iOS 7 - logical analysis of icon mania

Discussion in 'iOS 7' started by cleo1, Jul 26, 2013.

  1. cleo1 macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2013
    #1
    There are two possible reasons we hear so much complaining but have yet to see anyone offer up an improved set of icons. All the suggested 'improvements' thus far have been measurably inferior to Apple's offering, so, either
    A. Apple's design wins by elimination, because though imperfect (like anything), there are actually not better designers out there, or
    B. Only the bad designers have had the hubris and lack of taste to think improvement is needed—the good designers have chosen to sit this one out because they see nothing objectionable in the original design.
     
  2. AngerDanger, Jul 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013

    AngerDanger macrumors 68030

    AngerDanger

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    #2
    Or C. Not enough people have seen the icons developed by Louie Mantia, who used to be a designer at Apple.

    [​IMG]
     
  3. jtfolden macrumors 6502

    jtfolden

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    #3
    Not crazy about those at all, really. I prefer the icons in iOS 7.
     
  4. cleo1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #4
    I've seen those and they are the nicest set—not superior; perhaps close to equal, imo. I've seen yours too and judging by the mildness of the tweaks, I'd peg you more as a 'good designer who sat this one out' and basically likes the current icons.
     
  5. AngerDanger macrumors 68030

    AngerDanger

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    #5
    Hmm, you put me in quite the situation, here; either I agree or I imply that I'm not a good designer. What to do, what to do… :)

    On a serious note, I like Mantia's a lot more than Apples, but most of the currents work. They just need minor tweaks, and a couple need complete redesigns.

    For example, Voice Memos has an odd aliasing effect when the home screen zooms into view. I'm surprised they used that icon.
     
  6. cleo1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #6
    I was actually noticing that yesterday, wondering if it was deliberate. I find the effect rather pleasurable.
     
  7. notrack macrumors 6502

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    Feb 19, 2012
    #7
    It could be that people are used to (maybe spoiled of) excellent design by Apple and these icons aren't percieved as such.

    I think they had too much workload for the given timeframe that they couldn't invest enough time to make them awesome. I can't really believe that they are convinced that this is the best they can do.
     
  8. cleo1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #8
    I remember a similar controversy when the new-style $100 bills came out. "Monopoly money" was the most common description. Looks normal now, right? We need to be careful not to mistake nostalgia for goodness, and unfamiliarity for badness.
     
  9. Gogurt48 macrumors 6502a

    Gogurt48

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    #9
    I enjoy threads like this, because I think it's fun when people try to apply logical analysis to subjects like taste and aesthetics, which by their very nature are immune to such analysis. So let's dive right in.

    For me, your analysis runs into trouble right at the beginning, with the first premise:

    I disagree with your premise that no one has yet offered up an improved set of icons. On the contrary, lots of people have offered up improved sets of icons. You may think they're inferior to Apple's, but that has no more objective meaning than the fact that I think they're superior.

    "Measurably inferior"? Really? How, pray tell, does one measure the prettiness of an icon? Degrees Fahrenheit? Cubic liters?

    Here a false premise leads to a false conclusion. Apple's design does not win by elimination, because there are in fact better designs out there. (I assume you meant to say "designs" not "designers.") And even if there weren't, that doesn't prove that Apple's designs are pretty.

    Or, both good and bad designers have had a crack at improving Apple's icons. Some people (you) prefer Apple's designs, while others (me) prefer some of the alternatives.

    Logically, that's really all you can say about it. :)
     
  10. notrack, Jul 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013

    notrack macrumors 6502

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    #10
    Absolutely agree with that. On the other hand, we shouldn't mistake 'getting used to' as confimation for goodness.

    New things can easily trigger discomfort because they take away what we have had. But they can also trigger joy/excitement when we feel that we are moving on to something nice. (And we would be willing to trade the old for the new.)
     
  11. cleo1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #11
    Since you're so academic, please provide a link or citation (or both) to these 'improved sets of icons' you disagree with the nonexistence of.

    As far as measurability, let's start with the reactions to the various sets within our own MR forums. The vociferous opposition to the stock iOS 7 icons within these forums is legendary. However, we have yet to see a collective reaction within said forums to any of the alternative sets which could be described as anything close to favorable.
     
  12. AngerDanger macrumors 68030

    AngerDanger

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    #12
    Here's something cool: Save the image below to your desktop, open it in some viewer, move the window around, and zoom in and out on it (especially if you have a trackpad). I don't know why, but I think aliasing is neat, too. It just isn't good in iconography.

    [​IMG]
     
  13. Gogurt48 macrumors 6502a

    Gogurt48

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    Jun 17, 2013
    #13
    Here are six:

    [​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG][​IMG]

    I think that each of these is superior to Apple's, on the whole.

