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The inspiration behind the Apple Finder icon


Just as I mentioned in a previous post, Apple Keyboard inspired by Xerox Star 8010, I’m interested in the inspirations behind the things we use everyday. Take for instance the Finder icon. The Finder icon on your Macintosh was inspired by the loading screen for Apple Mac OS System 7.5.5. In turn, the boot screen was inspired by this image: Susan Kare’s original notification icon for Finder dialogs.

This front and sideways person was displayed as your Mac booted up. You either loved it or hated it depending on how often you had reset the machine that day.

Apple is always regarded as having a fascination for Dieter Rams and functional industrial design from the 50s and 60s. The inspiration for this image goes back a little further.


Recently, I was in a friend’s apartment in New York and saw something that reminded very clearly of Apple’s Finder icon. The poster was for the seminal first Bauhaus exhibition in Weimar.

This specific poster is similar to the first poster and either designed by or styled after Joost Schmidt’s original. The poster incorporates the stylized face icon for the Bauhaus movement, designed by Oskar Schlemmer.


In the image above you can see Schlemmer’s original Bauhaus mark compared with Kare’s dialog notification icon for Apple.

Comments on this entry are closed.

  • David Kopec March 21, 2014, 12:48 pm

    Great connection!