You may not recognize Susan Kare’s name, but you’d almost certainly recognize her work. Kare is responsible for some of the most famous icons in computing history, including the once-ubiquitous smiley Macintosh, the original Windows solitaire icon, and the clover-like command symbol still used on Mac keyboards today. Her latest work, pixel-perfect as ever, arrives in a slightly different venue: the social network app Path.
For $2, Path users can download "Iconic Bites," a pack of 24 Kare-designed "stickers"—the oversize emoji stand-ins that Path introduced earlier this year. In the app, stickers are intended as a fun way to ease the burden of smartphone communication; a sentiment that might take 12 words, or four combined emoji, can be summed up with one of Path’s supersize digital stamps.
That type of visual efficiency is right up Kare’s alley. The challenge of designing icons today is the same as it’s always been, she told Wired recently: "You aim to create an image that’s a visual shorthand for a concept. If you do your job well, that image becomes meaningful as a symbol—something easy to recognize and remember."
For Path, she created stickers for 24 food items, each rendered in colorful, chunky pixels. "I designed the stickers of iconic food in a limited grid, hoping they can be useful literally (want to get coffee?) and creatively as symbols (e.g. You’re the cream in my coffee) and add some visual shorthand and humor to messages," she explains. "As someone whose car has more than a few stickers, I know they can be a fun way to communicate."