When Steve Jobs resigned from Apple in August, 7,000 miles away in Hong Kong, graphic design student Jonathan Mak Long, "shocked" by the CEO's departure, did what he knew best: He created a design to honor the Apple co-founder.
The 19-year-old posted the image, the Apple logo with the bite changed to a profile of Jobs, to his Tumblr blog. Known as Jonathan Mak, he initially received about 80 notes on the image. Then word came this past Wednesday that Jobs had died, after a long battle with cancer. Mak reposted the homage, which this time caught fire on the Web, attracting an almost immediate response of 10,000 likes and reblogs on his Tumblr site and surging to 180,000 -- in one day. Comments included "awesome invention like steve jobs." One thought it should be the "new Apple logo." Another wanted to "use it as a tattoo."
Speaking in fluent English (which he said he learned from watching the TV show "Friends"), the Polytechnic University School of Design student told Yahoo! in a Skype interview that the image was a tribute to Jobs's contributions to the world: "I wanted to commemorate him. He's such an integral part of Apple. I thought it would be fitting to include him in the Apple logo." Long added, "With Jobs gone, Apple is literally missing a piece."
The artist was inspired by the uncompromising personality of the creative genius. He said of Jobs: "He had this vision that he was not afraid to commit to. That's how he broke new ground. His commitment and belief in himself is what inspire me." The designer's vision for his own work is an aesthetic that joins a simple graphic element with a richer meaning, giving the viewer, as he put it, an "a-ha moment."
The cyber tribute that became a hit, and along with attracting media attention, the logo found itself as the preferred profile pic on Ashton Kutcher's Twitter account and on merchandise featured on eBay. While the design prodigy has received several job offers, but he hasn't acted on them; "I'm still a student," he said. The artist has a portfolio of minimalist design, but don't call him an Apple fanboy. "I just got my first MacBook Pro a year ago," he admitted -- and he still doesn't own an iPhone.
Asked whether he'd gotten any response from Apple, Mak said he had emailed CEO Tim Cook but so far hadn't heard back.