How To Give Your Mac Some Mid-80's Style / by Daniel Ehrman

Black and white icon pack + tweaked window stylings = 2.7GHz of 1980's awesomeness

I've never been a huge Mac fan (sorry, guys). But I've long been obsessed with vintage computers, and I keep a collection of 4 old (1980-1997) Apple computers in storage—hopefully some day on display.

So that's why when I was given my first Macbook Pro at my new job, I couldn't wait to make it feel a little more familiar. Fortunately, I found a great start with Ben Vessey's "Mac OS (Old School)" icon pack.

Unfortunately, most of Ben's work just covers some basic Mac app icons, so I extended the look by adding 15 more "engineery" icons—Eclipse, Android Studio, Emacs, etc.—and by building my own window and menu theme to yield a (nearly) complete Macintosh immersion.

For those of you interested in giving it a shot, here are the complete steps:

1. Initial setup

2. Install the icons

Navigate to the icon pack you downloaded earlier, and drag and drop the desired icons over their respective applications in LiteIcon. Apply changes when done.

3. Update the desktop

  1. Right click the desktop and select Change Desktop Background...
  2. Click the + icon to add the folder you extracted from the zip file.
  3. Click on the only image that appears in the main window, and select Tile as the display mode.

4. Tweak the windows

  1. Open Flavours and click Get More...
  2. Search for "macintosh classic" (without the quotes); double click on the Macintosh Classic B&W theme; and click Apply.
  3. Uncheck Menu Image and Desktop, and click Apply.
  4. You will be prompted to log out to apply your changes. Do as it says.

How do I undo my changes (revert to defaults)?

  1. To revert back to the default icons, open LiteIcon, select the Tools drop-down menu, and click Restore All System Icons...
  2. (Desktop background—no explanation needed)
  3. To restore the default windows theme, simply open Flavours and click the on/off toggle at the top right of the window.

Issues (cosmetic only)

  • Chrome, and potentially some other strange programs, use their own custom window borders, and thus their windows look...funky with the theme. I've kind of learned to deal with it, but I'd be lying if I said it didn't annoy me.
  • The classic stripe look you see in the screenshots is achieved in part by placing a white rectangle in the middle of the window. Unfortunately, there's no way to resize this rectangle to fit the window text, so I picked a size of roughly half of the window width to try to work for about 99% of the use cases. Occasionally though, you may have a window with a really long title that simply can't fit in that white box. To accommodate this, I've set the opacity of the title bar stripes to 50% so that you can still read the whole title. But yes, it will be annoying if/when you come across a long title (hopefully rarely).
  • There are some inconsistencies between the icons (e.g. some circles are drawn slightly different than others). I wasn't as careful as I should've been, but if anyone has any serious interest in using the icons, I'd be more than happy to clean them up for you. Again, I'd be lying if I said this didn't bother me.