The western world is rapidly waking up to the role a graphic designer plays in modern society and Apple are playing a large part in enlightening the public. A quality exposition of the value of design, reading through the press release of iOS7 reminds me of a pitch for arts funding. I can’t think of another company that goes to the same lengths in explaining their design methodology:
“On their own, these may not be details you consciously demand or even expect. But they all work together to create a more harmonious relationship between individual elements. And a better, more delightful experience overall.”
Whatever you think of the iOS7 design I think Apple are doing us designers a favour. By exposing the everyday public to the value of graphic design flair and nuance it makes them more likely to invest personally in the future. The Apple approach shares many principles with that of Vitsoe, a furniture company founded on Dieter Rams’ Ten Principals of Good Design who are really a vocal forerunner of the “less is more” ideology.
To the design itself though, it’s interesting now that we have greater screen capabilities on mobile phones, Apple and Windows are moving towards using less of these new pixels. Less fancy drop shadows and photo realistic features define this new version of iOS. This time Apple opt for a well-ordered flat approach that feels light in tone at all times and uses depth sparingly, while practically doing away with textures. See for yourself here, and if you have a mobile make sure to view the fullscreen videos of the new design in action. I have to say, it feels like a step in the right direction.
This is a great step for Apple, as it reaffirms their core values and strengths – putting design at the top of the priority pyramid. Innovative and thoughtful design being the defining tenet of their past success.
Apple also have a way of introducing design conformity that people are not begrudging to step into, which is clever because it allows for an experience that cleans up our lives not clutters. I have no doubt for example, that the new app icon grid will be embraced by many designers right away. This though, is where most feelings are divided.
It seems the point of contention here is the App Icon design. This fantastic and fast work from Leo Drapeau cuts right to the reason why. There is a disparity between the look of these icons and all their talk of minimalist values. Drapeau’s versions clearly improves on the more complicated icons like the Newsstand, Camera and Settings. What is apparent though is that this element of the redesign is a work in progress, even seeing changes in the last few days!
Provided they swallow their pride and make changes to the icons, iOS7 looks to be a great move toward a lighter, breezier aesthetic which must be matched just as well by the user experience in order to create something in line with the breathtakingly intuitive work we’ve come to expect from Apple.