    I'm sorry, but I don't understand what that has to do with your assertion that the alternative icons sets are "measurably inferior" to Apple's. Could you clarify?
     
  14. iapplelove macrumors 68030

    iapplelove

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    #14
    I have been using ios7 beta since the keynote. I can honestly say I forgot about the icons
     
  15. cleo1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2013
    #15
    That looks just like my Mac Plus, circa 1987! System 6, 1MB (yes, 1MB) of RAM. Great memories.

    ----------

    Sure. The greater the # of individuals in a sample pool, the more reliably the law of averages kicks in. My sample pool, though admittedly small (MR forums commentariat) is bigger than your sample size of one, hence more reliable.
    http://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Reproducibility
     
  16. Casiotone macrumors 6502a

    Casiotone

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    Oct 12, 2008
    #16
    Maybe it's because I'm used to the real iOS 7 icons, but I feel that there's a lot of wasted space in those mockup icons. The symbols in the middle of the icons look tiny.
     
  17. Gogurt48 macrumors 6502a

    Gogurt48

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    #17
    So, when you say that the alternative icon sets are "measurably inferior" to Apple's, what you mean is that you think more people would prefer Apple's? Okay. You might be right. You might not. I guess we'd have to take a poll to find out.

    Either way, though, I think what threw me is that I don't necessarily equate "popular" with "superior." I would still think some of the alternative icons are better than Apple's, even if I were the only one who thought so. It's all a matter of taste, and I'd never say you were "wrong" for preferring Apple's designs.
     
  18. cleo1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    #18
    I know my 'measurably inferior' comment may have been ambiguous, but I have since clarified my position—I merely wish to collect data, not contribute to it. And you're right about conducting a poll—we haven't done one in a while. Perhaps you should initiate the thread?
     
  19. Gogurt48 macrumors 6502a

    Gogurt48

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    #19
    I'd be interested in such a poll, but anticipating a firestorm of criticism for starting "another icon thread," I think I'll pass.
     
  20. AngerDanger macrumors 68030

    AngerDanger

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    #20
    Here's an icon I don't think anybody would mind seeing in iOS 7:

    [​IMG]

    On second thought, the kerning could be better and the gradient could be bolder.
     
  21. kmj2318, Jul 26, 2013
    Last edited: Jul 26, 2013

    kmj2318 macrumors 68000

    kmj2318

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    #21
    The silliest thing I've read about the icons is Neven Mrgan's article that the grid is "wrong." He tells us that the circle is too close to the edge of the icon, and shows how with more spacing it looks better:

    [​IMG]

    Sure, at first it looked too big, but now, the one on the far right looks weird to me. It's really strange to me to see a designer say things like something looks inherently wrong. The human mind adjust's itself to pretty much anything, very few things in the world are objective, especially aesthetics. Plus, all of the redesigns floating around have an expectedness and sameness to them. Designing things to make them look "right" is flawed and destined to get lost in the noise (like all these redesigns) because your concept of what you think is "right" has been programmed into you by what you're currently being exposed to.

    Nobody is bothered by the spacing of the clock, even though that follows the grid. Know why? It's because we're already used to it. The clock since the beginning had it's circle blown out to the edges, and we're all fine with it because it's what we become accustom to. Neven Mrgan even said that the clock looks ok because if it was a physical object it would look similar to that. So he's saying that the gird isn't wrong in this case, but is wrong in others :confused:. Jony Ive says "design is learning how to see." This means learning to see things for what they are, instead of letting your biases about what is "right" get in the way.
     
  22. Rogifan macrumors P6

    Rogifan

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    Nov 14, 2011
    #22
    A lot of these icon redesigns remind me of Windows 8. If Apple hadn't made the app icons bigger they might look better. What was the reason for increasing their size?
     
  23. cleo1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2013
    #23
    To force devs to update quickly or suffer blurred icons. Smart thinking if you ask me.
     
  24. kmj2318 macrumors 68000

    kmj2318

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    #24
    Haha maybe.

    What I think the actual purpose of the larger icons is for the precision of the grid system. The icons are 120 x 120, meaning that they're base 12. 12 is a great number to use because it is divisible by many numbers (2, 3, 4, 6), so making a complex grid under a base 12 system is more feasible. Not that you couldn't just use the same grid on the 114 x 114 icons, but I think the grid was based on the duodecimal system, so maybe they just wanted to remain true.
     
  25. cleo1 thread starter macrumors regular

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    Jul 16, 2013
    #25
    Good point. Same reason 12 tones per octave is ideal for musical harmony.
     

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