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TonyB

New Branding for Affinity

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After all this discussion I am still trying to make sense of my feeling that the old logos were stronger, although I would like to second Ronny and Smallreflection that the new design points in a more "professional" direction, so to say. I believe the main issue is the decision to drop the folded triangle in favour of a form I cannot make sense of.

 

In my opinion the folded triangle was a perfect metaphor for the three applications (Designer, Photo, Publisher) working seamlessly together on a common code base. And it was “iconic” in the sense of conveying just this message. I mean it was as “iconic” as the periodic system of Adobe, which shows the all-embracing claim to provide “elementary” tools for visual design.

 

But I wonder a bit, what metaphor is hidden in the present form? Though I don’t believe an app icon should be illustrative in a superficial sense, I also believe there should be a deeper contentual motivation behind the chosen forms. Any ideas?

 

Cheers, Alex  :)

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To me, the core of design is purpose. As such, it's hard to evaluate without knowing what you want to achieve with them. Whether we subjectively like them might be a good question to ask, but a better question to ask is whether they evoke the response in your audience that you want to evoke.

 

I think the new icons are probably more unique in the landscape of design app icons, so they will probably do a better job of standing out against the crowd, if that is what you wanted to achieve. 

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I think that gradients are "over-designing" the thing.

 

 

Perhaps you could achieve the emphasis with a subtle transparency instead?

 

and perhaps just a subtle highlight over.

Icon-Layout-Guide-Stage-2.png

 

 

edit:

the highlight i had in mind:

Icon-Layout-Guide-Stage-2_grad.png

 

edit2: also, the lighter parts are transparent. You can try it yourself, its a transparent PNG, just copy/paste over something

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I way over-generalized in my earlier email, saying gradients irredeemably date an icon. The use of varied brightness in Plokhi's versions here are subtle and effective – just enough to suggest light. These are starting to look closer to 2015.

 

The only thing I still don't care for is all the sharp corners. My unfortunate association with these shapes is with the cover of a 1990's math textbook. :^/ 

What about softening the contours with that jiffy new corner tool? 

I think that gradients are "over-designing" the thing.

 

 

Perhaps you could achieve the emphasis with a subtle transparency instead?

 

and perhaps just a subtle highlight over.

Icon-Layout-Guide-Stage-2.png

 

 

edit:

the highlight i had in mind:

Icon-Layout-Guide-Stage-2_grad.png

 

edit2: also, the lighter parts are transparent. You can try it yourself, its a transparent PNG, just copy/paste over something

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Er... I know that it will be to late as these are released and I am sure that the new logos attain what you set out to do however in my opinion... the old logos were much better. I can understand wanting to jump on the flat bandwagon but maybe could have been implemented in a different way?

 

If I approach the new logos without knowing what they signify - I am no wiser after looking at them. Designer, as said eleswhere, looks like

mountains or a geographic mapping solution, Photos is pretty much the same but with an emphasis on tunnelling, Publisher looks like a speaker and sound waves or a spotlight shining out.

 

On the old logos the black background/edge served a purpose and the cut-out on the left was very clever allowing the "graphic element" pens. aperture etc to bleed out of the suite code triangle, what do the edges do now and now what is the cut-out on the left doing? They could have been left of without detriment and then the flat icon colud fill the bounding box better.

 

If the pens, aperture and the pages could be flattened and returned at least it may give a clue as to what the programme does. A bit of a fail, in my opinion.

 

Love the rest of what you guys are doing and desperatly waiting for the Publisher beta... Keep on doing the great work with the coding just leave the logos alone!

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Sorry, but I think the old ones were much better.  There's really nothing in the new ones that indicate what they do.  Even Photo's shutter blades are only obvious once it's pointed out.  Not all change is good.  Especially when it's inconsequential surface appearance.  If we have a voice at all, I hope you'll stay with/bring back the old ones.

