The idea of bitmap graphics is simple—images made of bits of information, spatially arranged on a grid. In the 1980s, the lower resolution of screens made nearly all digital graphics bitmaps, and no designer embodies the style more than Susan Kare, creator of Apple’s first icons.
Now product design lead at Pinterest, Kare has turned her graphic style into a new collection of bitmap-styled housewares for Areaware. Technophiles will love to know that the grid-patterned textiles were all woven on Jacquard looms, the punch-card weaving machines that inspired 19th-century computing wiz Charles Babbage and eventually led to punch-card computers.
“I’ve always been fascinated by the many versions of ‘bitmaps’–images made on a regular grid–in the history of art: mosaics, needlepoint, beading, woven patterns, etc.,” Kare told Co.Design. “Designing these textile patterns was very similar to monochrome work I’ve done in the past. The original design process was virtually identical to that of developing patterns for the screen, but it took seeing some woven prototypes to make decisions about scale and color.”
Kare’s line features patterns of waves, dots, drops, and squares across a range of goods including tea towels, napkins, placemats, and coasters.