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Mac icon designer Susan Kare offers 'Jobs'-related icon portraits

updated 07:00 pm EDT, Thu August 8, 2013

Tie-in with film release also memorializes Apple co-founder

Legendary Macintosh icon designer and member of the original Mac team Susan Kare has issued two new 32x32 icons, each one a "pixel portrait" of either Apple co-founder and former CEO Steve Jobs or his doppelgänger in the new independent biopic Jobs, Ashton Kutcher. The movie tie-in also offers larger icon portraits of the two men available from Kare's website, with the film itself opening in cinemas on August 16. Kare worked for both Apple and NeXT as a creative director throughout the 1980s.

Because of the similarity in looks of Kutcher to Jobs, Kare uses a non-Jobs related view of Kutcher and a change of background to distinguish the TV and movie star from the mercurial Apple co-founder. Despite using very few pixels in the composition, Kare manages to communicate Kutcher's more squinted eyes and firmer jawline, but gives both Jobs and Kutcher the same smile.

Reviews of the upcoming Jobs have been mixed, but most reviews acknowledge that Kutcher works diligently to capture the essence of Jobs' complex character in the film. Most of the criticism has centered around the storytelling shortcuts made to the actual sequence and accuracy of events in order to keep the story moving, as well as the cartoonish caricatures of some of the other characters in the film, including co-founder Steve Wozniak (played by Book of Mormon star Josh Gad).

Longtime technology writer Harry McKracken's review of the film praised Kutcher's performance but called the film overall a "TV movie writ large" and mentioned a number of Apple historical inaccuracies, though he added that the film does a good job of re-creating the 70s and 80s, the timeframe in which the bulk of the movie takes place. True to their word, the film's distributors have labored to create more publicity and buzz for the film after pushing back the original April release date to August, but whether the trailers, online appearances and other promotional stunts can give Apple fans or mainstream audiences a film they can enjoy about Jobs remains to be seen.

Kare is best known for her early pixel artwork that codified many elements of the original Macintosh interface (with icons such as Clarus the Dogcow and the "Happy Mac"), and introduced visual cues that have become industry standards, including the lasso, the paint bucket and the "grabber" hand. She also created three of the original Mac typefaces, all of which are still in wide use today: Chicago, Geneva and the monospaced Monaco. In addition, Kare created memorable icons for Windows, OS/2, Eazel and even Facebook. The large-size prints are signed and numbered by Kare and sell for $99.

by MacNN Staff



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