December 21, 2006

Adobe takes minimalism too far

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wheel-o%27-icons.jpgApparently released yesterday, a sneak peak at Adobe's icons leaves a bit to be desired. Pleasing creatives is no easy task, but it seems that Adobe may have not been up for the challenge:

"As Adobe's products have grown deeper and broader in their capabilities, the effort to visually represent what they can do in a literal icon has become increasingly difficult. ... Taken in isolation, the individual icons are in no way spectacular - that was never their role," writes Ryan Hicks, Sr. Experience Designer at Adobe. "Their elegance comes from how the entire desktop brand system works as a whole. The more Adobe apps you have, the better the system works. Adobe's icons stand out instantly in the visually-dense world of user desktops because of their simplicity; complexity ≠ information."

Overall, it just comes off as lazy. Identity systems are certainly smart for any brand, however, this one has too many holes in it. Not every icon matches the system, and the abbreviation system is all over the place. Not exactly sure how these are meant to stand out in the visually-dense world when Microsoft has already been using typographic desktop identity for Office. It seems as though a designer was too hell-bent on sticking to the original 'cool' idea of the Periodic Table of Elements when someone realized that the system wasn't completely thought through. This is also apparent in the rest of Hicks' explanation, as he already feels the need to defend the icons against that concept.

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Ugh. My head, it spins.

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