Women of Interest—Susan Kare

Susan Kare is an artist and graphic designer who created many recognizable icons for the Apple Macintosh computer.  Some of Kare’s creations include the Chicago and Geneva typeface, as well as the original Monaco typeface, and the “Happy Mac”, which is the smiling face that opens up when a user turns on their machines.  The Museum of Modern Art in New York City described Susan Kare as “a pioneering and influential computer iconographer,” whose icon designs “communicate their function immediately and memorably, with wit and style.”

Susan Kare was born on February 5, 1954 in Ithaca, NY, and is the sister of Jordin Kare, an aerospace engineer.  She graduated with a B.A. in Art from Mount Holyoke College in 1975 and received her Ph.D from New York University in 1978.  She then moved to San Francisco where she began working for the Fine Arts Museums.  In 1980 Kare began working for Apple Computers and was one of the original members of the design group for the Macintosh.  Eventually, Susan Kare became a Creative Director in Apple Creative Services, working for Tom Suiter, Director of the Organization.

Many of Kare’s pioneering creations are still in use, including the icons of the lasso, the grabber, and the paint bucket, plus many more icons you may recognize.   Her more unforgettable icons include the clock (which shows that the computer is busy), the trash can (for discarding files), and the Mona Lisa face (to let people know the computer in working).  Kare is also responsible for creating the bomb icon, which originally indicated a serious system failure.

In 1986 Kare left Apple to work for NeXT Computer and NeXT Software Company as the creative director.  Cofounded by Steve Jobs, NeXt Computer and NeXt Software Company developed and manufactured computer work stations, mostly for the business market.

Kare worked for Faceook from 2006 to 2010, creating icons for the “Gifts” aspect of Facebook (since shut down).  All profits from this work were donated to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure foundation.  The Museum of Modern Art store in New York City carries Stationary and notebooks featuring Kare’s designs.  She was hired by Pinterest in 2015 as their product design lead and also heads her own graphic design studio at Kare.com

In 2012 Susan Kare was called as an expert witness by Apple, during their patent -infringement trial against Samsung.

Susan Kare has been immensely successful in her career and received the Chrysler Design Award in 2001, and the American Institute of Graphic Arts medal in 2018.

Additional information about Susan Kare can be found at:
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