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I would just say that many designers (including myself) hold the opinion that a good logo (and, often, a good icon) really isn't for the purpose of identifying function much at all. Sometimes, it can. But ultimately a good icon gives a product a unique visual identity, with a fitting tone of voice. Most of the icons in my dock right now are highly abstract, yet I recognize most all of them quickly at a glance from their form, color, and subtle styling. The whole trend away from skeuomorphism reflects this changing attitude. Chrome is a tri-colored disk. Adobe apps have an ultra-minimal consistency and simplicity that makes them clearly part of a brand unit. Sketch is a golden jewel (that certainly doesn't seem to be trying represent anything other than uniqueness and quality to me). Microsoft Office apps are generally simple, stylized letters—they aren't trying to be a page, a tiny projector, or a list of grid cells. Yet as icons they work excellently.

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I disagree that most application icons do not give the user any hint of what the application does.  The Safari icon is obviously a compass and Safari is frequently used for searching.  The pages icon a pen and ink bottle, what else would it be but used for writing.  The numbers icon shows graphs.  System preferences shows a gear, you see the inner working of OS by going there.  iTunes is mainly for music which is shown by the note symbol.  iBooks icon shows an open book as if you were reading.  Google earth shows an Earth.  Mail, Maps, Messages, etc.  Most icons provide the uninitiated at least some idea of what the program does.  In my opinion the good ones at least do.  Then of course there are Adobe icons, but are we really trying to follow in the footsteps of Adobe?  I hope not!


iMac (27-inch, Late 2009) with macOS Sierra

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I disagree that most application icons do not give the user any hint of what the application does.  The Safari icon is obviously a compass and Safari is frequently used for searching.  The pages icon a pen and ink bottle, what else would it be but used for writing.  The numbers icon shows graphs.  System preferences shows a gear, you see the inner working of OS by going there.  iTunes is mainly for music which is shown by the note symbol.  iBooks icon shows an open book as if you were reading.  Google earth shows an Earth.  Mail, Maps, Messages, etc.  Most icons provide the uninitiated at least some idea of what the program does.  In my opinion the good ones at least do.  Then of course there are Adobe icons, but are we really trying to follow in the footsteps of Adobe?  I hope not!

 

Hm.

Audio guys do it differently then.

 

Cubase

Cubase2-300x192.png

 

ProTools:

ProTools_Logo.png

 

Nuendo:

Nuendo.png

 

reaper:

34655.png

 

Presonus Studio One:

474214058_175.png

 

Sonar:

sonar_256x256x32.png

 

iZotopeRX:

icon-64.png

 

Cycling 74 Max7:

max7_logo.png

 

 

Not all of the above are good icons though.

 

IMO Cubase, reaper and Max stand out.

 

Also, Evernote for example?

 

I think a strong logo outline can be powerful, more than suggestive icon.

 

Frankly, apple doesn't need strong app logos. They have the apple. None of their apps really need competition - you get them for free with your computer.

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I think the current ones look good. I am not opposed to change, but the proposed icons do not feel special.

 

The gradient, geometric shapes, and colors have an 80's feel to them, which is awesome if you are going for a retro app. You will be tired of the new icons in 3 months time.

 

I would encourage more explorations or open it up to your customers in a 99designs style competition. 

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I also have to say I like the old icons better... I think they have a "welcoming" feel to them and to me, it is nice to see the purpose of an app represented in its logo.

 

Also, the new logos don't really fit Apple's latest "Icon" style: Just look at Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Final Cut Pro X, Logic X, Motion 5 and all the stock apps. They all have something in their icon that represent their purpose. Now, I have to say, the current icons have a little bit "too much" going on with all the folding, shadows, etc. Just compare Designer's pens to Pages'. But overall, I think the current icons fit in better.

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Really like dangerman2000s idea of a user competition.

We could send our own ideas in to you guys, you pick your three favourites and open a poll in these forums to determine the most liked ones. The winner get's a cat, one million dollars (channelling Dr Evil here), his or her name and website in the credits and / or free Affinity software for life.

