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After graduating from New York University with a Ph.D. in fine arts, Susan Kare took a curatorial job at an art museum, and quickly realized she was on the wrong side of the creative equation. In the 80s, she began work at Apple Computer designing fonts, icons, and graphic elements for the nascent Macintosh operating system and applications. Kare subsequently followed Steve Jobs to Next Computer as the tenth employee and Creative Director. She was the founding partner of Susan Kare Design, a graphic design practice in San Francisco in 1989, and since then has designed thousands of icons for hundreds of clients along with many corporate identities and other design projects, from Microsoft’s Solitaire cards to Facebook’s virtual gifts. In 2015, she joined Pinterest and works as a design lead in the Pinterest Design Office. Photo by Norman Seeff.
PRESS | THE WOMAN WHO GAVE MACINTOSH A SMILE
BY ALEXANDRA LANGE
excerpt from The New Yorker
"What Kare lacked in computer experience she made up for in visual knowledge. “Bitmap graphics are like mosaics and needlepoint and other pseudo-digital art forms, all of which I had practiced before going to Apple,” she told an interviewer, in 2000. The command icon, still right there to the left of your space bar, was based on a Swedish campground sign meaning “interesting feature,” pulled from a book of historical symbols. Kare looked to cross-stitch, to mosaics, to hobo signs for inspiration when she got stuck. “Some icons, like the piece of paper, are no problem; but others defy the visual, like ‘Undo.’ ” At one point, there was to be an icon of a copy machine for making a copy of a file, and users would drag and drop a file onto it to copy it, but it was difficult to render a copier at that scale. Kare also tried a cat in a mirror, for copycat. Neither made the cut. She also designed a number of the original Mac fonts, including Geneva, Chicago, and the picture-heavy Cairo, using only a nine-by-seven grid." Continue reading on the Areaware Blog.