Susan Kare: Microsoft 3.0’s Solitaire

Susan Kare is best known for her work at Apple, but she also created work for Microsoft as well. In 1990, Microsoft 3.0 was released. With the intent of becoming a more personable brand, this version of the software began shipping with smaller games on them. One such game was Solitaire, a game famously known for its ability of persuading people to procrastinate and waste time. Kare designed the first card deck for Solitaire in Microsoft 3.0, a pixellated set that was easily recognizable to people who had never even touched a computer before. 

The work in itself doesn’t seem too impressive from a modern perspective, but when thinking about what it inspired for the future and how playing games on the computer has evolved, it’s pretty awesome to see its humble beginnings. Kare once again deployed her design philosophy to the card set, focusing on smaller grids and small details. Her pixel art was once again very memorable, as well as indicative of what she was attempThe clever reason why Microsoft first put Solitaire on Windows – BGRting to replicate from real life.

Something unique from this project that was vastly different from her previous work was the ability for her to use colors. Technology had progressed in the 7 years since she first began working on the Mac, and now she had more tools at her disposal to create. Solitaire is a game that needs color, at the very least two different ones as another way to differentiate between the different suits of cards. She also designed the backs of the cards, utilizing many different colors outside of the black and red from the suits.


Image Source:

Heisler, Yoni. “The Clever Reason Why Microsoft First Put Solitaire on Windows.” BGR, BGR, 15 Aug. 2015,

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