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[UI ]Tools icons could look more professional and clean (they are quite clip art-ish, legacy of the Serif old products)

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The thing  is you have this "next generation of graphic design apps" marketing (seems like company really knows what they're doing and going for[/size]), a super modern product website, some killer techy professional trailer videos and the new rebranded logos into this more abstract/techy stuff happened in 2015 http://www.creativebloq.com/software/affinity-new-branding-61515327 and then when you first open the app you see these cartoonish icons  youll not find even in Paint or Gimp anymore. The contrast is grotesque.
 
if Serif is marketing  its Afinity suite as the next generation graphic design software for creative professionals some portions of their products UI  would need some further refinement. The current icons from the tools bar are very cartoonish. You would still see these kind of icons on some old open source software or those targeted to amateurs. This is not entirely true anymore since it seems new versions of Gimp and other  porgrams alike will finally made their switch to more  clean professional looking icons. They are not the best clip art icons either since on big monitors they are hardly visible and the monochrome theme makes the things even worse. If Serif wants to step away from its legacy products should pay more attention to these design elements.Its very  predictable that the  ex Serif product users would  be more comfortable with this style of iconography but they should let the UI Design teams of both products to do the right job in fully repurposing/rebranding them.
 
The rebranding of the products  icons that happened in 2015 is one of the best Ive seen in the recent years. Only if those designer will get free hand to continue their work on the tool icons as well...  https://www.behance.net/gallery/32700567/Affinity-App-Logo-System-Redesign-Project
 
 
 
 
 
Modern UI icons come in  lots of flavors. I personally like the approach some very old and  complex programs developed by Autodesk took with their recent release with their  flat  but color coded icons. Just check the screenshots for 3ds Max and Maya

 
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         GUID-A7E20136-43CE-47AC-9672-149C2709236

 

 

 most of the people commenting on this video review  expressed their preference for a more clean icon set https://youtu.be/SGojM3A5t-g

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you very comfortably missed all  my other  arguments.  I said I like (not prefer) one (among lots of other variations) a recent example of modern UI,s.

 

And you sounded like Autodesk and other companies/dev teams with very reluctant userbases for these kind of fancy changes rely on ones personally prefferences when comes to designing/redesigning their UI's.

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Among much needed improvements in Affinity software I find "icons change" at the very end of the list organized by importance. No, wait... Now when I look at that list again, its not on it at all. Go figure....

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I beg to disagree. I very much like the current icons. To me they look much much better than Photoshop's "sterile" ones. This is a software for visual arts, not a CAD or 3D software that has to look "sharp" and "monotone". This might sound a bit strange but one of the main reasons I like Photo better than Photoshop is that it has a more "artistic" icons and overall feel than Photoshop.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3.481 for Windows Windows 10 x64 1903  CPU AMD Threadripper 1950X @3.9 Ghz  RAM 32 GB GPU GTX 1080 Ti FE 11GB NVMe SSD Samsung 960 Pro 512 GB

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AP is being touted as a viable alternative to Photoshop, and as such it needs a UI that PS users will immediately feel comfortable with - AP's UI clearly achieves that design goal.  At the same time, it's a good idea to produce something that won't intimidate amateur users attracted by the pricing but with limited experience of using image editing software - again, AP's UI succeeds. 


AP user, running Win10

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I beg to disagree. I very much like the current icons. To me they look much much better than Photoshop's "sterile" ones. This is a software for visual arts, not a CAD or 3D software that has to look "sharp" and "monotone". This might sound a bit strange but one of the main reasons I like Photo better than Photoshop is that it has a more "artistic" icons and overall feel than Photoshop.

 

The modern design was not something brought by CAD, 3d or  programming software.On contrary these  ones implemented it quite recently. The " visual arts" programs adopted it first. Yes this is a software for visual arts but not for doodles. This is not MS paint to say at least which will also get a new UI style with  Windows 10 feauture builds btw.

