The (Xerox Star Icon) World According to Norm Cox
The Star workstation, officially known as the Xerox 8010 Information System, was introduced by Xerox Corporation in 1981. It was the first commercial system to incorporate various technologies that today have become commonplace in personal computers, including a bitmapped display, a window-based graphical user interface, icons, folders, mouse, Ethernet networking, file servers, print servers and e-mail.
Theory and Research in HCI Blog:
Norm Cox was the visual designer for the Xerox “Star” in the late ‘70s. The Star was the first product to include a graphical user interface, as we know it. Norm created the original bitmaps for the Star’s icons. To the best of my knowledge, Norm was the first designer to draw the document icon with the corner turned down, the folder icon, the printer icon, and so many others. Stop for a minute and consider the impact those bitmaps have had on our lives and our work. Norm’s background was in art/design/architecture. He’s described those first attempts at using early paint programs as being like trying to draw with a rock on the end of your pencil. And yet he was able to distill the essence of the desktop metaphor into 16x16 pixels in renderings so simple and clear that they have truly become iconic in the broadest sense of the word.
See also: Digibarn: Xerox Star 8010 Interfaces, high quality polaroids (1981)