The Sketchbook of Susan Kare, the Artist Who Gave Computing a Human Face
This is a wonderful piece on the iconographer who designed the early icons for Apple. First note: Kare created a lot of these digital symbols on paper—on cheap, simple paper.
Inspired by the collaborative intelligence of her fellow software designers, Kare stayed on at Apple to craft the navigational elements for Mac’s GUI. Because an application for designing icons on screen hadn’t been coded yet, she went to the University Art supply store in Palo Alto and picked up a $2.50 sketchbook so she could begin playing around with forms and ideas. In the pages of this sketchbook, which hardly anyone but Kare has seen before now*, she created the casual prototypes of a new, radically user-friendly face of computing — each square of graph paper representing a pixel on the screen.
Second: she borrowed from everywhere.
Asian art history, the geeky gadgets and toys that festooned her teammates’ cubicles, and the glyphs that Depression-era hobos chalked on walls to point the way to a sympathetic household. The symbol on every Apple command key to this day — a stylized castle seen from above — was commonly used in Swedish campgrounds to denote an interesting sightseeing destination.
More on Kare’s work →
What a fascinating piece of Apple (and computer) history. From a designer perspective, also a great inspiration. Check out the article for more cool images.