Jony Ive unveils his top 12 tools for ‘making’


Want to be like Jony Ive? Here's about $10,000 worth of tools to carry with you every day.
Want to be like Jony Ive? Here's about $10,000 worth of tools to carry with you every day.
Photo: Apple

Former Apple design chief Jony Ive recently served as a guest editor for the UK’s Financial Times. In the magazine’s “How to Spend It” issue, he lists a dozen tools he finds indispensable for “making.”

More specifically, these are his top picks “for making, for marking, for measuring, and carrying with you every day.”

But don’t break your neck craning to see if he included any Apple items, or even computing products. He didn’t.

Jony Ive’s top 12 tools for ‘making’

As an FT guest editor, Ive detailed the dozen tools he calls his favorites, with precious little other explanation. They range from $37 hex key set to a record player tonearm priced at $5,645.

It’s all part of the magazine’s “How to Spend It” issue. Describing it as an “issue about making,” Ive talks with designers and craftspeople in addition to listing his own favorite tools.

“Perhaps predictably, this has become rather a personal issue of ‘How to Spend It’ as I have gathered together many of the people, objects, and places that I love,” he wrote.

While the list seems to represent a variety of tools Ive may use regularly, it’s not clear if they’re sorted in any order. The magazine simply said he selected items “for making, for marking, for measuring, and carrying with you every day.”

Top 12 tools

  1. Torque wrench, $562 from UK firm Snap-On
  2. Linn titanium Ekos SE tonearm, $5,645 from Basil Audio
  3. Color-coded hex L-Key set, from $3.69 from Wiha
  4. Paper folder for about $20 from the UK’s H. Webber
  5. Hermes leather In the Pocket measuring tape, $530
  6. Vintage brass folding loupe from Ive’s collection
  7. Montegrappa vintage fountain pen
  8. Graf Von Faber-Castell platinum-plated eraser, $100 from Jackson’s Art
  9. Vintage leather pencil case by visvim
  10. Mitutoyo 6in universal bevel protractor, $326
  11. Starrett 440Z-3RL depth gauge micrometer, $355
  12. Wempe Navigator II ship’s clock and weather station, $1,960

Ive on the beauty of tools

Ive said nothing about the tools. However, in a separate article in the magazine, he and fellow LoveFrom design firm cofounder Marc Newsom talk about favorite gear and discuss the ways in which tools should be more than mere implements we use to get a job done.

“There’s a beauty and a joy in the machines and tools,” Ive said. “They are no longer solely a means to an end. I think there’s an inherent elegance in an effective tool that normally results in a curious beauty.”

And he added, “there was a time when we were able and motivated to maintain and look after products. Beyond just buying something, we were caring for it, which is obviously better than recycling.”

Struggle with Apple Watch’s physical design

Ive and Newsom founded LoveFrom in 2019 after Ive departed Apple. In the article, he relayed how much Newsom helped him in his struggles to design Apple Watch:

I do think our work on the Apple Watch together speaks to a joyful and effective collaboration at a particularly difficult time. I had 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 founding ideas and the fundamental issues of interface but had somehow assumed that the 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. While it was humbling for me, I think we got to the final design quickly together. We are proud of the work. I always hope to achieve that sense of inevitability, that simplicity where there doesn’t really appear to be a rational alternative.


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