Remembering Steve Jobs

The design world lost a great visionary yesterday and many employees in our San Francisco office lost a personal hero. We wanted to share some of our personal memories with you today. We’ll take just a moment to look back briefly before we return, as Steve Jobs inspired us, to looking forward.

Anna Eshelman, Designer

I always opt for a window seat when I fly. I remember one flight I took when I was 13 the clouds were spectacular out my window during takeoff, but instead of watching them, I couldn’t take my eyes off a small device the gentleman in the seat next to me had in his hand. It was a newly-released 1st generation iPod Classic. I’ll never forget talking with him about it and thinking, “Wow… that is so, so cool. And not only that, it looks beautiful, too.” That was the start of my appreciation for Apple’s elegant, intuitive, (oftentimes invisible) design. From that point on Apple products began to slip into my life and into my work as a designer – and I’m thankful for it.

David Sudweeks, Type Expert

The Steve Jobs approach to design and manufacture not only brought us the great products that he and his atelier produced, but upped the standards generally, and in so doing, changed everyone’s expectations and their relationship to computers, and ultimately to each other.  Starting with the why, and then building the user experience—carefully planning from the end to the beginning and each step in between, and doing it consistently—is what separated Steve from everyone else in the industry.

Jacob Swartz, Front-End Developer, shared the video below of Jobs’ 2005 Stanford commencement speech. Around 3:23, Jobs touches upon typography and its way into computers.

Jason Vagner, CEO

My childhood coincided perfectly with the dawn of the personal computing era.

My first computer was an Osborne 1. My first modem ran at 300 baud. My first hard drive came in a Northstar Horizon, and my first social networks were BBSes, FidoNet and Usenet. I can remember riding my BMX bike to local computer stores to drool over and demo early Macintosh, Amiga and Atari ST models.

My first Steve Jobs machine was a NeXT cube, with the titanium case. Truth be told, it was neither more beautiful nor better than the Sun Microsystem and Silicon Graphics machines I also worked on.

I came to Apple products late in the game. I knew who Steve Jobs was, followed his story, but didn’t buy his products. My first Apple purchase was an iPhone 3G. It replaced the horrid Nokia E61, a machine I had wanted so badly that I wandered the electronic stalls of Singapore in hopes of scoring an early model.

The release of the iPhone coincided with the preschool years of my son. I’ve never given him any instructions on how to use an iPhone or an iPad, but his facility and command of its features are always surprising. As he’s grown older and developed an increasingly voracious brain, the iPhone has become an integral part of my parenting life. When he starts a conversation with, “I have a question!” he will surely test my knowledge until he’ll finally suggest, “Dad, let’s look it up on your iPhone.”

My son is growing up in a world where any question, asked at almost any moment, can be answered instantaneously. This is profoundly different than my childhood. This is very different than even 5 years ago.

Steve Jobs was there at the dawn of personal computing, and he became even more inventive and surprising as he grew older. He left our world at the peak of his powers, long after the other geniuses of his era stopped shaping our world. Without Steve Jobs and his vision of mobile computing, our present Internet life would have been in the hands of Nokia and RIM and Blackberry and the early Android initiative. Think back to what those last models looked like before the first iPhone was released. And even now, in death, Steve Jobs has probably delivered another first in my son’s life: the first computer he will speak to regularly. I can’t wait to see what questions he asks.

Mayene de Leon, Sales and Support

I remember being about 2 years old and my parents started allowing me on the Mac SE we had; I was so fascinated with MacDraw! Even if I could only use black and white, it was a much better (and neater) solution for my parents than letting me dip my hands in paint or draw on the walls in permanent marker (which I did anyway).

Meghan Arnold, Communications Manager

Not only did Steve Jobs innovate, but he encouraged and empowered us all to be innovators ourselves. Through intuitive products that even a kid in the pre-internet era could figure out, he’s shaped the communicator I am today.

One of my earliest childhood memories was writing a computer game on our Apple IIE with my dad. He’d been using a Macintosh Plus while back in school for engineering, but the IIE was our family machine. Little nerd that I was, I spotted a programming for kids book at the library and Dad and Idecided to make a go of it so both of us could learn. We both figured out that coding wasn’t for us, but the joy of using the computer to tell a story and communicate interactively stuck.

I soon figured out how to do this using Print Shop. I exhausted our dot matrix printer by creating cards and banners for everything. I demanded the companion for Christmas so I could have access to more fonts. I used the different type and graphic combos to craft stories and exercise my creativity. I’m so glad my parents encouraged this at home, as it helped me excel when I got to use the shiny new Apple and later Mac products at school.

Educational games so easily playable on the IIE and then the GS helped me absorb a ridiculous amount of trivia, as well as sparked curiosity about the world and learning. I rediscovered my love for Macs in the communications programs I enrolled in at college and spent a summer working with one of my professors teaching a new generation of kids how to tell stories via the first edition of iMovie. When I graduated my parents offered to gift me a downpayment on a car or an iBook. Guess which I chose?

As an adult, Apple products have dominated the story of my life. My dream of giving a soundtrack to my daily activities has been achieved through the iPod/iTunes. The app revolution helped me completely reshape my outlook on health and fitness, by making managing my activities fun and intuitive. My iPhone has allowed me to personally and professionally communicate from relaxing in my pajamas on a rainy morning, riding a bus in Milwaukee or huddling outside a Starbucks in Europe.

My parents and I no longer code together or print silly cards for one another, but we communicate daily on our MacBooks, iPhones or iPads. Our family is not so much one of techies, but storytellers. Empowered to easily tell tales both written and visual, our creativity continues to be stirred thanks to the vision set only just before my life began.

Michael Pieracci, First Officer (pictured right, in his Apple t-shirt)

Many things bring happiness to my life. Two of them are Apple and Star Trek. When I watch Star Trek, I wish I was there. Through the years as I’ve used so many Apple computers and devices, I’m always one step closer.

And with everything that Apple has achieved through the years, now everyone benefits more and more with the functional beauty they created and the innovation they inspire every day.

Theresa de la Cruz, Sales and Support

I started as an intern at FontShop in June 2007, the same time the first iPhone was release. A few FontShoppers bought the magical device when it came out and I remember gathering around their desk to watch them unwrap it. Everything was looked at, down to the packaging, and it was crazy wonderful.

One Comment

  1. Posted October 6, 2011 at 5:51 PM | Permalink

    I have had Macs since 1985. It was not until I was in the final stages of writing my book (How to Start a Business: Mac Version) that I became involved with the need to learn about fonts and typography. All I can say is WOW!! Better late than never, right?

    While I may not be at your level, guys, what I have learned has been really fun. I see fonts and letters in signs and print in a whole new light having learned something. Sort of like Steve taking his typography class. Then attending a Letterpress seminar at the Denver Museum one evening I saw who things have progressed.

    I just wish I had the time to learn more. I find that most Mac users, including myself, do not see the beautiful ways fonts can be used in communicating their content to their audience. Having learned about some of the top fonts I have written a few blog posts to my audience to let them know what I never knew, but now cherish.


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