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Classic Mac Icons Archive Bought By MOMA 61

mikejuk writes Susan Kare is the artist responsible for many of the classic Mac icons that are universally recognized. Now her impact as a pioneering and influential computer iconographer has been recognized by the Museum of Modern Art in New York. She designed all of her early icons on graph paper, with one square representing each pixel. Now this archive of sketches has been acquired by MoMA, jointly with San Francisco's Museum of Modern Art, and has gone on show as part of a new exhibition, This is for Everyone: Design Experiments For The Common Good. So now you can think of the smiling Mac, the pointing finger and scissors as high art.
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Classic Mac Icons Archive Bought By MOMA

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  • Those are the icons I most associate with the Mac. High art, maybe not, but definitely the icons I faced the most frequently.
    • Never mind the beach ball, what about Clarus?
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Brett Buck ( 811747 )

      I have used Macs since they existed, and I never once saw the Sad Mac, aside from looking it up, or seeing it in documentation. The spinning beach ball was also exceptionally rare until OS X came along, now you do see that one occasionally.

          On "IBM machines" AKA DOS machines , I have seen xxx failed, Abort, Retry, Fail? almost incessantly. Not artistic, not particular memorable, aside from being drilled into one's head like "Polly Want a Cracker?" is for parrots.

      • My favorite to this day is still "Error: keyboard not found. Press F1 to continue."

        • by doccus ( 2020662 )
          I also used Macs from way back, when they were way way expensive, and yet the keyboards I had never had any F1- F12 keys.. You would think for what they charged they could have included that, along with a second mouse button. Also, I absolutely , still to this day, just love Susan's icons. I can't explain why they project such a friendly aura, but they do.
      • I used to see the sad Mac icon about twice a day on average. Early 90's trying to use Photoshop. We would restart at least twice during the day.
      • by dissy ( 172727 )

        I have used Macs since they existed, and I never once saw the Sad Mac, aside from looking it up, or seeing it in documentation.

        I've seen it twice (outside of documentation, as you say)
        Once while learning how to code finder extensions in pascal - poorly.
        Another when the MB wasn't in a case and I accidentally dropped a couple HD screws out of my hand directly onto the MB.

        Obviously both cases were my own doing and 'my fault', but I remember being pretty proud at the time seeing something so rare most people didn't know what that icon even meant.

        The spinning beach ball was also exceptionally rare until OS X came along, now you do see that one occasionally.

        I don't remember OS 9 too well, but wasn't the spinning beach ball a new introduction of OS

      • have used Macs since they existed, and I never once saw the Sad Mac

        Boy I sure did. And it is a sad moment. I also once knocked the back end of the CRT while adding RAM to a "toaster" Mac, and the hissing sound of air rushing into it was a *really* saddening sound.

      • How far back does your Mac use go? I got my first Mac when I was 13 (an LC III) in 1993. I saw the sad Mac icon more than zero times but not a heck of a lot of times. The spinning black-and-white icon, though, I saw all the freaking time. As far as I know, it wasn't called a Beach Ball until it was colorized with Mac OS X.

    • The SPOD is from NeXTSTep. I remember seeing it often when using the old magnesium cube.

    • by GrahamCox ( 741991 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @08:34PM (#49211935) Homepage
      The original Mac didn't have a spinning anything. Animated cursors were something you had to write the code for yourself if you wanted them - involving messy and tricky vertical refresh interrupt handlers if I recall correctly. Later versions of the classic Mac added colour cursors, but no standard support for animation (though there was a standard resource type for a series of cursor animation frames, just nothing as standard that understood it - rather odd really, I'm guessing that was a MacApp (Apple's Application framework) thing).

      Mac OS X introduced the "spinning pizza of death", I think inherited from NeXTSTEP. But a lot of people misunderstand what it is. It's not an indication of a crash, it's an indication that the main run loop has been executing user code for longer than a preset interval. In other words, the run loop has to be entered often enough to stop the system automatically showing the SPOD - a bit like how a watchdog works in embedded systems. So if your code takes too long or hangs, you see the SPOD.
      • by doccus ( 2020662 )
        The progress cursor.. the watch, was animated... the hands went round and round until the process was completed, or the mac froze up.
      • The circular black-and-white precursor to today's colorized Beach Ball cursor wasn't animated? In my memory it was but gosh maybe my memory is wrong. The watch definitely had spinning hands, though.

  • I never owned a Mac, classic or otherwise. I did, however, own an Apple //e. The Mac icons were so well designed, I found some Macintosh sales literature and was able to duplicate the icons using some Apple // drawing programs. The most notable was the Trash Can.

    These icons deserve to be preserved.
    • I never owned a Mac, classic or otherwise. I did, however, own an Apple //e. The Mac icons were so well designed, I found some Macintosh sales literature and was able to duplicate the icons using some Apple // drawing programs. The most notable was the Trash Can. These icons deserve to be preserved.

      Having owned various Apples of the ][ andMac variety it is also interesting to see how the icons have evolved. The various folder designs have been interesting over the years.

    • I really, really liked the Fat Trash icon. I like it better than any of the trash icons since. I liked that it was not a realistic metaphor yet it perfectly expressed the trash status.

  • Last I heard they were warehoused by Steve.
  • by Scoth ( 879800 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @03:55PM (#49210907)

    Fun Fact: Susan Kare also designed many of the icons used in early versions of OS/2, as well as Windows 3.0. Basically the entirety of popular early GUI computing was designed by her.

    So also did the graphic design of Solitaire that was included with Windows through XP (though I think XP redesigned the card backs), so her work might be the most seen graphic design in computing history.

    • by binarylarry ( 1338699 ) on Sunday March 08, 2015 @05:00PM (#49211169)

      She also did the icons for the Nautilus file manager!

    • by antdude ( 79039 )

      Is she still doing graphic works today? I don't like the newer stuff these days. :(

      • Me neither but that's because today's icons are high-res. Kare was working with 32x32 squares -- or even smaller! -- and 256 colors -- or even fewer! Remember the 8x8 small icons? That would be ridiculous today.

        Still, old pixelated icons scream "computer" to me. The high-res ones we have today don't have the same panache.

        • by antdude ( 79039 )

          Exactly. The icons today are boring. I really miss the 3D looking, aqua effects, etc. Today's are like flat and boring!

    • by sdavid ( 556770 )
      So much of the visual language we use every day was designed by her it's hard to overestimate her cultural importance.
  • Especially the new look here which mimicks old [neowin.net] in the latest build.

  • and anyhow, I am more interested i the design and standardization of street signs.

  • AFAIK she also designed the OS/2 Warp icons. !!
  • by 6Yankee ( 597075 ) on Monday March 09, 2015 @04:51AM (#49213451)

    Everyone knows they were handed down from on high to The Steve on stone tab^WiPads.

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