Ghost of OS Past

I was excited to receive the link to Software Library’s emulation of the Mac OS 7.0.1. Having grown up with a Macintosh in my house, I was met with a flood of memories, of MacPaint, Orion and Shufflepuck. After spending some time reminiscing about my early experiences with the Mac system, it occurred to me: how has this (prolonged) exposure to a particular operating system/style of interface affected my aesthetic sense, the way I approach image making and design? I’ve never really thought about it this way or articulated the potential repercussions of my relationship with a particular computer interface. Granted, the system has changed over the years — introduction of color, expanded resolution, speed, efficiency, complexity, etc. — but the core principles of the design remain, for all intents and purposes, the same.

I imagine that many if not all of us who use this system on a daily basis have had these methods of human/computer interaction drilled into our subconscious. It is difficult to imagine an alternative! Literally, I have known nothing other than this my entire conscious life. Not only does this have consequences on smaller aesthetic/style choices during ideation and prototyping, but with my entire conception of what it means to interact with a computer. To move forward, we must break away from these conceptions/assumptions but in doing so we may need to break away from our own instincts and memories, a task easier said than done.