Former Apple Design Chief Jony Ive Shares His 12 Favorite Tools in the Industry

Former Apple design chief Jony Ive, who still works with Apple on products, has unveiled his 12 must-have design tools to create, mark, measure and carry every day.


The list appears in a special issue of Financial times‘How to Spend It’ magazine (with paywall), of which Ive is guest editor, and the designer takes the opportunity to focus on his obsession with ‘making’.

  • Torque Wrench – Snap-On Adjustable Torque Wrench, £455
  • Tonearm – Linn titanium Ekos SE tonearm, $5,645, basilaudio.com
  • Hex Keys – Wiha Color Coded Hex L-Key Set, Starting at $3.69
  • Paper folder — Paper folder, hwebber.co.uk
  • Tape Measure – Hermès Leather in the Pocket Tape Measure, $530
  • Loupe – Vintage brass folding magnifier by Leitz Wetzlar, from the personal collection of Ive
  • Fountain pen — Vintage pen by Montegrappa, from the personal collection of Ive
  • Eraser – Graf Von Faber-Castell Platinum Plated Eraser, £100, jacksonsart.com
  • Etui – Vintage leather pencil case by Visvim, from the personal collection of Ive
  • Protractor – Mitutoyo 6in Universal Bevel Protractor, £264
  • Depth Gauge – Starrett 440Z-3RL Depth Micrometer, $355
    Weather Station – Wempe Navigator II Ship Clock and Weather Station, $1,960

Ive doesn’t explain what makes the list or what specific products they helped him design, but in a separate piece where Ive and fellow LoveFrom designer Marc Newson talk about the equipment in their Cotswolds workshop, he says:

“There is beauty and pleasure in the machines and tools. They are no longer just a means to an end. I think there is an inherent elegance in an effective tool that normally results in a curious beauty.”

Later in the conversation, Ive recalled how Newson helped him through the challenges he faced working on the Apple Watch, and how he “really struggled” with the physical design.

I think our work on the Apple Watch together speaks to a pleasant and effective collaboration during a particularly difficult time. I felt so strongly that there was an important opportunity to create a very personal and useful product that could be worn on the wrist. I spent a lot of time wrestling with the big rationales and fundamental problems of interface, but somehow had assumed that work on the actual object would be fairly straightforward.

When the basic architecture of the idea was defined, I really struggled with the physical design. It was from that place of struggle that I asked you to help. Although it was humiliating for me, I think we came together quickly to the final design. We are proud of the work. I always hope to achieve that sense of inevitability, that simplicity where there doesn’t seem to be a really rational alternative.

Ive co-founded LoveFrom with Newson in 2019 after leaving his position at Apple. At the time, the tech giant said it would remain one of Ive’s most important customers, but what Apple products it has helped design since then is unknown. Apple said Ive was involved in the design of the colorful 24-inch iMac that was released in April, but it’s not clear if that work took place after Ive left the company.

It remains unclear how many employees work for LoveFrom, but Ive recruited at least four of his former Apple colleagues to work with him at the company, including Wan Si, Chris Wilson, Patch Kessler and Jeff Tiller.

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