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Origin of Apple’s Mac command key symbols

welcome to detail, a series dedicated to the ubiquitous but often overlooked elements hidden in your favorite products. This Week: Mysterious Symbols on Apple’s Command Keys.

If you’re about 25 years old or older, chances are you haven’t learned how to use a computer with your Mac. If so, you probably haven’t seen the command key (the big button with the pretzel-shaped logo next to the space bar) until you start using computers. The Command key is arguably the most important key on your Mac and is required for nearly all major keyboard shortcuts. But what was the original purpose of this Mac-specific key? More interestingly, why does it look so strange?

The Command key dates back to the early 1980s, and its secret is tied to its original name: the “Apple key.” According to Andy HertzfeldAn American software engineer who helped develop the original Macintosh computer, Key’s original goal was to eliminate the mouse altogether. In combination with other keys, you can operate the machine without touching or holding the mouse. This was a much more common situation before trackpad laptops took over computing.

The current pretzel-shaped design is used in Sweden to indicate campsites on maps.

The name and now iconic symbol of the “Command” key is partly due to the whims of Steve Jobs. In 1984, while developing the drawing app MacDraw, which he released on the Apple Macintosh, Steve Jobs decided that the Apple name and logo were overused, which was diluting the brand. For example, the Apple logo was ubiquitous—on every menu screen, across the keyboard, and of course directly on the Apple key.was the situation Jobs said, “I wasted the Apple logo.”

That decision meant that another logo would also be needed, and that duty fell to Susan Kare, Apple’s resident bitmap artist at the time. Carré, who was tasked with finding a symbol that represented a very abstract notion of ‘command’, led her to the now iconic pretzel-shaped design. This is the shape used to indicate campsites on maps in the Nordic countries. Nearly 30 years later, the symbol still lives on. And why?can you do you think anything good?

Details: here Origin of Apple’s Mac command key symbols

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