 

The thing  is you have this "next generation of graphic design apps" marketing (seems like company really knows what they're doing and going for), a super modern product website, some killer techy professional trailer videos and the new rebranded logos into this more abstract/techy stuff  in 2015 http://www.creativebloq.com/software/affinity-new-branding-61515327 and when you first open the app you see these amateur icons  youll not find even in Paint or Gimp anymore. The contrast is grotesque.

 

They are not the best icons on this style either. There are tons of icons there on the same style that that are  a lot more expressive and visible on bigger monitors. The hell icon resources are not smth we lack and this is supposed to be the next generation of graphic design apps. They can surely produce smth super friendly but still sharp and clean enough that will not  "intimidate" new users lol.

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I disagree with 'Orphydian.' I'm happy with the simplicity, the subtle use of color of the Affinity Photo icons. They don't at all feel like clip art to me. 

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there is nothing subtle or simple with these icons. Thats the point.They are just downsized versions of full sized bucket, brush etc drawings. Icon design is way more than that.

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Can you point me to some documentation where you KNOW FOR SURE they are "downsized versions of full sized bucket, brush etc drawings"? Or is this merely your opinion, your educated guess? And if it's your educated guess, please allow for the possibility you might be in error, and maybe reflect on the number of posts in this topic that may have a different take on it than you...?

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Probably icon and UI could be better. They are not bad though, and there is a lot of other development work to do also, so maybe they can wait some...

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hmm I'm with Orphydian. The icons really need some refinement. If someone from my family or friends would see the icons, they would think it is from some game or music app. xD 

The Icons really look too much. It should be more simple and somewhat recognizable. Honestly, when I first saw Affinitys Products the only difference between AP and AD I could see was the color (AP ->purple; AD - blue). It was only later I noticed differences between these 2 icons.

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Can you point me to some documentation where you KNOW FOR SURE they are "downsized versions of full sized bucket, brush etc drawings"? Or is this merely your opinion, your educated guess? 

 

 

 thats was just a figure of speech. I don't need to explain myself every time as it becomes tedious.

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maybe reflect on the number of posts in this topic that may have a different take on it than you...?

 

 

 

thats predictable. Would have been the same if someone would  have point this thing  when came for the affinity product logos/icons. And still they have been rebranded and look much cleaner and proffesional now.

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I do agree the interface would benefit from a bit more work. I was delighted with the light UI in the recent AD beta release, which is a fine improvement. But the 'wares prestige will be built on the speed, reliability and scope. If the devs have some spare time down the road (!?what), perhaps they could build in an option to load various 3rd party interface graphics packs.

 

The creative web link brought me to an error 404. 

 

I suppose you have a different version of GIMP, than I do, which is 2.8 Mac, tho' I don't know who put the package together. Finding the icon I want in GIMP is a PITA. 

 

I have 2 different problems w. your argument. While the "flat" icon look makes sense in many situations, it does not seem to be a perfect solution. Yes, it looks stylish, and that sells.  But the bigger issue I have is that the examples are too busy. Not cartoonish, but lots and lots of little lines for the icons, and masses of text to describe what the icons activate.  Perhaps have a tooltip pop up in a local language so that everyone everywhere would learn to associate a particular shape w. a specific operation.

 

I'm unfamiliar w. the apps you reference any time in the last 10 years, I have to wonder how much screen space the dialogues take up.  Will it work on an iPad w. finger tip control w/o obscuring the work?


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I can't quite agree with the force of Orphyidian's complaint ........ but I can agree with the principle.

