A Brief History Of The Command Key

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"Command Key", courtesy of Abelardo Gonzalez

I came across an article today about Susan Kare called “The Woman Behind Apple’s First Icons“. The article talks about how this traditional artist made the leap to pixel art to create many of the icons that still grace our Macs to this day, most notably, the Command Key.

Her concept for the “command” key mimicked the Saint Hannes cross, which was originally the symbol for a “place of interest” in 1950s Finland, became a traffic sign in Scandinavia, and, later, was used in Sweden to indicate an interesting feature or attraction in a campground. After Jobs had an outburst over the profligation of the apple symbol, Kare had leafed through a “comprehensive international symbol dictionary” to find this new alternative. To this day, it graces the keyboards of Apple’s computers.

I found it interesting to learn where that iconic symbol came from since it’s something I use every day.

However, she didn’t just work for Apple, she was also the designed many of the icons found in early Windows Control Panel, the icon for Notepad and even Solitaire.

It’s a good article and worth the read.

Photo Credit: “Command Key“, courtesy of Abelardo Gonzalez via Creative Commons.