When it comes to their designers, Apple doesn't just care about the quality of the end results; they care about the quality of the individuals producing those results -- and not just from a proficiency standpoint, either. Here in America, it's no secret that excessive weight has become a formidable issue, and it appears Apple is pulling a Michelle Obama by taking this to heart and starting a campaign targeted first at their designers.
Thanks to the design portfolio of one Carl Jeffers, we get a rare, full-glimpse into this internal happening of Apple's which aims to keep designers exercised, posturized, and nourished...ized.
To start, have a look at the following 3 image galleries. The first shows all the items from the new "design + health" kit, while the other two show the "design + health" guide and exercise guide (both included in the kit) in their entirety. Click on each of the three images below to be taken to their respective galleries:
And now with those linked, here are the specifics of what the entire kit contains:
Design + Health Kit Contents
Weighted Mugs: When getting your Thor on with your 150-pound dumbbells isn't an option, try these on for size. Just watch your teeth should you actually decide to drink from them.
Lenticular Mouse Pad: If you lean too far forward, the subtle-yet-demanding message "SIT BACK!!!!" will appear -- sans the bold, increased font size, all-caps, and exclamation marks, of course. And since everyone looks at their mouse pads all the time, I can totally see this correcting posture! *Cough, cough*.
To-do Sticky Notes: Just when you thought your to-do list was done, you look down and realize you wrote said list on one of those dang-blasted Apple sticky notes. Well-played, Apple...
Exercise Guide: This sizable 70-page guide is chock-full of exercises you can perform right there in your office. Short of the exercises that make use of the weighted mugs, these can essentially be done by anyone, anywhere. Bye-bye, gym membership!
"Design + Health" Guide: Learn how to look like a beautifully-designed font with this clever guide that combines design principles with health principles. By eating a little bit of rabbit food like lettuce, carrots, and everywhere like such as, you'll be a light sans-serif font in no time!
Spiffy list of items, huh? If you looked at the kit's gallery, you will have also noticed a few posters. Those are apparently posted/to be posted throughout Apple's campus and are not included within the actual kit itself. Those posters go to show that this is indeed an internal campaign and not simply a collection of kits to be distributed to designers. To quote the project's mission statement as per Jeffers' portfolio:
We all know that many designers live life in the fast lane, seeking quick solutions and eating fast food, but all is not lost. Apple have decided to create a package encouraging designers to be healthier in their work place. The package addresses bad habits, poor posture, general health, and exercise.
Personally, I thought most people lived in the fast lane these days, but perhaps starting with just the designer demographic is merely the beginning of an overall initiative to get all employees in tip-top shape. After all, it's not like Apple doesn't have the funds to allocate towards something like this, what with the billions of dollars they have.
What is unclear at this point is if these kits have been distributed yet. If so, I would be curious to find out if they're just sitting under designers' desks collecting dust, or if they're actually being utilized. If the latter, I think it would be nifty if Apple created an avenue for people to track their progress, show results, and/or give a testimony based on results achieved via usage of the "design + health" kit.
After having a good look through the entirety of the kit, it appears to be a much more crafted and refined version of the information we mere mortals can find on Apple's ergonomics section of their Web site. If you have never seen it, you may find some useful information contained throughout it; though as I noted, the contents of this kit appear to take much of the information there and expand upon it significantly.
Some people have Xboxs all over campus (Microsoft) and others have their own insane rooms and hidden clubs (Google), but Apple has health and exercise kits. I'm going to take a wild guess that the former two harbor far more appeal, but true to form, Apple has once again decided to... wait for it... wait for it... think different.
It certainly is a thoughtful initiative, but there will surely be an uncomfortable designer or ten if/when these kits get handed out. Then again, maybe my perception on this is completely wrong and Apple will leave it up to designers to make the first move and pick them up. At that, will the kits cost money or will they be made available for free? Are there any Apple designers out there who care to share their opinion on this?
At the end of the day, the question is if Apple's "design + health" kit will actually achieve significant reach and create a positive impact in the lives of designers within their company who utilize them. While that sounds like a great outcome, I think the more important question here is, "will it blend?"