Robert Brunner: The design giant who hired Jony Ive

Design Better

06-06-2023 • 53分

Show notes: Our guest today, Robert Brunner, once joked that his tombstone will say: “Here lies the guy who hired Jonathan Ive.” But there’s much more to Robert than that. He did indeed build out the industrial design team at Apple in the 90’s, but he’s also been a partner at Pentagram Design, and was the chief designer of Beats by Dr. Dre, a brand that sold to Apple for $3 billion dollars. We talk with Robert about the arc of his career, what it takes to run a successful design consulting business, and why great products are more about ideas than objects. Before we get to the episode, we’ve got something new to share. We just released the first issue of our monthly newsletter. It includes a guest post from April Luelling, former Senior Product Design Recruiter and Program Manager at Meta, who shares tips on working with recruiters as well as current job openings in the design world. We also share highlights from some of our recent interviews, and links to interesting tools and summer reads.  You can subscribe for free to the newsletter, and also get the podcast a week early, at Thanks for subscribing, and for listening. Bio Robert Brunner is an industrial design leader with broad experience in consumer electronics, personal computers, communications, and appliance industries. He was the co-founder of Lunar Design and former Director of Industrial Design at Apple Computer. Robert was also a Partner at Pentagram Design in San Francisco, after which he formed Ammunition LLC, a product design and brand development group in San Francisco, CA. He co-authored the book Do you matter? How great design will make people love your company, published by Financial Times Press. This episode is brought to you by: Fable: Build inclusive products: Methodical Coffee: Roasted, blended, brewed, served and perfected by verified coffee nerds: (use code "designbetter" for 10% off of your order). Cruise: Cruise is a team of researchers and designers creating a self-driving transportation service for the people and cities we love. Visit to learn more about how you can help design the future of transportation! Freehand by InVision: The intelligent whiteboard that's half the price of Miro and Mural: Help us make the show even better by taking a short survey: If you're interested in sponsoring the show, please contact us at: If you'd like to submit a guest idea, please contact us at: Links Rethinking Everyday Things - Robert Brunner keynote How Design Drives The World's Best Companies w/ Robert Brunner | Chase Jarvis LIVE Do You Matter? Robert Brunner, Stewart Emery, Russ Hall