Robert Brunner (US)

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Former Head of Industrial Design, Apple

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Robert played a major role in the evolution of one of the world’s leading brands. (He’s also the man who employed Jonathan Ive.) More recently he’s been responsible for designing ‘beats by dr. dre.’ Robert asks whether your customers would shed any tears if you were gone tomorrow. If not, what needs to change? Passionate about the ideas that make people want to interact with certain objects, he explores how innovation can solve the world’s problems – not always from the obvious angles.


Robert Brunner is a designer and creative director best known for his work at Apple Computers.

After founding Lunar Design just a few years after college in the mid-80s, Robert was employed by Apple’s design team. He was appointed Apple’s Director of Industrial Design by the end of the decade.

At Apple, Robert led the design team on all of the company’s computer products, most notably the PowerBook, laying the foundations for moving computers from the utilitarian to the desirable. This ethos would define Apple and would arguably be responsible for making them into the most powerful brand and technology company in the world. Robert also employed his eventual successor Jonathan Ive (the man who designed the iPod, iPhone and iMac) - apparently on three separate occasions.

After Apple Robert became a partner at Pentagram, the acclaimed brand and design company working with clients including Citibank, United Airlines, Nike, and Dell. He then founded the creative company Ammunition which focuses on the cross-over between product design, branding and user experience.

As well as providing design and packaging for Adobe, Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and many more, Ammunition have effectively reinvented the personal audio market with the acclaimed Beats by Dr Dre headphones and earphones ranges.

Robert believes design is not just something ‘creatives’ do, but something that permeates a business and a brand from top to bottom, via product manufacture and through to the users. He asks difficult questions such as “if you weren’t around tomorrow, would your customers care” and challenges business to embrace risk in order to innovate.

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