Jony Ive reveals his 12 favorite design tools


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As a guest editor for a UK magazine, former Apple design chief Jony Ive detailed the dozen or so tools he deems indispensable, from a vintage leather pencil case to an arm of turntable playback at $5,645.

Jony Ive is the guest editor of a special issue of “How to Spend It” magazine, part of the UK magazine FinancialTimes. Describing it as a “problem in the making”, Ive talks to designers and craftsmen, while detailing his own favorite tools.

“Perhaps predictably,” he wrote in the full magazine, “it’s become more of a personal matter of ‘How to spend it’ as I’ve collected many people, objects and places that I love.”

Some of these design objects and tools are personal items that I have probably used for many years. Where tools are available for purchase now, the magazine includes typical list prices.

It’s not clear if I specifically sorted them in any order. The magazine simply says it’s curated items “to make, mark, measure, and take with you every day.”

  1. Torque wrench, $562 from UK company Snap-On
  2. Linn Titanium Ekos SE Tonearm, $5,645 at Basil Audio
  3. Color-Coded L-Hex Key Set, from $3.69 from Wiha
  4. Paper file of the British H. Webber
  5. Hermès In the Pocket Leather Tape Measure, $530
  6. Vintage brass folding magnifying glass
  7. Vintage Montegrappa fountain pen
  8. Graf Von Faber-Castell Platinum-Plated Eraser, $100 at Jackson’s Art
  9. Vintage leather pencil case by visvim
  10. Mitutoyo 6-inch universal protractor, $326
  11. Starrett 440Z-3RL depth gauge micrometer, $355
  12. Wempe Navigator II ship clock and weather station, $1,960

Top: Linn titanium Ekos SE tonearm, $5,645 (Source: Basil Audio.) Bottom: In the Pocket leather tape measure, $530 (Source: Hermes)

I say nothing at all about any of these tools. But in a separate article in the magazine, he explains that the tools we use are more than just tools to do a job.

“There is beauty and joy in machines and tools,” he says. “They are no longer just a means to an end. I think there is an inherent elegance to an effective tool that normally translates into curious beauty.”

I also lament “that there was a time when we were able and motivated to maintain and care for the products”. He says that “in addition to buying something, we take care of it, which is obviously better than recycling”.


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