11 thoughts on “Photoshop Icons Through The Ages”

  1. Ethan says:

    Version 3 was where I got my start, so I suppose I’ve got a soft spot for that icon. Still think dropping the eye for the feather was a sad mistake.

  2. Joen says:

    Certainly if you keep an element such as the eye for long enough, it becomes valuable branding. In the case of the eye, it is the element they’ve kept the longest, so yeah I agree dropping it, especially for the feather, was a mistake.

  3. I like how they didn’t change it between v4 & v6, very sensible. Apart from those I only like the v10 icon. I see they managed to (slightly) screw that one up too in v11..doh!

  4. Jenny-fa says:

    Eh, I don’t know… I think the eye would become a bit scary after a while, the way it’s looking at you… the third-last icon is the only one I’m acquainted with personally.

  5. Jason T. says:

    I’ve been using Photoshop since version 5, but am glad they dropped the eyeball – the branding is irrelevant if the visuals don’t appeal. The first two rows give off a freeware look, the feather gives off a “free for 30 days” look, I definitely like the corporate look of the first Ps, but the second seems too hollow to represent anything substantial.

    My discourse on icon design!

  6. Joen says:

    I find it interesting to see how the square CS3 and CS4 designs have slowly gained traction and positive responses, especially considering the mainly negative reaction when the icons were first unveiled a while back (link).

    Certainly a square colored block is easy to recognize in a dock or in the start menu. Even so, the silhuette is the same for all the programs, a square. In my book, that’s not good icon design. It’s not that I particularly dislike the new icons — I have gotten used to them — but I just don’t think they’re that great either.

    I miss the Flash 3 / Dreamweaver 1 days of Macromedia design. The US based design company that did both the Macromedia Logo and, as far as i remember, all of the icon design for the period, did some pretty sweet abstract logos. They were simplistic and colorful, yet had unique silhuettes. Damn, the name escapes me.

    Scroll down on this page to see some of the Flash 3-5 era icon designs. Good stuff: http://www.vectorlogo.net/category/m/

  7. Jason T. says:

    As a rebuttal, I have to say that while you’re right in that the icons are nothing fancy, they accomplish what Adobe probably wanted – to create an instantly recognizable brand. I like the fact that it’s a square for all programs, because it shows at a glance how connected the programs are to each other. Their features are becoming more intertwined, for better or worse on the user’s end, but definitely a boon to Adobe’s bottom line.

    You can see the full marketing effect already on the package design for the CS4 suites, where the different colored squares (representing the programs) form a line similar to a swatchbook. I think its simplistic yet clever!

  8. Joen says:

    While I love rebuttals, none was needed in this case as we were both venting opinions, and I happen to agree somewhat with you. Certainly sticking with the same shape and overal design formula for Adobes plethora of apps has branding value for the overall package. I’ll wager that was possible without having the square silhuette, though. Imagine outlining the square and having a transparent background inside it instead. Perhaps that’s what we’ll see in CS5.

    As for the swatchbook, yes, very clever. For CS3 I interpreted it to be the “Periodic Table of Apps”, with the Ps and Dw abbreviations being remarkably reminiscent of elements (He, Fe, Mg and so on).

  9. Jason T. says:

    Sorry for any mixup, I meant to use rebuttal very lightly. Other words I was pondering included counterattack, retaliation & addendum. I didn’t think about the elements before but that makes much sense. Cheers!

  10. I started off with Version 3 (gosh, I feel old), so I too have a soft spot for the eye. Dropping the branding for the feather was completely nonsensical. They eye wasn’t very good but a logo doesn’t have to be good, it becomes good over time (the BMW logo is pretty nondescript as well, yet it’s one of the most valuable brands in the world). I hope they either stick to the table-of-elements icons or go back to the eye. Another change in branding could seriously hurt them.

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