Susan Kare and Burrell Smith Talk Macintosh

The Macintosh recently turned thirty, and surrounding this milestone in the iconic (pardon) machine’s history, several presentation videos and unused promotional commercials featuring the people behind the Mac have come to light. Two in particular stand out to me.

The first features Susan Kare, the artist and graphic designer who joined Apple in 1982 and created all of the Mac’s 32×32 pixel icons, fonts, and…other graphics. The short, unused commercial featuring Kare and software developer Bill Atkinson, courtesy of John Nack on Adobe, shows Kare discussing the Macintosh’s bit-mapped display – a rather unique feature, at the time.

Mac team member Andy Hertzfeld said, of the video:

Here is another unused commercial for Apple’s original Macintosh computer that was produced by Chiat-Day in the fall of 1983. This one features brilliant Macintosh artist Susan Kare, who designed the Mac’s fonts and icons, extolling the virtues of the exciting new medium.

Obviously (you clicked on that link up there, right?) I have a special place in my heart for Susan Kare and her work. And that should let you know how honored I was to receive a Christmas gift from her this past year. (A full story on that, soon.)

The second video I’d like to share is of Burrell Smith, designer of the Macintosh digital board (the motherboard), explaining the operation of the revolutionary computer in rather whimsical terms. Of all of the original Macintosh team, it is Burrell Smith that I most respect for his work. Sadly, I have yet to try a pineapple pizza.

The video was clearly recorded as part of a session involving much of the original Mac team, some of which can be seen in one of the historic Apple videos I placed online a few years back. (See the complete set.) Read more about this genius digital designer in CNET’s recent piece, “Burrell Smith: Macintosh Hardware Wizard.”

I can’t imagine what it must have been like to be there on the front lines, engineering the computer that would make computing accessible to the masses, so long ago. I can’t imagine it, but I try with some frequency.

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