 

You have an amazing community of creatives running around these forums who absolutely adore your software  —  use them. ;-)

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Also, the new logos don't really fit Apple's latest "Icon" style: Just look at Pages, Keynote, Numbers, Final Cut Pro X, Logic X, Motion 5 and all the stock apps. They all have something in their icon that represent their purpose. Now, I have to say, the current icons have a little bit "too much" going on with all the folding, shadows, etc. Just compare Designer's pens to Pages'. But overall, I think the current icons fit in better.

Yes, but Apple's current icon thinking is a mess!  You've got the simple style of icons like Messages, iTunes, iBooks, etc. - which I like - through the Final Cut, Pages type style - which I'm not keen on, to the absurd style of something like the Mail.app postage stamp - which is horrendous, IMO!  Mixed message here I think.

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Audio guys do it differently then.

 

Okay, this might not be a useful contribution to the present discussion, but don’t forget Native Instruments … whether you like their logos or not, I believe they have found a coherent visual language in icon design … 

 

https://cdn.tutsplus.com/audio/uploads/2013/10/7_Logic_X_Icons-1.png

 

And before you ask, no, I am not affiliated in any way …  ;)

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Disclaimer: I'm still using Mavericks, and while I like "flat" on mobile devices/web, I haven't got the experience of having flat icons on my desktop/dock.

 

Having said that, I prefer the original icons; both in terms of aesthetics and their ability to convey the actual role of the software.

 

Nonentheless, we thank you anyways for the beautiful software!

-Fotis

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Yes, but Apple's current icon thinking is a mess!  You've got the simple style of icons like Messages, iTunes, iBooks, etc. - which I like - through the Final Cut, Pages type style - which I'm not keen on, to the absurd style of something like the Mail.app postage stamp - which is horrendous, IMO!  Mixed message here I think.

I agree. Final Cut and Logic icons are just silly... I never really liked Logic Pro 7 and then 8 onward logo. (7 was kind of a sampler, and 8 onward is that silly plaque). I think that professional/prosumer oriented software needs a strong brand rather than suggestive icon.

 

Suggestive icon is very useful for people are less computer-literate. But an advanced vector software isn't targeting that demographic.

 

 

Audio guys do it differently then.

 

Okay, this might not be a useful contribution to the present discussion, but don’t forget Native Instruments … whether you like their logos or not, I believe they have found a coherent visual language in icon design … 

 

https://cdn.tutsplus.com/audio/uploads/2013/10/7_Logic_X_Icons-1.png

 

And before you ask, no, I am not affiliated in any way …  ;)

 

You can't have a clue what a certain plugin does by looking at the icon (battery has a lightning bolt lol), but you instantly know its NI.

But the links you posted aren't really NI icons. :)

someone designed them to fit logic better, as they're not stock with NI plugins.

this is how real battery looks like:

237555.png

 

Disclaimer: I'm still using Mavericks, and while I like "flat" on mobile devices/web, I haven't got the experience of having flat icons on my desktop/dock.

 

Having said that, I prefer the original icons; both in terms of aesthetics and their ability to convey the actual role of the software.

 

Nonentheless, we thank you anyways for the beautiful software!

-Fotis

They look kinda out of place in Yosemite, to be frank.

 

Sharp thick shadows, very deep perspective, and intense gradients. 

 

everything in yosemite is sort of "soft", gradients are hinted not overblown.

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Overall I quite like the refresh, although I do have a couple of minor critiques:

  • The colour gradients are a touch too extreme, and a subtler graduation might be more effective. I wouldn’t get rid of them entirely because a well-done gradient does a great job of adding volume to a shape. In fact, most “flat” design actually uses subtle gradients and very slight borders and shadows to imply depth!
  • Compared to the old icons the highlight colours are a bit washed-out. More vivid colours would in my opinion would be more attractive.
  • The purple for Photo is closer to lavender now, but the colour that stood out to me in the old icon was the magenta in the top corner of the triangle.

