Susan Kare – The Apple Icon
Although our next pioneer briefly worked for Microsoft, Susan Kare is best known for her work with Bill Gate’s nemesis, Steve Jobs.
Kare followed dreams of a career in the fine arts to San Francisco. A chance encounter with an old high school friend landed her an interview with Apple. Steve Jobs, inspired by Xerox’s graphical user interface (GUI), was on the hunt for an artist who could design Macintosh’s icons. She got the job. “The morale is to have confidence in your skill mix,” she later said. “Because I certainly didn’t have a computer background.”
Using a pad of graph paper, Kare designed icons that were simple, elegant, and playful. The original designs were just 32 x 32 pixels. Kare is also responsible for developing the command (“Apple”) key as a stylized castle seen from above.
As part of her Apple work, Kare created the typeface Chicago, used in the first four generations of the iPod. To keep the lettering smooth and seamless, all lines were purposefully made horizontal, vertical, or on a 45-degree angle. That sort of attention to detail has continued to define Apple to this day.
Next Up: Carol Shaw (click here or below)