For all of our collective talk about Apple’s glory days and the beauty of the original Macintosh, none of us is trading in our Retina displays, solid metal cases, mobile designs and unlimited storage for an antique paperweight with a 9-inch, 512×342 pixel monochrome display and 128 kB of RAM.
That said…reskinning OSX the for a few days sounds like a pleasant way to burn a few office hours before the weekend.
Mac OS (Old School), by designer Ben Vessey, is a GUI homage to the original Mac OS. It’s a set of icons and wallpapers–some replicas (like the trash and all the wallpapers), some reimagined anachronisms (like iMovie)–that you can actually download to reskin your copy of OSX to OSLXXXIV (that’s ‘84…I had to look it up, too).
“I was fed up with the current trend of making icons ‘shiny’ and the overuse of shadows and gradients, so I decided to make my own,” Vessey tells Co.Design. “Initially, I set out to create minimalistic, flat colour icons, but then I figured it would be a really interesting project to design modern icons in the style of Mac OS ’84.”
But the side project quickly became a “labor of love.” Vessey, with a skillset no doubt tailored to contemporary tastes and screens, wasn’t used to creating pixel art.
“Bizarrely, it actually takes longer to design pixelated icons than it does high quality ones,” he writes. “Anything other than a straight, or 45 degree line, becomes particularly challenging, I think the iMovie icon took the longest.”
Interestingly enough, the pixelated aesthetic has actually had a huge resurgence in the indie gaming scene. Titles like Sword & Sworcery EP have distinguished themselves by embracing this retro look–and the same might be said for Minecraft. A few minutes into either game, you realize that the content is no less compelling for it.
In an era of screen technology that makes their pesky pixels invisible at last, their swan song–a series of digital homages by those who remember the old days–will be a beautifully blocky thing to experience. As for Mac OS (Old School), it’s free save for a tweet.