Susan Kare, the former Apple designer who “gave the Macintosh a smile,” will later this month receive an American Institute of Graphic Arts medal.
Recently announced on AIGA’s website, Kare is being recognized for the “bold and intelligent” icons, user interface graphics and fonts introduced with Apple’s first Macintosh computers.
The honor has been given to other visual arts icons, including Richard Avedon, Paul Rand, and Charles and Ray Eames.
Kare developed a number of icons and interface elements for the original Mac OS, and remnants of her work can still be seen in OS X today.
Kare, working with only a monochrome pallet and tight resource constraints, created a series of whimsical icons designs, which helped give the original Macintosh computer its humanized approach.
To accomplish this task, Kare drew upon her knowledge of mosaics, needlepoint and pointillism in order to create miniature artistic works that fit within the confines of the original Mac’s bitmap graphics.
Kare was first invited to apply for a job through software programmer Andy Hertzfeld, a former high school classmate. Her title was “Macintosh Artist.” While at Apple, she created most of the typefaces and icons used on the original Macintosh, along with much of the marketing materials used to promote the computer. Perhaps her best known works included the “Happy Mac” icon that greeted Mac users on startup, and the Chicago sans-serif typeface.
In a 2014 video, Ms. Kare shared some insight into her early Macintosh designs.
After leaving Apple in 1986, Ms. Kare has designed thousands of icons for numerous clients. She was also called as an expert witness during 2012’s Apple v. Samsung trial.