Is Apple Bad for Design?

In the footsteps of Bruce Nussbaum, another backlash article, this time against Apple (no surprise, it had to happen some time). Peter Merholz has a nice critique of it, with some of his own thoughts, including the importance of the organization and culture of Apple, as determined by Steve Jobs.

I have a quote that I use fairly frequently in presentations:

In most people’s vocabularies, design means veneer. It’s interior decorating. But to me, nothing could be further from the meaning of design.

A designer didn’t say this. Steve Jobs did.

That’s the type of thinking that it takes to create the quality of work that Apple does, on a consistent basis. You can get a one-off hit by being lucky (alignment of personalities, vision, budget and schedule), but to maintain quality over the long haul design must be seen as integral to product definition and development, not a superficial add-on that can be applied after the “real” work is done.