Museum Exhibit Features Original Hand-Drawn Sketches of Mac Icons

Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain
Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain / Wikimedia Commons // Public Domain

Before the graphic of a frowning computer with pixelated Xs for eyes appeared on the screen of an unfortunate Mac owner for the first time, the image started as a drawing in a notebook. Susan Kare is the designer responsible for creating the icons for Apple’s graphical user interface (GUI) in 1983. Some of her original sketches are now on display at the Design Museum in London as part of an exhibit titled "California: Designing Freedom," It’s Nice That reports.

Prior to the release of the original Macintosh, users had to type in code to get their computers to complete the simplest tasks. Accessibility was the main goal for the GUI. Kare’s designs were limited to black and white pixels, so she planned them out on graph paper using a marker or pen. The result was a universal code that helped make computers a fixture in the home.

Kare’s original pictographs include the pair of scissors used for the "cut" command, the pointing finger for "paste," the paintbrush for MacPaint, the floppy disk for "save," and the trash bin used to delete files. She’s since worked as a designer for Microsoft and Facebook, but the visuals she produced for Apple remain her most influential work. Visitors to the Design Museum can see select pages from her sketchbook from now through October 15.

[h/t It’s Nice That]