The Script of Screen | Macintosh logos,
the Finger Stroke and the iDesign Environments

The Script of Screen | Macintosh and the iPad

iPad, iPhone, Air or Paper: drawing words like music

Calligraphy, Steve Jobs and the Macintosh

When I was working with Steve Jobs, the first job was drawing for, and with, the Macintosh.
“Can you draw with this — a mouse?” I tried, and it wasn’t easy. This, the late 70s, early 80s. There were other times, in the spanning of time. I’ve written (Steve Jobs and calligraphy, the love of type and our mutual beginning backgrounds) about that, the idea of using technology to draw, from mouse to Wacom tablet, iPad and plastic cursor marking tools.

But the key is the finger – the rhythmic touch of the finger on steamed glass. The finger, in a way, is merely the forethought of drafting tools. And drawing calligraphy with arm, in big sweeping swoops of gesture, or tinier micro compressions of hand musculature in tiny calligraphic work (or any form of drawing,) the finger is the reaching device, the digit of drafting. The swirl is very much like music — and conductors have been aligned in performance with live calligraphic art.

Drawing for Steve Jobs was one on another — one stroke, built to another overlay, and another. So in writing “Mac, Macintosh, M, Apple” it was playing to that calligraphic threading of mind, eye, hand and motion, coupled with meaning.

The mystery of meaning is deepest yet — find a message that’s hidden in a message; and scripted “Macintosh” suggests a facility of artfulness that lies at the heat and heart of Apple. Everything speaks to the creative impulse; and the artist that lies in all of us.

Friend and writer, Tim Appelo, now a writer at Hollywood Reporter built a deeper story, about Jobs’ connection at Reed College. You can read about it here. Those earlier learnings for me spoke of the logo as a quintessential expression of brand, story, meaning and power. Heart, fullness — designed. It was there, as well as in other places, that I experimented in memorial meditation on the swing and drift of the sequence of characters that makes up the mind of Apple presence — holistically.

This time, in celebration of the transitioning of decades since my first encounters with Steve, working with an iPad, instead of a pad of paper, or large cut sheets of glossy stock — heavily weighted and slick, drawn with raven black ink, Japanese fudé — classical brush tools of sumi-ye.

The Script of Screen | Macintosh and the iPad

Now pixels form the stroke of mind and meaning.
And the story lives onwards.

The Script of Screen | Macintosh and the iPad