My favorite Bill story is the combination of all the stories about him that I have, and it tells me that Bill was not only a great designer but also a true gentleman, a man of great taste and imperturbable discernment in all areas of life.
I remember Bill towering above us, not only in the obvious way, although his height was entirely appropriate to his impact on our personal and creative life. His stature as a designer and as a person always gave me a sense of “vantage point” when we were lucky enough to share studio space in San Francisco, a restaurant table in London, a crowded or deserted bar in Tokyo, or simply a common design problem —opportunity, he always said— with him.
At IDEO we called him “Obi-wan” and his always calm demeanor and lovely British accent reminded us of Alec Guinness, too, and always brought a smile to our face even in the greatest of “design emergencies” we got through under his lead. Bill showed us that designers win arguments with more than words and that beauty is the ultimate riposte.