We all love stories – the story behind the Apple Mac Command Key has remained with me as a warning as to how I can get lazy in what I do and in the decisions I make. It stays with me. Here is the story.
The Development team tasked with developing the early Mac computers came up with the idea of adding a command key to a standard keyboard. This key if used in combination with other keys provides a shortcut to an array of menu commands.
They needed a symbol for the key and the team understandably defaulted to the now famous Apple logo.When Steve Jobs saw it he was frustrated – he felt the design team had become lazy and that the Apple icon was being overused.
He would not accept their proposal and sent them back to the drawing board – to come up with something better – something more original. The job fell to the graphic designer on the team called Susan Kare.
She searched through countless books of international symbols and then she came across an obscure sign found on campsites in Sweden and other parts of Scandanavia. It is a square with looping corners – like a Bowen knot. It was the symbol used on information boards to indicate a cultural centre or a ‘place of interest’, such as a waterfall or other natural phenomenon.
Steve Jobs was very taken with this idea of a symbol directing users to ‘places of interest’ on the computer keyboard. He accepted the symbol and it has remained a unique feature of Apple keyboards.