in the “Snow White” style, as well as many familiar finished designs... We need to give credit to Mr. Esslinger for being a true visionary. (John Maeda The Wall Street Journal, December 14, 2013)

About the Author

Hartmut Esslinger is founder of frog design, inc., a leading global innovation firm, and one of the most respected designers and business consultants in the world. Esslinger sparked a design revolution when he founded the company in his native Germany, around the guiding principle 'form follows emotion'. His work has defined the modern consumer aesthetic with such revolutionary products as the Apple Macintosh computer, Sony's Trinitron television, Lufthansa's brand and fleet image, Disney's Cruise Lines and Consumer Electronics, and Louis Vuitton's brand aesthetic.His designs are in the Museum for Modern Art and the Whitney Museum in New York. He is also Founding Professor of the Hochschule fur Gestaltung, Karlsruhe, Germany, and was Professor for Convergent Design at the University of Applied Arts, Vienna, Austria.

Customer Reviews

4.5 out of 5 stars
5 star
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4 star
0%
3 star
13%
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1 star
7%
See all 15 customer reviews
Good background on designs and motivations.
DesignBookBlog
Ever since the release of “AppleDesign” in 1997, fans of Apple and industrial design have been clamoring for more.
Greg Prichard
Anybody writing about Apple and Steve Jobs must read this book.
David Fradin

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Greg Prichard on March 12, 2014
Format: Flexibound
Ever since the release of “AppleDesign” in 1997, fans of Apple and industrial design have been clamoring for more. That volume, released just before Apple’s design revolution with the first iMac, gave a tantalizing glimpse behind the scenes of Apple’s industrial design process, including unused concepts, forward-thinking projects (such as iPad-like tablets as envisioned in the early ‘80s), and stories about the people behind the early phases of Apple’s design language.

One of those people was Hartmut Esslinger, principal of frog design and developer of the “Snow White” design language that defined Apple’s products in the mid- to late-‘80s. Esslinger is credited with bringing the simplicity and elegance to European design to the American company, an aesthetic philosophy carried through in its designs to this day. In “Keep it Simple,” Esslinger himself takes one segment of the saga described in AppleDesign and expounds on it in unparalleled detail. The book’s images of “Snow White” concepts (some of which also appeared in AppleDesign) are excellent and revelatory. Some of the products shown in this book never made it past the foam model phase (sometimes a good thing), and others nearly made it to production, including my personal favorite, the “Baby Mac” of 1985. Examples of “Snow White” designs that made it to market are the IIc, IIgs, and Macintosh II. It is a real treat to see so many concepts, the good, bad, and revolutionary, together and in such detail.

What might be most interesting to modern-day readers are the future concepts shown: the flat-screens, thin notebooks, cell phones, and even tablets that Esslinger and his team conceptualized more than a decade before the technology was viable.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By J. King on January 1, 2014
Format: Flexibound Verified Purchase
Fans of Apple and it's product designs will treasure this book. Esslinger stakes his rightful claim to his role in Apple's product designs. He details "behind the scenes" relating to his work with Steve and Apple, Inc. His style is matter of fact and creditable. While I read it in one sitting, this book will serve as a history and design reference book I go back to. He included dozens of full and half page photos of prototype designs too.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By David Fradin on March 25, 2014
Format: Flexibound Verified Purchase
I was a product manager and Apple /// Business Unit Manager during the period Hartmut covers in this superior read. Start-ups, innovators, product managers and all product leaders can learn exactly what they must do to be successful over the long term. Anybody writing about Apple and Steve Jobs must read this book. It corrects some of the myths we have all heard about. It reflects everything perfectly that I recall as a manager at Apple in the early years.

I notice only one, and that is unusual for such a book, error. Hartmut says he bought and Apple //e in 1978. Not possible. The //e didn't come out until late 1982 or early 1983. So either the date of the conference where Hartmut first saw the Apple // is wrong or he saw and bought the original Apple //. Not a big deal, though.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By DesignBookBlog on January 21, 2014
Format: Flexibound Verified Purchase
Frog design is one of my all-time favorite design studios and they did a remarkable job with Apple by designing products pre Jony Ive era. I guess since Jobs has now passed away we'll see a flood of books describing him as a person and this book is no exception. However the tone of voice is more or less warm and it seems that Hartmut and Jobs did share a common view on things.

This is a good read, nice layout and pictures from frog design archives including some crazy futuristic sketches. Good background on designs and motivations.

Well worth the money invested.
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Format: Flexibound Verified Purchase
I love this book. I have respected Hartmut Esslinger and Frog Design since their early involvement with Apple and Steve Jobs. This book is a treasure. It is loaded with images of models/prototypes that allow a glimpse into the design process. I found the text to be a little self serving, but his message about the integration of design in what could other wise be engineering driven product development is as timely now as it was in the 1980s when he brought the model to Apple. Excuse me while I go back and peruse the book again.
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Format: Flexibound Verified Purchase
The main selling point of this book is the numerous photographs of Frog's design concepts, both in foam core and more detailed plastic models (including the aptly named "MacBook" or what some have called the "iPad //c"). Esslinger details his history with design and Apple in particular, and tells a compelling if necessarily one-sided story of creating some of the most recognized (and could-have-been most recognized) computers in the world.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jay F. Hamlin on December 20, 2014
Format: Flexibound Verified Purchase
not worth much. Its mostly Hartmut saying how smart he is.
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By Laura B on February 2, 2015
Format: Flexibound Verified Purchase
I looked at multiple books about Apple's early years. My teenage son loves the history of Apple and I was looking for a book that would keep his attention. He loves this book. The drawings/pictures are great and it's laid out in a way that keeps his interest.
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Keep It Simple: The Early Design Years of Apple
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