About a week ago I had the pleasure of having a phone conversation with Jonathan Zufi, the creator of Iconic. Among other things, we discussed Iconic and the very interesting history behind it.
The original idea behind the project was to create a museum of Apple products. The economics of creating a museum are very challenging, and the reach is quite limited. After weighing his options, Jonathan then got the idea of creating the beautiful book we know today.
I was especially impressed by the macro photography. I know from doing watch photography that product photography is quite difficult. Jonathan explained that he went to see a photography professor at a university and asked for his help on the project. Jonathan bought a wide variety of high-end cameras, lenses, and lights. He was able to eliminate shadows by sequencing three lights to flash in sequence with specific time-offsets, and thus achieve the perfect Jony Ive white infinity background.
Jonathan explained that while some had criticized the book for not having every single Mac product variant that ever existed, the difference between two models using the same chassis was often the model sticker. Rather than an exhaustive and redundant encyclopedia of every single variant, he focused more on rare products and prototypes. Indeed, I was surprised to see so many product prototypes that I had never heard of.
Between the nice, heavy paper, the beautiful photography, and the excellently curated selection of products, Iconic is truly the ultimate tribute to Apple products. By making it a book available world-wide, Jonathan reached far more people than he ever would have with a physical museum.