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Mac Finder Icon Evolution: From 1984 thru Yosemite [u]

5 June 2014 1,058 views 4 Comments

The Mac Finder icon hasn't changed much over the years since 1984. Yes, Apple has tweaked it here and there, but…

The Mac Finder icon hasn’t changed much over the years since 1984. Yes, Apple has tweaked it here and there, adding color and softening soft corner. But in essence it’s the same Picaso-esque smiling face(s) Finder icon we’ve loved for so long.

Well, with his OS X 10.10 Yosemite operating system rewrite, Jony Ive and his design team have changed the Finder icon — it’s the most radical makeover in this iconic icon’s nearly 20 year history.

The Mac Finder icon hasn't changed much over the years since 1984. Yes, Apple has tweaked it here and there, but…

However, as you can see above, even Jony’s 2014 reimagining of the Mac Finder icon is hardly radical.

[u] That said the Jony-fied Finder icon has evolved even during the Yosemite beta period. As noted by MacRumor’s Arn, Apple seems to have paired the relatively curvier initial Finder icon to the slightly flatter, crisper version found in Yosemite Gold Master.

OS X Yosemite Gold Master is here and it is a continuation of the company's go steady approach to getting v10.10 out the door

Mac Finder: Definitely Blue, But Borrowed, Too?

The Mac Finder icon hasn't changed much over the years since 1984. Yes, Apple has tweaked it here and there, but…

Perhaps the most radical thing about the Mac Finder? As shown above, some people noticed that Apple’s split-face Mac Finder icon “appears” to be a riff on a Picaso painting.

You know, Steve said Apple was shameless about “stealing” great ideas and Picaso was featured in the company’s Think Different campaign.

Mac Finder: Pre-System 7.5.5

The first use of the Mac Finder split Picaso face was in System 7.5.5. The head-on the Mac happy face originated on the 1984 Mac, but it’s use as the face of the Finder has varied significantly over the years.

Perhaps the best loved pre-OS X version of the Finder was that found in Mac OS 9, with its mouse-centric drop down app menu.

What version of the Finder is your fave? Did you use third-party app switchers, like LiteSwitch, or were you a Finder purist?

Sound off in the comments below…

Image TUAW

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4 Comments »

  • jScottK said:

    You must be “new” to the Mac. The “split-face Mac” icon was introduced in 1997 with Macintosh Operating System 8. So, it’s only 17 years old, not 30.

    Before that, the Finder’s icon was, literally, a little original Mac with a smily face on its screen (the same for the System icon). The splash screen used a different icon as well (a flowing line art image of a Mac and mouse). My time with the Mac started in 1987 with the SE, so I can’t comment the iconography for original OS.

  • frankee g. one said:

    The Picaso Mac face goes back to at least System 7…

    http://www.techrun.in/macos7.html

  • zaxxon4 said:

    It came with the name change from “System” to “Mac OS” that came with 7.6 in 1997. Steve had a 7.6 slightly altered and released as 8, so he could exercise the Mac clone contract exit clause (only allowed licensing of 7.x).

  • frankee g. one said:

    OK, then. The split screen Picaso face first appeared in System 7.5.5 released in Sept 1996.

    https://www.flickr.com/photos/daveward/69888558/

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