On designing an iconic bomb

Legendary icon designer Susan Kare recently gave a great and amusing talk at EG8.

On her icon set for the original Mac:

"I designed this image [unhappy Macintosh] and this bomb because I was told they would never be seen by anyone! So I thought I could be a little irreverent. But unfortunately, that was not the case.

"The programmers truly thought at the time that they would be deeply hidden. I know that right after the Mac shipped we were in our software area and a call came in fielded through Apple and it was a woman who was using MacWrite, and it had crashed, and she was afraid her computer was going to blow up! So, I felt kinda bad!"

The computer didn't explode. But Kare's icons did.

Instead, the bomb icon and the rest of the set took on lives of their own and can be seen all over the world, including in a subway station in Sweden.

Kare later worked at Microsoft, but as far as I know she didn't design the Blue Screen of Death.

Kare's icons are infamous — I have one of Kare's signed happy Macintosh prints in my office. 

Simplicity is evident in Kare's designs. Her advice: "Just enough detail."