is a blog about design, technology and culture written by Khoi Vinh, and has been more or less continuously published since December 2000 in New York City. Khoi is currently Principal Designer at Adobe, Design Chair at Wildcard and co-founder of Kidpost. Previously, Khoi was co-founder and CEO of Mixel (acquired by Etsy, Inc.), Design Director of The New York Times Online, and co-founder of the design studio Behavior, LLC. He is the author of “Ordering Disorder: Grid Principles for Web Design,” and was named one of Fast Company’s “fifty most influential designers in America.” Khoi lives in Crown Heights, Brooklyn with his wife and three children. Refer to the advertising and sponsorship page for inquiries.+
Apple, by contrast, eschews such practical advice in favor of establishing guiding principles for an application’s iconographic language. They take the trouble to draw distinctions between, and set rules for, various types of icons, e.g., application icons, accessory icons, utility icons, document icons, preferences and plug-in icons, etc. There’s even a subsection entitled “Conveying an Emotional Quality in Icons.” Given material this rich it’s apparent why the Mac OS is so conducive to quality design.
Of course, it’s just as fair to fault Apple for falling down on the job of giving interface designers real-world help. Apple is being faithful to its reputation for design fussiness here, exactly the kind of preaching that turns off many computer users. It’s obvious that I’m not one of those users, and how can I be when the company offers advice of this sort:
For great-looking Aqua icons, have a professional graphic designer create them.