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Famed Mac Icon Designer Says iOS 7 Icons Are a 'Good Direction'

happy_mac_iconSince its unveiling at the Worldwide Developers Conference keynote, Apple's new user interface for iOS 7 has proven somewhat controversial with pundits and fans debating whether the direction is a good or bad one. Earlier this week, it was reported that Jony Ive had put Apple's marketing team in charge of the look and color palette for the iOS 7 icons, bringing new blood and a fresh perspective to the operating system.

Network World spoke to original Macintosh icon designer Susan Kare and was able to get her thoughts on the new design:
Generally a good direction--am a fan of simple, meaningful symbols that fill a space, such as Music and Weather. It's better -- more iconic, less illustrative.
Kare's thoughts somewhat echo Jony Ive's comments made during the iOS 7 introduction video, in which he noted that simplicity, clarity and efficiency are some of the goals behind iOS 7.

Kare created many of the original interface elements for the Apple Macintosh in the mid-1980s, including the Chicago sans-serif typeface and the "Happy Mac" symbol that greeted early Mac users at startup. She now works as an independent artist.

Related roundup: iOS 7

Top Rated Comments

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Posted: 16 months ago
Famed mac icon designer is wrong.
Rating: 24 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago
I'm glad somebody with experience finally expressed what I feel.

It amazes me how everybody is so ******* sure of themselves when it comes to design. Like their opinion is the de facto standard for beauty in the world. Get over yourselves. Design is hard. It's also something that one gets better at as one does it more. This is Apple's first stab at a different direction and I think too, that they are going in a cool direction.

To call something downright "ugly" based on your personal taste is bold and usually pretty arrogant, just saying.
Rating: 20 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago
The general concept/artistic direction isn't bad per se, I think it's the execution that's lacking.

I'm all for clean-looking, simple icons, as I think most of us are, the problem is more with the weird color palette, exaggerated gradients with an inconsistent direction and general lack of consistency between the complexity of shapes, the level of flatness and use (or not) of metaphors.

I think it's a good thing Apple has reacted and justified the current icons, it means they are "fixing" things as we speak. In fact, the internal build Apple had when they released the first beta was more advanced than what developers are using today.

The new icons on Apple's website are defenitely better exectuted while keeping the same original design language. I want to see more of that:

It's still far from perfect but changes are made on the right path.
Rating: 15 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago

Famed mac icon designer is wrong.

Un-famous poster is also wrong.

Opinions on design cannot be right or wrong.
Rating: 15 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago

To call something downright "ugly" based on your personal taste is bold and usually pretty arrogant, just saying.

Or you know, personal opinion.

Replace the word ugly with beautiful and read your post again.

Rating: 14 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago
I think it's definitely the right direction. Kare seemed like she does still have some reservations, but definitely likes the direction they've begun. And that's definitely how I feel too.

I think we're going to see much better updates to iOS from now on. I don't know why, just a feeling. But I mean, they seemed so much more happier up there than with any other presentation since Jobs last took the stage. It's like they were no longer confined to something. They seemed to now have a real sense of where they want to take it, more of a vision for the future.

I really like how much more "alive" the OS seems now. One of the biggest things I felt with iOS was that it felt very static and stiff. While using it every day, and especially where there was heavy skeumorphism, I found myself wanting to use it in a way that seemed like it would/should work in that way, but did not. It felt very confined. For example, you HAVE to press the "back" button to go back. But a swipe makes so much sense, and after some apps started to have that kind of gesturing, I really started to want it in the OS as well and wondered why they never did that.

So even if there's a few crappy icons, I'm really excited about the future that iOS 7 is ushering in.

Time will tell of course, but under Forstal, things seemed to be going very slowly. Now I feel like things will be going faster, a focus on more important features, more gestures, and slowly perhaps even more openness.
Rating: 9 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago

This was a last ditch effort to eradicate any trace of Forstall

"Absolutely no virtual cows were harmed in the making of this interface." -- Craig Frederighi
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago
Personally, I quite like the new semi-stripped down look of the icons. I think it reflects exactly what makes Apple work - simplicity. While the more detailed, or illustrative, look of today's icon designs is generally pleasing, there is nothing particularly holy about it, or the look. Agreed, good direction.
Rating: 8 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago
Right direction, wrong road.
Rating: 7 Votes
Posted: 16 months ago
Change always hurts.

People hated the original shift from OS 9 to OS X, but in hindsight the look was much better, and continued to improve from there. As will iOS 7: what we're seeing now is just 7 months old and already looks amazing. Don't lose sleep over small details yet.

And beyond the look, it has great new features, and tons of new stuff behind the scenes for developers to be making great apps with.

I don't mind the new icons. Looking between the old and the new is a bit jarring! Good.
Rating: 6 Votes

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