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Iconic Icons

As you may or may not know I am a massive fan of Macs. I’ve been using an Apple computer for over 9 years now ever since I had enough of constantly replacing PCs that would either fail or get clogged up with virus or dll errors. Since that day I have never looked back.

Making the switch from PC to Mac is quite an intimidating step especially as people are still quite scared of the dreaded fruit themed computers. People’s usual comments are along the lines of:

“You can’t right click.”
False, you can. Infact, Apple’s Magic Mouse is far far better than any mouse I have ever used.

“I need to use Word, you can’t get Office for Mac.”
Again, False! Microsoft’s Office suite has been available for Mac for as long as I can remember.

Anyway, I’m deviating here. What I love about my Mac is the quick navigation of programs and their visual icons. Each is simply found and is well categorised and easily recognisable as to what it does.

The original interface elements for the Apple Macintosh were created by Susan Kare in the mid 1980s and, although they may have been updated slightly, are still present on today’s Macintosh computers due to their easily recognisable and iconic graphics. Here are some comparisons between Susan Kare’s and todays examples:

Mac Icons

Kare first joined Apple through software programmer Andy Hertzfeld, who she knew from high schoool, and had the title “Macintosh Artist”. She was recently asked about her design influences whilst working at Apple:

“I was so lucky to get to work in the Macintosh group with great colleagues and talented programmers. That experience introduced me to interface design development and how I might be able to contribute as a graphic designer to the overall user experience. It also gave me practice in aiming to communicate big concepts in small spaces.”

During her time designing for Apple she was responsible for most of the typefaces and icons used throughout the original Macintosh and subsequent computers alongside much of the marketing material. However, her most famous works will always be the typeface Chicago Sans and the “Happy Mac” icon that greeted early Mac users when booting up their machines.

That’s a nice claim to fame!


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