Monday, January 28, 2008

Susan Kare

When we were developing what made up Mystery, Sensuality and Intimacy, the three qualities of Lovemarks, icons were high on the Mystery list. I love the way icons are so succinct. Communicating so much with so little, they’re like a rush of blood to the heart. Whether they are representing a sport, like the late New Zealand’s Sir Edmund Hillary or a brand like the Pillsbury Doughboy, these fast paced images infuse our lives with memorable moments. When it comes to creating icons on screen, no one gets close to Susan Kare. I first came across Susan’s work, as many of you probably did, in the trash. I’m talking about Apple’s trash icon. She designed this key icon way back in 1983. And where did Steve Jobs find Susan Kare? As a working curator at the Fine Arts Museum of San Francisco where she went after finishing a PhD on humor in sculpture. That hire is the sort of sideways thinking that has made Apple a design legend. The reason Susan Kare springs to mind right now is that once again she has found herself ahead of the game. My advice? Where Susan goes, follow as fast as you can. Today she is the designer of Facebook gifts. If you have ever been on Facebook (and if you haven’t, whatever your age, at least have a browse), you will know that members can give their friends gifts. These are small icons that range from cute penguins, Prada pumps and balloon dogs, to just about anything you can think of. If you think that supplying cyber gifts is no way to grow rich, think again. Facebook charges a buck for most gifts and has already sold over 20 million. The power of icons. Again.


Piotr Jakubowski said...

I was wondering where I had heard that name before!

She has done a wonderful job spreading the gift-giving love on Facebook. It's fascinating to see how much of an effect sending icons of flowers or teddy bears may have (or handcuffs). Supports the idea that images sometimes speak louder than words.

RJHemus said...

Those images are the absolute bane of my life. Email alerts regarding 'Your friend has given you a present' often interrupt the design mind and disrupt the work flow when the apple icon starts to bounce around like an icon demented. But still, it's fabulous to know where and who these icons have come from. From Apple to Facebook… There's an advertising campaign in there somewhere I'm sure!!