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October 21, 2010 / Kuan

“You can’t see it, but you can feel it.”

Apple’s creative director Alan Dye came to SU last night in the warehouse. He briefly showed his work in Landor, the Big group in NYC, Kate Spade and currently at Apple.

He started with a story when he was in the communication designs programs in School of Visual and Performing Arts, he was enrolled as an illustration major. At a presentation by the communication designs professors about their program in Dye’s sophomore year, he realized that people can actually draw typography as a living. He fell into design ever since.

Luck favors the prepared.

When he worked for Landor and the big Group, projects were throwing around the office. If no one took the job, Alan Dye would. He welcomed every opportunity he could get hands wet, when he was fresh out of college. Of course, he made many mistakes, but those mistakes shaped to who he is now.

Good is in the detail.

Do you know that the edges of the iPhone case were repainted separately? Since the creative team wanted to give iPhone case a black background, tiny white edges will always appear due to technical difficulties. Maybe many consumers will not even notice if there is the slight white edge, but the fact will certainly break the hearts of the Apple creative team. Hence, every iPhone case edges were repainted to black afterward.

You can’t see it, but you can feel it.

That sums up the Apple experience. The creative team works in every single detail to improve the retailing experience in the Apple store. Alan Dye works on store-front, promotions, websites, and everything else that go into the Apple experience. It’s interesting that what Alan Dye describes Apple actually fits himself pretty well too. You can’t see that he’s a designer, but you can feel it.

Alan Dye said he is proud of his work at Kate Spade, where he immersed himself in the complete cycle of a brand experience. From china patterns, to promotional stationary sets, to exterior of the store, Alan Dye and his creative team did everything. Kate Space is the perfect environment, too. The design, presenting Kate Spade, is in the meantime personal to Alan Dye, which is a very different experience to him comparing working with Apple.

At the end of the talk, Alan Dye give out more than 50 screen-printed posters that he designed for his talk for students. It was such a gift, so nice, just like him.

More links about Alan Dye:

Design Observer: Audio Design Matters Archive: Alan Dye

Print: Alan Dye, Apple



Leave a Comment
  1. ajfera / Oct 21 2010 7:24 pm

    Thanks for posting. I was wondering how the evening went and appreciate your thoughtful insight!

  2. ajfera / Oct 21 2010 7:28 pm Here is another Alan Dye reference on the internet.

  3. ajfera / Oct 21 2010 7:30 pm
    another online reference to check out.

  4. Kuan / Oct 27 2010 9:14 am

    It was an amazing talk, and I’m glad you enjoyed my post! Thanks!

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