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Jul 21, 2021

The Picasso Way

In 1945, Pablo Picasso created "The Bull," a series of 11 lithographs that took a month to create. In the early stages, you can see the bull is very realistic – details show the bull with a snout and hooves, but with each successive print, the details disappear and the bull's form is deconstructed and simplified. The last image is completely abstract and contains only a curved stick figure that still resembles a bull.

Picasso's goal was to "find the spirit of the beast."

In one of Apple's internal training, the 11 lithographs are shown to employees as an example of how the company communicates and builds products. The idea is that a great work of art is created by eliminating non-essential details and striving for simplicity – find the essence of what you are creating. Design helps you express and communicate this essence. 

In a class at the company’s internal training program, an Apple University instructor compared the 11 lithographs of Picasso’s “The Bull” to the way Apple builds its smartphones and other devices. The idea: Apple designers strive for simplicity just as Picasso eliminated details to create a great work of art. Simplicity has always been at the core of Apple and you can see this iterative approach when you look at the history of their product design.