Watch Apple’s ex design guru Jony Ive deliver a moving commencement speech at CCA

Jony Ive, Apple’s former chief of all design across the company, recently delivered a moving virtual commencement speech to the 2021 class of California College of the Arts (CCA).


  • Ive was Apple’s chief of design for 20 years.
  • He helped design some of Apple’s biggest hits.
  • In 2019, he left Apple to form his own design firm.

Ive addresses CCA’s graduating class of 2021

The speech has been filmed by famous fashion photographer Nick Knight in black and white technique, highlighting emotions on Ive’s face as he went on to discuss a range of topics and big ideas. One of the best industrial designers of our time Ive addressed about 23 undergraduate and 11 graduate degree programs across architecture, art, design and writing.

The speech was delivered on May 10, 2021.

One of the segments of his speech discusses coping with the COVID situation:

Everyone is watching this on a screen, including me, which is quite odd. We should be together. We should be able to feel your excitement and pride. We should be able to share in your joy and in your remarkable achievement. I imagine that many of you are with people who love you and are proud of you, and that is what really matters. This gathering of family, friends, teachers and faculty, are all here to celebrate you; the graduating class of 2021.

Ive provided the students with nuggets of knowledge to take home with them and remember long after graduating.

Ive’s nuggets of knowledge

SHOWstudio provided the following excerpt in which the legendary designer talks about the importance of following one’s own inner voice.

Opinions are not ideas, opinions are not as important as ideas, opinions are just opinions. Being curious fuels our appetite to learn and wanting to learn is far more important than being right,” said Ive as he threw down the gauntlet, reinforcing the importance of innovation and urging the next generation of creators to imagine, and bring their imagination to life.

And this:

Reflecting on the significance of art and design in contemporary culture, citing the magnificent consequences of a fiery and creative imagination, Ive also commented that ‘without imagination, without profoundly new thinking, and potent ideas, our practice has no purpose,’ hammering home the idea that through imagination and creativity comes uniqueness and that innovative designs are a way of defying the ordinary and the mundane.

And of course, you get to hear his wonderfully precise British pronunciation of the word “aluminum” (I can still hear his voiceover from Apple’s commercials in my head).

What has Ive been up to?

In the early 1990s, the legendary designer moved from the UK to the US to advance his career in industrial design. Having joined Apple in September 1992, Ive’s design prowess would go unnoticed as the company’s top brass had been grappling with the downturn.

Then Steve Jobs returned to Apple in late 1990s and immediately discovered an introvert designer surrounded by hundreds of foam models of various technology designs.

The two men struck a productive partnership and would go on to become close personal friends. Ive and his team were responsible for Apple’s most iconic products over the years, including the colorful iMac, Mac notebooks, the iPhone, the iPad and more.

Ive remained at Apple until his departure in July 2019. He now advises Apple in terms of industrial design and product development through his own design firm in partnership with fellow designer Marc Newson, called LoveFrom.