TYPE DESIGN INFORMATION PAGE last updated on Tue Jun 18 03:05:14 EDT 2024






Susan Kare

Born in 1954 in Ithaca, NY, Susan designed some of the original bitmap fonts for the original Mac in 1983-1984, including Chicago, New York, Monaco (download), FiveDots, Geneva, Cairo (dingbat font), LosAngeles, Athens and San Francisco (1984, ransom note font), while being a Creative Director at Apple (1982-1985). For Danger Research, she created the bitmap fonts Hamilton 5, Hamilton 6, Waverley 5, Waverley 6, Bryant 7 (2000). Interview with Cybergrrl. Atomic Media sells these pixel fonts of hers: Kare Five Dots (family), Ramona (script pixel font), Harry, Everett, Kare Six Dots (family), Biology (dings), Kare Dingbats, MiniFood, Ned, Sampler.

MyFonts catalog. Interview.

She explains the choice of names for the original Mac fonts: The first Macintosh font was designed to be a bold system font with no jagged diagonals, and was originally called "Elefont". There were going to be lots of fonts, so we were looking for a set of attractive, related names. Andy Hertzfeld and I had met in high school in suburban Philadelphia, so we started naming the other fonts after stops on the Paoli Local commuter train: Overbrook, Merion, Ardmore, and Rosemont. (Ransom was the only one that broke that convention; it was a font of mismatched letters intended to evoke messages from kidnappers made from cut-out letters). One day Steve Jobs stopped by the software group, as he often did at the end of the day. He frowned as he looked at the font names on a menu. "What are those names?", he asked, and we explained about the Paoli Local. "Well", he said, "cities are OK, but not little cities that nobody's ever heard of. They ought to be WORLD CLASS cities!" So that is how Chicago (Elefont), New York, Geneva, London, San Francisco (ransom note font), Toronto, and Venice (Bill Atkinson's script font) got their names.

Kare is also known for the original set of Mac icons.

The Apple fonts shown below are outline fonts made by Bigelow & Holmes on commission, based on Susan Kare's original pixel fonts. Susan Kare did not design the outline fonts sold by Apple at MyFonts.

Susan Kare
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Type designers ⦿ Type designers ⦿ Pixel/bitmap fonts ⦿ Ransom note fonts ⦿ Dingbats (original) ⦿ Type scene in California ⦿ Type scene in Pennsylvania ⦿ Type scene in New York ⦿ Icon fonts ⦿ Fonts for programming ⦿ Cutout or paper-cut typefaces ⦿

file name: Susan Kare Apple Cairo

file name: Susan Kare Kare Biology

file name: Susan Kare Kare Dingbats

file name: Susan Kare Kare Mini Food

file name: Susan Kare Apple Chicago 2011

file name: Susan Kare Apple Geneva 2011

file name: Susan Kare Geneva 1983 Poster by Kelsey Neveu 2016

file name: Susan Kare Geneva 1983 Poster by Kelsey Neveu 2016b

file name: Susan Kare San Francisco 1984

file name: Susan Kare San Francisco 1984 Poster by Vighnesh Dudani 2019

file name: Susan Kare Original Mac Icons

file name: Susan Kare Apple Monaco 2011

file name: Susan Kare Apple New York 2011

Luc Devroye ⦿ School of Computer Science ⦿ McGill University Montreal, Canada H3A 2K6 ⦿ lucdevroye@gmail.com ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org ⦿ http://luc.devroye.org/fonts.html