Steve Jobs Icon Dispute: Designer Apologizes

No one is saying designer Jonathan Mak ripped off Chris Thornley.

Posted online last week to honor Steve Jobs’ passing, Mak’s evocative image went viral. Groovy ran it here in our Steve Jobs Tribute Image Gallery.
Now it turns out that another designer, Chris Thornley, created this image well before.


Photo Courtesy: Chris Thornley

Photo Courtsey: Jonathan Mak

Mak says he’d done a thorough search before creating the image that made him famous last week. Once thrilled at his instant fame, he now feels “disappointed,” he told The New York Times.

Art experts say it isn’t unusual, in digital media, to dupe design.

Juliette Cezzar, director of the communication design program at Parsons The New School for Design in New York City, told The New York Times it’s become easy to find similar images and that’s a good thing.

So far, Thornley, 40, says he is eager to speak to Mak, and understands.



  1. Steve Krause

    October 13, 2011 at 11:46 am

    I personally prefer the Jonathan Mak design. I think the white on black and the Jobs profile looking down is more vivid and carries more impact following his death….

    • Austin Krause

      October 13, 2011 at 12:00 pm

      Exactly. Thornley’s didn’t go viral, because it simply wasn’t as good.

  2. earl

    October 13, 2011 at 6:58 pm

    silhoutte on thornley’s is almost generic, meanwhile on maks design, ive actually seen a photo of jobs with that exact pose

    the apple logo is white so i do prefer maks design

  3. Ruthie

    October 14, 2011 at 6:25 am

    I prefer Mak’s design, the silhoutte of Jobs in Mak’s design looks like Jobs as opposed to the silhoutte on the Thornley, Jobs looks like an older man.

  4. Steve Krause

    October 14, 2011 at 6:49 am

    It’s a bit smoother isn’t it. Well Done.

  5. Kyra

    October 14, 2011 at 11:53 am

    I think J. Mak’s design is way better. The fact is Thornley is probably a nobody who now wants credit for his mediocre work! That’s just my thought! Congrats Mak!

  6. George

    October 19, 2011 at 1:15 pm

    Chris Thornley hasn’t provided a verifiable proof that he was the first to come up with the idea. Why was it so easy for the press to believe him? Give me a break.

  7. credit

    October 26, 2011 at 10:20 am

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