to get into apple, what does one need


what does a designer need to have to make it to apple. what would a competent candidate have in his portfoli.what skills what kinda projects. Last, which school??? does school matter?

Apple simply doesn’t hire into ID but once in a blue moon, and they are so picky you wouldn’t believe it. It’s a VERY small and tight knit group, they never advertise, and they have the pick of the litter. Besides that, you should think twice about being in a group that is directly under the constant watchful eye of Steve Jobs.

In summary, chances of hiring are incredibly rare.

The typical ID student or practitioner has literally no chance. Apple typically hires people with very diverse skills on top of ID: engineering background is a big win, especially mechanical engineering. The ID’ers couple together and work closely with product designers (at Apple, PD = mechanical/EE/manufacturing engineers).

They hire cult of personality superstars with engineering backgrounds… If you went to Royal College of Art or Art Center for ID, then graduated from Stanford’s PD program, worked in the industry for an Apple coveted competitor, you might have a shot… Maybe. That is, if someone on the current ID staff died and a position opened up.

True - yet not so true.

Apple hired Emily Carr grad Eugene Wang straight out of school in 1999. I believe he has been there ever since. While a great guy and above average student - Euge had no engineering background or professional design experience prior to starting at Apple. (He did do his grad project completely on a mac and had a mentor at Apple - couldn’t have hurt)

A bit of insight can be found here:

I think it takes guts to even think about applying there these days without significant “design chops” and experience. I can only imagine the number of resume’s they must receive daily.

so would that mean apple is one of the toughest companies to get? What other companies or organisations in pd would be so difficult. Can so0meone come up with a list.

further Views on the erlier question, however, are invited.


my friend was hired last year. (soon after graduation.)
all I can say is that you have to be really SPECIAL.
my friend who did not have much experience… was just like us , students
with hopes, had this unique style as a designer.
He really didn’t have much experience nor did he have crazy 3d skills or engineering backgrounds…
But, he had what we call an unique style of his own that made him stand out… I can’t quite describe… but he had something going on…

…i am sure this is true…most places are looking for that something ‘unique’ in the designers they hire…you have to know what that quality is you possess, which makes you unique and express it in your resume, 'folio and interviews…otherwise you are just another designer looking for work…the glasses are likely not it.

Just out of interest, does anyone know what software the Apple indutrial designers use ?

I’m assuming not any of the PC based packages, but I could be wrong ?

…a british accent and a black turtleneck also is necesary.

I was under the impression Apple used Studio Tools:

Old article:

Little more recent:

I imagine they still use it today…doubtfully on an Intel Mac.

While I respect Apple, I’d have to add that anyone who seeks especially to work for Apple as well as any number of other well-represented-by-ID corporations, has to be a bit of a follower instead of a leader imo.

I’d personally rather go to a non-ID corporation and create a department from scratch than go into such a well-established place and bathe in the light of their success. Yes, there are advantages and there would be much to learn, but I’d rather fight the fight than seal myself inside a comfortable coccoon. If Apple called today, I’d respectfully decline (and I’ve done that will other, well-known companies).

Perhaps we need more leaders and independents in ID and fewer people in awe of personalities. Do your thing where ever you are. Follow your instincts, not some cult of personality.

I completely agree with this!

The time to have worked at Apple was when Jobs came back in and set the design group free. Ask yourself why Apple needs another designer? Are you hoping to change their direction? Or are you simply interested in learning how they do it so that you can apply the design language?

My advice is to find and create the next Apple, Whirlpool, Nissan Design, IDEO or Samsung.

I see what you are saying, but I think the fight you want to fight is pretty hard one to tackle as a designer- personally i’d rather be designing in an environment that respects the work I do and lets me grow/expirement(not apple necessarily) than spend my time trying to convince executives to respect design. Personal feeling- if you are good at championing design and prefer the challenge of fighting to dethrone marketing and get a company to value design, the more power to you, we need more people like that.

I’ve never attempted to get execs to respect design. If they respect us, the designers, then the design will follow. But that means also respecting them and the business. It’s not all about ID. Understanding that and being respectful of the limitations that a business imposes (even while pushing those limitations) is all I’ve ever done.

More importantly though, even if I were starting out, I’d prefer a small place that would give me room to breathe. At some places the ego’s interfere with the kind of experimentation you say you want. Just wait til you have some idea and a senior ID or manager takes the idea, twists it, and tells you to do what THEY want. Happens all the time.

Also agree with finding a brand that needs help and direction as opposed to filling a cubicle at an organisation that already has it figured out - although I certainly would not put Whirlpool or Samsung in remotely the same list as Apple or even Nissan. Sure, Whirlpool has a nice washer, but their portfolio is still FULL of absolute dogs and generic boxes. And Samsung? Still waiting for someone, anyone, to look at this company critically, ignore the hype, and show me the design icons they are consistently producing. Can you name even one? Two? And looking deeper, how about an analysis of Samsung’s corporate and design group structure - anything special there? Anything differentiating and sustainable at a fundamental level?

Back to Apple, I think the only way working there makes sense is if you are in your first few years of design career - if you can get that gig, it would be a major resume/career booster when you move onto those brands that need help and believe they can buy some Apple magic by hiring you. Of course, when you get there, they will be shocked and dismayed when you tell them that Apple design works not because they necessarily have some secret aesthetic crystal ball or better designers than anyone else, but because they have a structure and culture all the way up the CEO that understands and values design. It also helps that Apple is a relatively small volume, niche brand (apart from the iPod). These are traits that your new company will not want to copy, and therefore, will never create any Apple-like magic. But at least you’ve secured an inflated salary and picked up some paychecks before your new company figures this out, haven’t you?

On the subject of paychecks - how is Apple salary? Any ideas? With the CVs/resumes pouring in daily, perhaps they can get away with low or mediocre pay scales there? Do you think your average Apple designer can actually afford to live in the Bay area - I mean, save some money, one day buy a house within 10 miles of work, support a small family? I doubt it.

i wonder what would happen when jobs eventually leaves apple.

I bet you will take over and use only cad…making their products more Iranian Friendly.

yeah i’ll probably do that with a new apple long range nuclear missle launcher

Well done to the designer’s at Apple for creating a whole new aesthetic.

if you weren’t involved in developing this look from scratch -why would you want to be involved now? THere is nothing left to do… Its a plug in. The fact that Apple now has a “style” takes all of the fun and challenge out of desiging the products.

Obvuously the products are beutiful… but as a designer. Wouldn’t you get tired of desinging a new “smaller” i-pod. Still white. Still a rectangle. Still beautiful.

Who cares waht software Apple uses. I could hand draft most of their products Colour studies? Who cares… it’s going to be white or maybe…oooohhh. Black! Think Different!

Don’t get me wrong- I love the work. But now that it’s been done - would be bored out of my skull working there.

But I think Apple being Apple will be developing new styles and new uses for technology all the time…plus, not all the stuff that gets designed and prototypes gets seen by the public…I imagine they have a lot of fun.

Look at the ipod Mini…not at all in keeping with the tradition aesthetic of the original iPod. The new range of iBooks expected soon…could be a whole new ball game. The leadership in the use of materials and form that Apple has shown since the original iMac hasn’t all been white plastic. Things will change again I’m sure…and the industrial designers will be exploring every possible avenue.