Susan Kare Apple Macintosh OS icon sketchbook 1982

  • Not on view

Kare designed the graphic user interface icons for Apple during the early years of the company. Her process is documented in graph-paper sketchbooks. Using one square to equal one pixel, Kare produced icons for various functions the computer user might undertake (for example, a pair of scissors symbolized the cutting of text, and a trash bin, the deletion of files). The pictograms were designed to be intuitive and understandable by Apple users across the globe. At the same time that Kare mined history and visual culture for existing icons that could be appropriated—from wristwatches (to mark the passing of time) to globe bombs (to indicate a system failure)—she created a visual language unique to the original Mac OS.

Gallery label from Never Alone: Video Games and Other Interactive Design, September 10, 2022–July 16, 2023
Bound sketchbook, ink and felt-tipped pen on paper
7 1/8 x 6 1/2" (18.1 x 16.5 cm)
Gift of the designer, jointly owned by the Museum of Modern Art, New York and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art
Object number
© 2024 Susan Kare. Used by permission.
Architecture and Design

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