6 thoughts on “Ickons

  1. I swear, when I first looked at the image, I thought it was a joke. But then I read down the comment thread over there and saw that everyone was being very serious. I feel bad for the Adobe guy, because it’s no fun to have rude people crawling all over your blog, but, um, the new icons really seem lame.

    Like I said, I didn’t like the last batch (feather, butterfly, flower, . . . where’s Bambi? And Thumper?), but at least they weren’t ugly, on top of being meaningless.

    The periodic table of elements expresses a lot of information in a very compact manner. It’s easy to read only relative to the enormous amount of data it holds; if you don’t look at it every day, it’s pretty cryptic. The Adobe icon table expresses very little information in a way that makes that information seem . . . pretty cryptic. I can understand why the BOGSAT were attracted to the idea, but I’m afraid the reasons they felt that attraction were The Wrong Reasons.

  2. I still have trouble finding the CS2 icons in my Dock. I stare at the butterfly or the feather and just blank out. Which is which? Maybe this is why I only quit out of the programs once a week and just use CMD-TAB to switch between them, so I can see the app name.

    For some reason, I couldn’t get the original poster’s link to the icons to display them — perhaps the page was disabled or Slashdotted — so I can’t comment as well as I might. I do feel the periodic-table motif has been a little overdone at this point. Dow Chemical’s “human element” ad is the most recent example (apparently, humans are composed of “Hu” — hu knew?). I recall MTV and some other consumer product were using this motif several years ago. Who says recycling hasn’t caught on?

  3. Yeah, I tend to leave everything running until the system starts acting funny. I reboot maybe . . . once a month? And in between, I use Cmd-Tab and Quicksilver. There are no apps that live in my dock; they only show if they’re running, and the dock is always hidden.

    You can see the new icons now at LifeClever, as well. They, too, now have a lively comment thread about it.

  4. The periodic table expresses a lot of information compactly in large part because of the way its laid out. Take the squares out and jumble them up, and each one individually would not tell you nearly so much.

    The purpose of icons, by contrast, is to be independently recognizable — and easily distinguishable from all other icons at a glance — regardless of their context. It’s a fundamentally different semantic function. Icons in a pile, or stuck on something else, should be just as recognizable as icons arranged neatly in a table. After all, that’s how they’re going to be used: Piled up on your desktop against wildly varying types of backgrounds.

    This seems like a case of Adobe’s creative folks mistaking a trend (the periodic table as nifty type styling) for an element of functional information architecture. Somebody really needs to school them on this.

Leave a Reply

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.