For whatever reason I do find AP's interface harder to read than PS. I am using CS6 and I think it has an exemplary interface. I find the CC interface rather primitive and less comprehensible by comparison. There is no doubt in my mind that AP's interface is, by far, the most subtle and attractive but sadly, for me, it is too subtle. It lacks clarity and contrast for my less than perfect vision. It is one of the reasons that, despite my longing to love it, I find AP more tiring to use than PS. For example the simple difference between selected and unselected tools could be much clearer. Such things should not be subtle they should be instantly and effortlessly evident! Good interface should not be about subtle and beautiful - it should be, first and foremost about legibility. There has been a lot of of brouhaha about the new light interface solving this for critics such as I. I am sorry, I don't subscribe to this! I don't want a light interface, I want a clearly legible dark one!

 

Its wonderful that AP is so stylish looking, but the interface is a key element in usability and I am tempted to suggest that the design of AP's interface is one of form over function instead of form deriving from function. It gives me the impression that it was developed by designers sitting in semi darkened rooms specifically adapted for long hours in front of the screen. User life isn't like that! We have to be ready to use your app in a wide variety of less than ideal circumstances. A 'good' interface should be ready to cope with that, even if it means sacrificing elegance for brutal functionality.

The examples posted by Orphydian are pretty brutal and dry - but they are instantly and clearly readable in a way that I would find very hard to ascribe to AP's interface.

Somewhere between the two there surely must be a proper compromise ............ ?

 

I fully appreciate that we are discussing probably the single most completely subjective aspect of AP here. So my opinion is little less than that - completely subjective. But I have sincerely tried to be objective in my comments and I do genuinely believe that Serif might better serve their customers by prioritising clarity before style.

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This whole arguments reminds me somebody worrying more about color of the car then its engine. Cool, fine, great - we can opt for new icons if that makes some people happier but for crying out loud - we need knife tool in Designer, option to manipulate selected groups of points of vector object, would be great to have "crop to selection" in Photo, symmetry tool. The list goes on and on. I rather see those changes then "hey, we have a light UI now!!!!" or "WOW! New icons!". Do you even work on it or you just looking at it?

Priorities.

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 you sounded like everyone is working on everything like software enginneers and coders should design the icon style.

 

Those new features take years . We already have a roadmap and already "worried" about those long time ago. Totally diff subject and area of expectation. Meanwhile yes a light UI and other refinements for a  software designed  for artists  are more than welcome to alienate the waiting.

 

And not surprisingly at all youll find the same reluctant reaction when comes even to these new features you are talking about like: " why you even need that, an artist doesnt need that" or "stick to Phothsop or Illustrator if you want the x function", "thats a feature for lazy persons" etc. lol

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Fascinating. OK, let me put it this way. I like the icons just as they are now. Whats more - I really dislike the ones you have showed.

Now, if you excuse me I will get back to work.

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This whole arguments reminds me somebody worrying more about color of the car then its engine. Cool, fine, great - we can opt for new icons if that makes some people happier but for crying out loud - we need knife tool in Designer, option to manipulate selected groups of points of vector object, would be great to have "crop to selection" in Photo, symmetry tool. The list goes on and on. I rather see those changes then "hey, we have a light UI now!!!!" or "WOW! New icons!". Do you even work on it or you just looking at it?

Priorities.

Not quite Nezumi. I agree there is room for all sorts of improvements but the interface is the way we communicate with AD & AP and they with us. It's far more than the colour of car, it's the steering wheel and throttle with which we control it. I think they are quite important! I work on AP every day for several hours and I find AP's interface difficult and fatiguing.

 

Basic functionality matters more to me than missing tools however much we may like them. I know I am not alone in this. User expressed difficulties with the current interface is one of the things that provoked the light one. It's far more than cosmetics - it's a very real concern.

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 User expressed difficulties with the current interface is one of the things that provoked the light one. It's far more than cosmetics - it's a very real concern.

No argument there, and I'd welcome some further improvements, but the OP's concern was with the "cartoonish" icons, not the UI in general.  


AP user, running Win10

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No argument there, and I'd welcome some further improvements, but the OP's concern was with the "cartoonish" icons, not the UI in general.  