 

I have a few thoughts on some of the other criticisms posted in the thread.

 

Firstly, I don’t think the argument that an icon should demonstrate the app function holds water. I have in my dock right now a mix of OS X defaults, design apps, web dev apps, and communication/chat apps. A few have obvious descriptive icons (iTunes = musical note, Transmit = truck, Mail = postage stamp), some have more abstract descriptive icons (Safari = compass, which you can sort of extrapolate to be users “navigating” the web), but the rest are a mix of logos (Tweetdeck, Blender, Slack) and totally random graphic elements (Coda is a leaf, MAMP is an elephant and Finder is, well, a face).

 

Most of these apps are recognisable to me and to the others who use them. We figure out what apps do and how we use them not by the icon, but by actually using them, or by hearing or seeing others use them. People discover apps through word of mouth or by searching online, not by dissecting icons.

 

So what purpose does the app icon serve? Recognition. When I’m looking for my app in my dock (or Finder, Launchpad, cmd+tab app switcher), I look for the icon. It’s a visual anchor, so I can quickly spot it and launch or bring into focus the right app. This means that the main feature of a good icon has to be its distinctive visual qualities – and what qualities do people usually notice first? Colour and silhouette. We don’t tend to focus on fine details because we aren’t stopping to look, we’re just finding the icon so we can get to the app and get to work.

 

Now when I look at the old Affinity app icons, something else I notice is how the small details don’t show through very well at normal size. While they may look great on a website promo, in the dock/Finder/Spotlight the details are obscured. Designer’s pentips and Photo’s camera lens are just sort of blobs of colour in the middle of a coloured triangle.

 

--

 

It’s easy to see the old and new icons isolated on a page and then get caught up in examining the details – the old icons have more depth, they’ve got better descriptive elements, the new icons are flatter and more abstract. But it’s really important to consider how the icons will be used before making snap judgements on which is better.

 

This is why I think the new icons are more successful. By stripping out the details and focusing on simple shapes and bright colours, Affinity’s icons will stand out from all the other icons they’re surrounded by and catch my eye much quicker than before.

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@Plokhi: You are right, these are not the current ones, but they are by NI from a previous version of the software … but I guess we should stop now doing brand advertising for other companies …  ;)

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Some of the below logos have perfectly fine shapes; but some way overdo the 'sheen', which (for me at least) evoke the first decade of this millennia.

You missed Ableton Live, who were doing flat, simple esthetics _way_ ahead of the curve!

Their logo (since around the turn of this century):

247_1.png
Their interface (little changed in 15 years):
247_2.png

Hm.

Audio guys do it differently then.

 

Cubase

Cubase2-300x192.png

 

ProTools:

ProTools_Logo.png

 

Nuendo:

Nuendo.png

 

reaper:

34655.png

 

Presonus Studio One:

474214058_175.png

 

Sonar:

sonar_256x256x32.png

 

iZotopeRX:

icon-64.png

 

Cycling 74 Max7:

max7_logo.png

 

 

Not all of the above are good icons though.

 

IMO Cubase, reaper and Max stand out.

 

Also, Evernote for example?

 

I think a strong logo outline can be powerful, more than suggestive icon.

 

Frankly, apple doesn't need strong app logos. They have the apple. None of their apps really need competition - you get them for free with your computer.

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I like the new logos. As others have said, the Photos logo is the strongest of this new set.

It took me a little while to understand the new Designer logo, but now that I've seen it as the tips of two pencils, it suddenly makes more sense. Perhaps some refinement to make that a little more clear (if that was the intent!).

 

One thing I'll say is that in all three, the stray diagonal line extending from the bottom side of the triangle is extraneous and doesn't really add much... maybe drop that?

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The shadow is to much bigger and the style do not reflect the style of the user interface. If you whant to use more flat style you need to change all the tools icons.

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