We had permission to be friendly. They gave a lifeless computer a warmth and personality that lives on in the modern Mac to this day. Eventually Hertzfeld coded an icon editor for the prototype Mac. She produced several exquisite MacPaint drawings for the Macintosh’s glossy user manuals and promotional advertisements, including a Japanese woman combing her hair, a pair of tennis shoes, and gourmet baby food. Hertzfeld needed some images and typefaces for the new Macintosh and asked if Kare would be interested in interviewing for a graphic design job.2 There was only one problem: Kare had never worked in computer graphics and she admittedly “didn't know the first thing about designing a typeface.” Undaunted, Kare went to the Palo Alto public library and checked out a number of books on typography. Steve Jobs decided that there were too many logos in the interface, so Kare was asked to come up with an icon to represent a “feature” instead. She brought “an artist’s sensibility to a world that had been the exclusive domain of engineers and programmers,” and in the process, she says, “I hoped to help counter the stereotypical image of computers as cold and intimidating.”15 With thirty years (and counting) of simple, elegant, and whimsical designs, Kare has made personal computing more appealing for millions of new users. For several summers during high school she interned at the Franklin Institute for designer Harry Loucks, who introduced her to typography and graphic design while she did phototypesettingwith "strips of type for labels in a dark room on a PhotoTypositor". When you take all the detail away, everyone can project themselves on to something simple. If I got some graph paper I could make small images out of the squares and transfer those onto the computer screen.”, “Andy Herzfeld wrote an icon editor and that let you see magnified what you were working on and also as you turned the bits on and off you could see it real size. Behind the scenes of top creative projects. That was part of the brief. The fewer details, the more universal something is. Visitors learn about Susan Kare and design their own icons in the Silicon Valley section of the Places of Invention exhibition. Since then, Kare has spent the last three decades designing user interface elements for many leading software and Internet firms. A MacPaint screenshot featuring Kare’s artistry, 1983. These friendly designs helped new users overcome what Rolling Stone’s Steven Levy called the "FUD principle: the Fear, Uncertainty and Doubt” that had prevented many potential users from purchasing a personal computer.8 Instead, Kare’s work gave the Mac a “visual lexicon that was universally inviting and intuitive” and “set the standard for how computers could appeal to a broad group of nontechnical people.”9, Kare also created a family of new proportional fonts for the Macintosh. Because she didn't attend an artist training school, she built her experience and portfolio by taking many pro-bono graphics jobs such as posters and brochure design in college, holiday cards, and invitations. I thought it was wonderful that after all these years it really is something concrete!”, Get a weekly dose of "behind the scenes" inspiration delivered straight to your inbox, The tool for organizing creative projects. © Norman Seeff. Courtesy of Susan Kare and kareprints.com, Hertzfeld told Kare “to go to the stationery store and get the smallest graph paper I could find and color in the squares to make images. Today marks the 30th anniversary of Apple’s famous “1984” television ad that aired on January 22, 1984 during the third quarter of the Super Bowl XVIII between the Los Angeles Raiders and Washington Redskins. 13 John Brownlee, “Pinterest Hires Mac Design Legend Susan Kare,” Fast Company, 31 July 2015, http://www.fastcodesign.com/3049313/design-moves/pinterest-hires-mac-design-legend-susan-kare, accessed 1 December 2017; John Brownlee, “Q&A: Susan Kare On Why Pinterest Feels Like Apple In The ‘80s,” Fast Company, 19 August 2015, http://www.fastcodesign.com/3050038/design-moves/qa-susan-kare-on-why-pinterest-feels-like-apple-in-the-80s, accessed 1 December 2017. Historian Eric Hintz describes how the “1984” ad and the introduction of the Apple Macintosh were key milestones both in the history of computing and the history of advertising. The image on the right was used in promotional material for MacPaint. That system typeface, later renamed Chicago, provided the textual look for two of Apple's biggest products—the Macintosh and the iPod—for over 20 years.10, Kare would produce several other font sets for the Macintosh. Using a mouse, Kare toggled the bits on and off, and the application generated the hexadecimal code underlying the grid.6 With these simple drafting tools, Kare began to “master a peculiar sort of minimal pointillism” as she turned “tiny dots on and off to craft instantly understandable visual metaphors for computer commands.”7, A selection of Kare’s Macintosh system and application icons, 1983-1984. After her P… “It’s easy to forget how rudimentary the tools were. Her most iconic designs (many of which now hang in the Museum of Modern Art) found the perfect balance between these two extremes. Susan Kare’s icons and fonts for the original Macintosh were revolutionary. 1 Alexandra Lange, “The Woman Who Gave the Macintosh a Smile,” The New Yorker, 19 April 2018, https://www.newyorker.com/culture/cultural-comment/the-woman-who-gave-the-macintosh-a-smile, accessed 30 April 2018. Graphic designer Susan Kare is the “woman who gave the Macintosh a smile.” 1 She is best known for designing the distinctive icons, typefaces, and other graphic elements that gave the Apple Macintosh its characteristic—and widely emulated—look and feel. 3 Quotations from John Brownlee, “What Every Young Designer Should Know, From Legendary Apple Designer Susan Kare,” Fast Company, February 2015, http://www.fastcodesign.com/3038976/what-every-young-designer-should-know-from-legendary-apple-designer-susan-kare, accessed 1 December 2017; Hertzfeld, Revolution in the Valley, xxiii; Pang, “Interview with Susan Kare;” Zachary Crockett, “The Woman Behind Apple’s First Icons,” Priceonomics, 3 April 2014, http://priceonomics.com/the-woman-behind-apples-first-icons/, accessed 1 December 2017. Though Kare had little experience in computing she drew inspiration from her deep knowledge of art history. She had joined Apple in January 1983, and the Macintosh was released with great fanfare in January 1984, accompanied by a 60-second Super Bowl television ad inspired by George Orwell’s dystopian novel, 1984. Susan Kare’s icons and fonts for the original Macintosh were revolutionary. But if you start taking away the holes for the sprockets in the paper, and the knob that turned it, there’s just enough detail that it could have had a longer life as a printer icon.”. They gave a lifeless computer a warmth and personality that lives on in the modern Mac to this day. Over the next three decades, Kare would design user interface elements for many of the leading software and Internet firms, from Microsoft to Oracle to Facebook. Hertzfeld worked at Apple Computer in Cupertino; he had been recruited by co-founder Steve Jobs to serve as the lead software architect for Apple’s latest product, the Macintosh personal computer. “Bitmap graphics are like mosaics and needlepoint and other pseudo-digital art forms, all of which I had practiced before going to Apple,” recalled Kare.

susan kare designs

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