Creating vs. Editing

Design is often less about creating and more about editing.

Steve Jobs was a great editor. His most popular products — the Apple computer, the iPod, the iPhone, the iPad — weren’t themselves innovations. Rather, they were improvements on existing ideas, run through Jobs’ editorial mind.

It’s been suggested that Jony Ive and Steve Jobs worked so well together because Ive would create and Jobs would edit. In the vacuum left after Jobs’ death, Jony Ive has been able to push through designs unedited, leading to things like iOS 7 that some of us believe to be missteps.

In the world of startups and software, we speak much more frequently about creating than editing. For someone like me who’s better at refining existing work, it can get discouraging. Let’s remember that design is about both sides of the coin. Every inventor needs an editor; every editor needs an inventor.

So here’s to the editors. The tweakers. The checks and balances. The ones who see existing things differently. While some may see them as inhibiting, we see genius. Because the people who are crazy enough to think they can find the diamond in the rough, are the ones who do.