Then: Director, Industrial Design (consultant from 1987, full time 1989-1996)
Now: Founding Partner, Ammunition
"When you work at Apple you see how design can really drive a business—and what a difference it can make," says Robert Brunner, who worked across all product lines as the head of Apple's industrial design department. Leaving the company to become a partner in the San Francisco office of the interdisciplinary design consultancy Pentagram, Brunner recently branched out again, to set up his own firm, Ammunition. "The one thing I really missed about Apple," he says, "is that when you're creating products for the company you work for, you're much more involved in the process: You have more control. But when you're consulting, depending on the relationship you have with the CEO, your experience varies." As such, Brunner's own new firm will form strategic partnerships with the specific aim of bringing products to market—such as the Fuego 01 grill, (shown), which Brunner designed as a "campfire for modernists." "This way we can get the design we want into production," says Brunner. "We'll start with a vision and drive it through."