Mac Nostalgia: A Look Back at Clarus the Dogcow

Discussion in 'Mac Blog Discussion' started by MacRumors, Mar 8, 2019.

  1. MacRumors macrumors bot

    MacRumors

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    [​IMG]


    In a new video shared this week by 512 Pixels, Stephen Hackett looks into the history of Clarus the Dogcow, a bitmapped image designed as part of the Cairo font for use on the Macintosh. While starting as part of a simple font language, Clarus grew to prominence on Mac over the years, becoming a popular part of Apple iconography throughout the 1980s and 1990s.


    As Hackett explains in his video, Clarus was designed by graphic designer Susan Kare in 1983. Kare created the various fonts for the Macintosh's user interface, and one font in particular had a unique set of glyphs and images to represent the alphabet, referred to as a dingbat font. The letter "z" was represented by a small creature that appeared to merge a dog together with a cow.

    Clarus became so endearing to Apple engineers that the Dogcow appeared in various printing programs on Macintosh computers, indicating to users which orientation the paper would be in when it was printed. Eventually, Scott Zimmerman coined the term "Dogcow" in 1987 and Apple employee Mark Harlan named the character Clarus in Technote 31 in the Developer Technical Support documents, to clarify the small animal people were seeing in the printing software.

    [​IMG]
    Images via 512 Pixels


    In the entry called "The Dogcow," Harlan stated, "Dogcows, by their nature, are not all dog, nor are they all cow, but they are a special genetic hybrid. They are rarely seen in the wild. Since dogcows are two dimensional, they will stand facing a viewer "on edge" to avoid being seen."
    Clarus the Dogcow rose to prominence in the early and mid 1990s, thanks to a few videos of the character in early versions of QuickTime. One video shows Clarus riding a merry-go-round, while another has the character spinning in various directions.


    At this time, the appearance of Clarus as an Apple icon really began to take off, with the Dogcow showing up in official Apple documentation about rendering on-screen graphics, mousepads, t-shirts, a brand of beer called "Moof Bräu", and even in the Icon Garden on Apple's Infinite Loop campus.

    As the 1990s ended, so did the height of Clarus the Dogcow. According to Hackett, "While it's hard to pin the Dogcow's decline directly on Steve Jobs, Clarus became harder and harder to spot after his return to Apple. The Icon Garden came down, and Mac OS X used a less-fun image on the Page Setup screen. While Clarus made a brief appearance with OS X's Address Book, it was hardly a comeback. The party, as they say, was over."

    Clarus has made occasional appearances in recent years, with WWDC developers last year receiving a Clarus the Dogcow pin as part of their swag bags.

    Those interested in the history of Clarus the Dogcow should check out the 512 Pixels video and Hackett's History of Clarus the Dogcow.

    Article Link: Mac Nostalgia: A Look Back at Clarus the Dogcow
     
  2. v0lume4 macrumors 68000

    v0lume4

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  3. AngerDanger, Mar 8, 2019
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2019

    AngerDanger macrumors 68040

    AngerDanger

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    It’s a damn shame MacRumors wasn’t around back then; just think of all the complaints we’ve missed about how Apple’s hardware engineers need to focus less on stupid typable pictures, or how the dogcow is a sure sign that Apple is doomed! :(
     
  4. StellarVixen macrumors 68000

    StellarVixen

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    Are those fonts still proprietary or are they now open source?
     
  5. lunarworks macrumors 65816

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    #5
    As computers went from the realm of geeks and nerds to the mainstream through the course of the '90s, a certain degree of silliness and in-humour left the industry too. That's how the progress of technology goes...
     
  6. BelletteRP macrumors newbie

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    #6
    Hi,

    It’s CLARIS NOT CLARUS!

    Ross.
     
  7. StellarVixen macrumors 68000

    StellarVixen

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    #7
    OK, but why do you quote me???
     
  8. KoolAid-Drink macrumors 65816

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    When was this? Does anyone have any screenshots? I'm curious! I'd guess probably in 10.0 or 10.1, or maybe 10.4?
     
  9. MysteriousStain macrumors member

    MysteriousStain

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    #9
    Claris was the subsidiary that produced Apple software applications. Clarus is the Dogcow
     
  10. Doctor Q Administrator

    Doctor Q

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    #10
    Was that a coincidence or was Claris Corp. named after Clarus?
     
  11. ingik macrumors newbie

    ingik

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  12. Mr. Dee macrumors 68000

    Mr. Dee

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  13. BelletteRP macrumors newbie

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    #13
    Claris was Apple’s software division

    ClarisWorks is now iWork Apps.
     
  14. JoeCassara macrumors newbie

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    Clarus was named after Claris. See: http://www.storybytes.com/view-moof/articles/mim.html
    --- Post Merged, Mar 8, 2019 ---
    To be supplanted with more silliness and generally accessible humor:

    https://emojipedia.org/animoji/
     
  15. JetTester macrumors regular

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    I never noticed Clarus, but boy did I love the Talking Moose!
     
  16. thisisnotmyname macrumors 68000

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    I had always thought it was about that old midwestern computer manufacture that went out of business (can't remember the name of it but they had cow stuff).
     
  17. MacManiac1 macrumors regular

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    #17
    Fantastic. I have seen that before but had forgotten how funny it was.
     
  18. Reason077 macrumors 68020

    Reason077

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    MOOF!
    --- Post Merged, Mar 8, 2019 ---
    Gateway?
     
  19. sfobear macrumors newbie

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    Gateway... never understood the branding. It was like they went to the Palo Alto "western theme" Fry's Electronics and said, here, this will work. :) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gateway,_Inc.
     
  20. Breaking Good macrumors 65816

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  21. Pakaku macrumors 68020

    Pakaku

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    Turns out emojis were older than people thought...
     
  22. cosmichobo macrumors 6502

    cosmichobo

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    I can remember in 1991 when I was looking at buying my first computer, and a friend persuading me to go Mac (it wasn't a hard sell - I'd already fallen for them after meeting a Mac Classic a year earlier). He gave me a grand tour of his Mac Plus, which included pointing out absurdities like "Moof", and various easter eggs, like the brickles game. (Was that System 6??)

    I think Clarus added a lot of character to the Mac, along with the other things that just were "fun".
     
  23. usarioclave macrumors 65816

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  24. AngstyKylo macrumors member

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    #24
    I started with System 7 and Mac OS did have that underlying charm and endearing quality.
     
  25. SuperMatt macrumors 6502a

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