I did a little online research to see what professional icon designers & various authoritative sources had to say specifically about icon design (rather than overall UI design). I quickly noticed two things:

1. A lot of general guidelines are available but very little of it is focused specifically on toolbar/tool panel icon design.

2. The various guidelines, even to the extent they focus on that specific type of icon, are vague & often contradictory.

 

For example, while almost everybody emphasizes that great care must be taken so each of these small icons will be distinctive enough to clearly convey their function & not be confused with any of the others, some say color differences should be exploited for that, while others say color differences should be minimized to create a "harmonious" look & feel throughout the toolset. Most agree that at these small, 16 to 32 px sizes attempting to include too much detail like fine lines or shadow & gradient effects should be avoided, & some go as far as saying any & all 3D representations should be as well.

 

There is no general agreement on how much photorealism these small icons should display -- some say they should look "better than photorealistic," whatever that is supposed to mean, or how to achieve it while avoiding the problems associated with including too much detail.

 

Basically, as with almost all other aspects of the design process, it all comes down to achieving a reasonable balance among several mutually conflicting design goals, & there is no one formula or set of guidelines for how best to do that.


Affinity Photo 1.7.3, Affinity Designer 1.7.3, Affinity Publisher 1.7.3; macOS High Sierra 10.13.6 iMac (27-inch, Late 2012); 2.9GHz i5 CPU; NVIDIA GeForce GTX 660M; 8GB RAM
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I would not tangle with these guidelines cause  like I said modern design come in lots of flavours and its changing which is good.  Its easier  to check various works from various  designers done these years. The key words are clean, minimal, geometrical. This however doesnt exclude  colourfulness and depth (3d and shadows) but these are also very subtle and realised in a manner that doesnt affect the first basic principles. The same for gradients. They are very subtle and apply to very geometrical shapes. I  think photorealism its not among these principles.

 

The thing is you dont really see the style of these Serif legacy icons anymore in works of designers or even in UIs of the actual software (professional or not). Its a remnant of old software (I mean very old) or/and some open source programs that havent changed their designs in decades. Even those had to do the switch eventually.Gimp will finally be a clone of photohsop and it will actually copy its UI style  in  the 2.9.4 version https://www.gimp.org/news/2016/07/13/gimp-2-9-4-released/ and MS paint will get new reincarnation with Windows 10 new designs (you can get a taste of it in the "Paint 3D" app ).

 

The rebranding of the products  icons that happened in 2015 is one of the best Ive seen in the recent years. Only if those designers will get free hand to continue their work on the tool icons as well...  https://www.behance.net/gallery/32700567/Affinity-App-Logo-System-Redesign-Project

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Eh. I fall towards the I don't care side of this debate as regards the tool icons for the most part. My preference is a flatter minimalist monochromatic icon. But I don't think my opinion about AD has changed much since the first Windows beta.

 

And so far the tool icons haven't hindered my use of AD.

 

The UI on the other hand, I would enjoy a revamp.

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No argument there, and I'd welcome some further improvements, but the OP's concern was with the "cartoonish" icons, not the UI in general.  

 

Yes. Very good point. I have allowed myself to be seduced into the wrong argument. I have no problems with the icons. I really don't care if they are stylish, or modern or old fashioned. To this extent I agree with Nezumi that we should be using the app and not agonising over the stylishness or otherwise of its icons.

 

But I do care deeply whether those icons are legible, whether they tell me instantly and effortlessly what I am selecting and using, or whether I am struggling to read them. In this respect it not the icons as such that give me difficulty, but the low contrast of the interface of which they are part. They are, to me personally, not as nearly clear as they could be. This is not their intrinsic design,. It is their implementation within the general UI which to me lacks clarity. To my mind the key reason for this is poor contrast. When I work at night in darker ambient light this is not a problem. But when I have to work in brighter ambient circumstances (especially on the move with my laptop) then I have real problems with legibility.

 

'Nuff said .......  ;)

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