Only Apple could do this: Designed by Apple in California is a monograph, a history of Apple in 450 photographs, from 1998’s iMac to 2015’s Apple Pencil, which also documents the materials and techniques used by Apple’s design team over two decades of innovation.
But just as Apple famously looked at existing portable music players and improved them to create the iPod, and repeated the trick with the iPhone, so Designed by Apple in California is the book at its very bookiest.
Take the materials used to make it. When Apple designs a laptop, it doesn’t use just any off-the-shelf casing material. So it goes with paper. Of course there are lots of beautiful papers on the market, but none good enough for Apple’s book. Instead Sir Jony Ive commissioned James Cropper Paper in the Lake District to create a specially-created, custom-dyed paper with gilded matte silver edges for its pages.
And four-colour printing was never going to be adequate for this one. Nor even a spot colour or two. No, Designed by Apple in California is printed using eight-colour separations for the most faithful colour reproduction possible and ‘low-ghost’ ink to reduce any softening of images.
Of course there were existing photographs of all the products featured, but they didn’t match each other exactly, so everything was reshot by Andrew Zuckerman.
And just as the theatre of the ‘unboxing’ process plays such a role in the acquisition of a new Apple product, so opening this book is no mundane task. It comes in a white shipping box with a simple, elegant ‘draw-tab’ to gain access.
Of course all this doesn’t come quickly or cheaply. The book took eight years to produce. And in typical Apple style, the book is available in two versions – the standard, ‘small’ one at £169 and a slightly better, ‘large’ one at £249. You can only buy it at apple.com or in select Apple Stores.
The book is dedicated to the memory of Steve Jobs. It’s very much a work in the best Jobsian tradition.