Markkula and some others could never quite appreciate Jobs’s obsession with typography. “His knowledge of fonts was remarkable, and he kept insisting on having great ones,” Markkula recalled. “I kept saying, ‘Fonts?!? Don’t we have more important things to do?’” In fact the delightful assortment of Macintosh
fonts, when combined with laser-writer printing and great graphics capabilities, would help launch the desktop publishing industry and be a boon for Apple’s bottom line. It also introduced all sorts of regular folks, ranging
from high school journalists to moms who edited PTA newsletters, to the quirky joy of knowing about fonts, which was once reserved for printers, grizzled editors, and other ink-stained wretches.
The company’s first office, after it moved out of his family garage, was in a small building it shared with a Sony sales office. Sony was famous for its signature style and memorable product designs, so Jobs would drop by to
study the marketing material. “He would come in looking scruffy and fondle the product brochures and point out design features,” said Dan’l Lewin, who
worked there. “Every now and then, he would ask, ‘Can I take this brochure?’” By 1980, he had hired Lewin.
His fondness for the dark, industrial look of Sony receded around June 1981, when he began attending the annual International Design Conference in Aspen. The meeting that year focused on Italian style, and it featured the
architect-designer Mario Bellini, the filmmaker Bernardo Bertolucci, the car maker Sergio Pininfarina, and the Fiat heiress and politician Susanna Agnelli. “I had come to revere the Italian designers, just like
the kid in Breaking
Away reveres the Italian bikers,”
“so it was an amazing inspiration.”