Holy 30-year misidentification Batman!

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Date: Monday, February 17th, 2014, 16:52
Category: Apple, Fun, History

183px-Portrait_of_Henri_Matisse_1933_May_20I found this to be very interesting since I nearly mentioned it during my epic-length article about the Mac’s 30th Anniversary. Cult of Mac recently uncovered that the original, artistic, “Picasso-like” logo that adorned manuals, ads, and packaging for the original Macintosh, was not inspired by Picasso after all. The art student in me is ashamed of not seeing this. According to John Casado, one of the art directors on the original Macintosh development team, the inspiration for the distinctive logo was actually Henri Matisse, not Pablo Picasso. You can see some of this influence exemplified in works such as Le bonheur de vivre and Le Bateau.

Casado recently emailed Cult of Mac, to elucidate the development of the logo;

“After a few weeks, I came back to the group and made my presentation. In that presentation, I said that the inspiration for the drawing style was Matisse, whom I so admired as an artist. The idea of the graphics being ‘Picasso style’ was, as I remember, a journalist’s description at the time of the launch. I think since no one ever ask me or Tom [Hughes] where the influence came from, it became fact. I never stated it publicly, only when asked during design forums.”

Many other artists at Apple would continue and adapt Casado’s design style for several years, applying it to other Apple programs and advertising, such as the bicycle rider art for the “Wheels for the Mind” education program done by Clement Mok.


Cult of Mac has several other images of the style used over the years in their Picasso Matisse artwork retrospective. Boy, don’t we all feel silly now. With all due respect to Mr. Picaso and his great works, I plan to make sure the proper, accredited influence is used in reference to this iconic artwork from now on. Makes you wonder, if we had known this 14 years earlier, who would have been on the Think Different poster? Still Picasso, Matisse, or would they have both gotten their own poster? Then again, Steve’s inspiration to include Picasso in the campaign may have been for different reasons. What do you think?

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