Apple has changed up the look and feel of its Mac OS desktop software over the years, but its classic icons remain recognizeable even today.
The woman who created some of the first Mac icons isn’t a graphic designer or a computer engineer — she’s an artist.
Susan Kare, who has done design work for companies such as Microsoft and Facebook following her tenure with Apple, began working with the Cupertino, Calif.-based company in 1982.
During an interview with Priceonomics, Kare shared some sketches of command icons that were found on some of Apple’s earliest Mac computers, including “Sad Mac” and the “bomb” icon for “total system failure.” Most of them are obsolete, but Kare’s icon for the Command key is still found on today’s Apple keyboards.
Here are some sketches from Kare’s old notebook:
This pair of scissors was a symbol for the Cut command.
This finger was later used for the Paste command.
This paintbrush was later used in the app MacPaint.
These are Kare’s early designs for the command Jump.
A design concept for the command Boot.
Kare told Priceonomics that former Apple CEO Steve Jobs was very particular about what he wanted in terms of design:
I learned to never just show Steve something and ask, ‘Do you like this?’ because he’d invariably say no. He wanted you to work on it more and come up with something better. The workaround was to come up with several options and ask him which one he liked.
Kare currently runs her own digital design practice in San Francisco, and her work has been featured in the Museum of Modern Art in New York.
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