But whether we accept the idea of a grid or not, here’s the bigger point: no icon designer I’ve asked thinks Ive’s grid is helpful. In that sense, it’swrong. The large circle is too big.
I cannot agree more. When I first saw the new iOS7 icon proportions (forgetting about the colour combinations for now) I immediately felt that the the circles are just way too big and icons look just ‘wrong’.
Given that these icons have been designed by some of the top designers in the industry and under a direct supervision of Jony Ive, I started thinking that perhaps I am missing something. Perhaps Ive has found what’s wrong with icon design in general and discovered a new and better way which looks better, is visually more interesting and will eventually become a new trend. I have seriously entertained that thought for some time, but I am now convinced this is not the case. It feels Ive wanted to support the bold and unusual colour scheme in iOS7 and the overall UI redesign by also dramatically changing the way icons look and that he deliberately went for an unproven, radical and, as it turns out, not very visually pleasing inner-icon grid. Given that iOS is still in beta, Apple has time to do something about it and tweak the icons back to more ‘typical’ proportions. Now, despite this sounds like something they should do (most designers seem to agree with Neven’s assertion above) the real question is if Ive and his team really want to abandon such a dominant element of the new iOS7 UI so early.
I can’t imagine this is the first time Ive hears less than enthusiastic comments about iOS7 icon design. Despite of all the secrecy, there must have been many user trials and testing commissioned by Apple already during the development and testing of iOS7 which means Ive must have deliberetaly decided to keep the icon design unchanged. Ive must be convinced that this design is ‘right’ and that it actually works better than the traditional, proven icon proportions. Apple has already shown that it can indeed set new visual and design trends which eventually become very successful despite an initially lukewarm feedback from designers and customers. Ive must believe the iOS7 icons are of those things. I think that’s a very risky bet…