Data Monday: iOS7 Icon Design

by Luke Wroblewski June 24, 2013

With all the changes in Apple's new iOS7, it can be surprising to see how much attention its new application icon designs have been getting. To illustrate, here's what almost 525,000 opinions about the new iOS7 icons tell us about people's preferences and perhaps the iOS7 design process as well.

The fact that 65% of people prefer the new iOS7 icons is interesting because of widespread sentiment among designers that the new iOS7 icons designs are wrong and have a negative impact on iOS7 design as a whole.

ios7 icon comparison

What this might tell us is that the new icons are an improvement on the old. But that's only when you are comparing icon to icon not when you are looking at (or using) the complete operating system. Perhaps this is an indication of how the new iOS7 icons were designed and evaluated. Recent stories suggest Jony Ive enlisted the Apple Marketing team to help with the icon designs:

"SVP of Design Jony Ive brought the print and web marketing design team in to set the look and color palette of the stock app icons. They then handed those off to the app design teams who did their own work on the ‘interiors’."

So the iOS7 icons were designed by different teams than the those working on the apps and OS. Which may explain why they look great (and are preferred by people) on their own but perhaps don't work as well in context on the device where people will be using them most.