A Minor Design Mystery

A Minor Design Mystery

Vespa Apple I was visiting a company in the Boston area last Tuesday, and happened to walk by this awesome Vespa scooter accessorized with an Apple Sticker. Two stylish icons of design, separated by some 40 years of technology. Yet, they both somehow draw from the same pool of associations.

This was quite a mystery until I found this photo on Flickr, showing Steve Jobs (with Apple hardware design deity Steve Wozniak on the right) wearing his trademark turtleneck at age 21. Steve Jobs Steve JobsJobs still seems to favor turtlenecks today. So the chain of association goes something like this:

Apple Computer is connected to…

Steve Jobs who wears…

Turtlenecks which were favored by…

The Mod Scenesters who rode…

Vespa Scooters

Mystery solved! I have my “hip” sister to thank for that, because she’s the one who told me about the whole scooter thing in the first place. In celebration, we must all watch The Lambretta Twist and smile! Beep beep! :-)


  1. lee 18 years ago

    Have a look at the design work and life of Eva Zeisel. She is said to have influenced more than three generations of product designers in the 20th century. A reaction to modernism’s coldness, her work had elegance, grace and a fun personality. She had a very long career and chances are, if a product has that aspect that you identified with both Apple and Vespa, the designer was heavily influenced by Zeisel.

    I wish I could say that I drew this connection myself, but I read a great article about her on the web that talked about her influence on industrial design in general and Apple in particular. She’s got a site at EvaZeisel.org. I adore her.

  2. lee 18 years ago

    ULP! Correction! My mistake. She’s still going strong! Check out this NPR Story about her and her wonderful career.

  3. lee 18 years ago

    Oh, and you can see from many of her photos that she favors turtlenecks as well.

  4. Senia 18 years ago

    Lee, so glad you pointed out Eva Zeisel.  From your link, I’ve looked at her work online – just incredible!  Thank you.

  5. nicole kern 15 years ago

    haha that’s actually MY vespa. I just sold it a few months ago… but I just bought a new one, apple sticker and all. : )

  6. Dave Seah 15 years ago

    Nicole: How did you ever find this post? :-) What kind of Vespa did ya get? I got a knock-off Chinese version of something to put around on since writing this post.