December 21, 2006

What would Andy Warhol say?

So apparently, much of the discussion on the 'net these days isn't about how cool some of the new features are in Photsohop CS3. Rather, it seems that the latest debate is over the new Photsohop splash screen, and more specifically, Photoshop CS3's new icon, which is a blue square that simply states the letters "Ps" -- which I guess makes sense considering that in the world I've lived in for so many years, I've always referrred to Photoshop as PS when I wrote about it in posts, emails, etc.

The folks at Adobe thought that maybe, if people would just realize how much work -- how much effort -- and more importantly, how the new look represented a new branding perspective across the entire product line -- that people will understand. Silly Adobe -- have you ever tried to get a group of designers to agree on ANYTHING?

So Adobe released this image that shows how all of the icons look together. John was kind enough to post it and mention it on his blog. Oh my -- it's close to 200 comments already on that post alone. See? We're all designers. And as such, we're a different breed.

- Designers watch TV commercials and try to be the first to shout out what typeface was used in the ad.
- Designers spend hours feeling paper samples and express glee when finding out that Strathmore added a new color.
- Designers don't go to a museum to marvel at the works of others, they go to discuss how they would have done it better.
- Designers are very good at critiquing the work of others.
- Designers all have their own worlds that they live in and find comfort in.
- Designers all have their all time favorite color and all time favorite font.
- Designers all have their all time most hated color and all time most hated font.

So what did you expect Adobe? When you changed all the icons to flowers and feathers and the like in CS, did you not expect to hear from the very users who use the products themselves to design? And now, when once again, another change is made (one that I believe was necessary, considering the integration of ADBE and MACR), did you expect everyone to sit back, sip their dry martini, and express their sheer appreciation for Adobe's graphical brilliance? Come on -- this is art. It's HEALTHY to see this kind of outpouring from the community. It means these users have passion. Passion for the world they live in. Passion for the world they live FOR. Passion for the tools they use to be who they are.

In truth, on a personal level, I'm happy to see that Adobe is, for once, trying to show some consistency (and hey, did you notice that there's an icon for both FH and GL!). Whether it's ugly, or whether it's beautiful, or whether it's functional, or whether it's a tribute to Andy Warhol, the bottom line is that the products themselves are what makes Adobe unique. Not the icons.

So here's the bottom line: Designers are passionate about Adobe software. After all, the things we do every day that make us happy and that pay our bills would not be possible without Adobe. And Adobe is passionate about making great products. I know the team members, and they put their all into what they do (I can vouch for that, having done it personally myself). And in truth, Adobe couldn't do what they do without feedback from the design community -- and most importantly -- a design community that fuels what they create.

So can't we all get along?


Anonymous said...

Wow. I just assumed the icons were mere placeholders until the real versions were released next Spring.

Unknown said...

Well I'll be the first to admit, they certainly do look like very pretty placeholders, don't they? While I was put off at first, I think they are growing on me. Although I can see my dock very quickly resembling a candy machine.

Anonymous said...

. . . or the periodic table of elements.

Anonymous said...

It totally looks like the branding is done by the former Macromedia team. Here is the thing, Adobe's branding as far back as ever was always superior to Macromedia's. Adobe's interfaces were also always nicer. I would hope that these squares in the next version get more evolved, the direction of Flash Plyer or Acrobat's icons for the future do look much better, if they all go that direction instead of letters it would be nice.

Anonymous said...

I like it a lot better than the feathers. I still can't tell the applications apart in DragThing until I hover over them to see their names.

Anonymous said...

To restate what my comment from John Nack's blog, I'm all for design simplicity, but these new "icons" (and I use the term loosely) are an embarrassment. I, too, thought they were beta placeholders when I first saw them, but apparently they're the real deal.

What further muddies the water is that some of the icons are in fact true icons (Acrobat, Flash Player, Adobe Connect, e.g.)! Doesn't this mixing of graphic icons with simple letters in boxes violate the whole idea of using icons in the first place (i.e., design consistency)?

As a designer and design teacher any student who presented these icons for a final grade would sadly flunk.

mleavitt said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
mleavitt said...

Annotated version here...

The Geezer said...

Do you know anything about this one?

I'm guessing you do but can't say, still for me, Photoshop CS3 beta is nice and although impressive, not quite the big one Illustrator CS3 is/will be.

Unknown said...

Hmmm.. sorry I can't comment on that :)

Although whoever their contact is seems to know quite a bit about what the future holds. Wonder if they would buy me a lottery ticket?

Anonymous said...

Just catching up with the rest of the world following recent celebrations and was a bit shocked to discover this. As others wrote, I really thought these were temporary icons!

Sometimes it is best to keep things simple, and I suppose it does flaunt Adobe's new-found love of the color wheel (see Kuler, amongst other things), but do these icons go a step too far?

But, Mordy, I concede that you are right. It's impossible to get two designers to agree. Let alone the rest of the world!