The Apple icons you see today have surprisingly ancient roots

Sarah Todd for Quartz:

In the early 1980s, Apple asked a young artist named Susan Kare to design some graphics for its forthcoming personal computer, the Macintosh. Kare had never worked in the tech industry and didn’t have any experience with computers. But she had a background in a variety of art forms, from mosaics to needlepoint, and a PhD from New York University, having written her dissertation on the use of caricature in sculpture. As it turned out, this diversity of experience was exactly what Apple needed.

Kare’s artistic background made her well-equipped to aid in Steve Jobs’ ambition to create the world’s first friendly computer. She was accustomed to finding inspiration in everything from hieroglyphs to street signs, and by bringing a diverse range of influences to the Mac, she made the brave new digital world feel decidedly familiar.

The fact that the Mac had a graphical user interface at all was exciting in its own right. But Kare’s joyful icons made the computer look truly unique…

MacDailyNews Take: Pinterest is lucky to have Susan Kare!

happy Mac icon


  1. Jeez,
    Saying the 80’s are ‘ancient’ is pretty funny. I thought this article was going to be about like 20 BC or something. ‘Dated’ would have been a better headline, IMO.

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