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We Start With Color
May 25, 2012 8:47 AM   Subscribe

Are you curious how the brand of a large suite of complementary products is developed? It's more interesting than you might think. Adobe describes the decisions that went into the new icons, splash screens, and other brand elements of Creative Suite 6.
posted by gilrain (23 comments total) 11 users marked this as a favorite

 
Legible. Application icons should be distinguishable from one another at small icon sizes, on file icons, and in the OS. Icons must be differentiable beyond color and should be legible for color blind persons via shape, letter-forms, tone, or other method.
- the first of the five basic requirements listed

The result? A bunch of black squares with a colored border, and the two-letter abbreviations in the same font as last time in the same color. All colors are the same saturation and value. Great job at keeping them distinct beyond color, guys.

I'll be continuing to copy the same icons for Illustrator and Photoshop from the last pre-CS versions, thank you very much.

After all these years I don't loathe the Adobe branding as much as I did when it was first introduced - it helps the they've pulled back from the horrible, glaringly super-saturated colors of CS3; the AICS3 splash was an affront to my color sensibilities, while the AICS5 splash is just bland. But I sure don't think it's appropriate for an artist's toolkit any more. So I guess it's on the border of the third basic requirement of "be[ing] credible to our creative audience".

WE MADE A BUNCH OF SQUARES. AGAIN.
posted by egypturnash at 9:16 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


The aesthetic of CS6 throughout is terrifically ugly. So good work I suppose, fixing what ain't broke.
posted by Senor Cardgage at 9:19 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


On Splash Screens: Some people say they are a relic of a bygone era, or bely an experience that is bloated, but we still love them and believe they’re an immutable part of the Adobe experience—and heritage—for better or worse.

This is why every person on that team should be lit on fire, thrown from a high cliff then given a stern talking to.
posted by bonehead at 9:20 AM on May 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I'm still not going to upgrade.
posted by Thorzdad at 9:29 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'll be continuing to copy the same icons for Illustrator and Photoshop from the last pre-CS versions, thank you very much.

The feather, flower & butterfly of CS &CS2 made no sense at all. The icons have been dull as mud since CS3. I remember thinking that the generic icon that came with Photoshop CS3 beta had to be a place holder, and was dismayed when the final version shipped with the blue square.

Ps 7 & Ai 10 were the last versions that made any sense and also have visual appeal.
posted by Devils Rancher at 9:34 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


This is what I think of when I open CS5.
This is what I think of when I open CS6.
posted by oulipian at 9:42 AM on May 25, 2012 [4 favorites]


I just remember trying to figure out what to buy from them in order get some video editing capability. It took up more of my time to decode their branding and marketing blather than their overpriced software cost!
posted by srboisvert at 9:52 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I don't know, I actually finally like the simplified icon design, and I like how they harmonized all the colors and splash screens. That whole application suite has been erratic in how they deal with icons, color, and screens for years so it's nice to see them try to fix it all at once in a new version and actually do a pretty respectable job at it.
posted by mathowie at 9:53 AM on May 25, 2012 [3 favorites]


They forgot to take into account the Earth's Geodynamo and how future DNA crosscuts the convention/innovation axis. Like Pepsi did.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:55 AM on May 25, 2012


Adobe: Inserting ourselves into your computer experience, whether you want us or not.

*There is a new version of Shit You Didn't Know Was On Your Computer in the First Place! Would you like to download, install, and reboot your computer now? Lol, just kidding. Any keyboard input = "YES".*
posted by BitterOldPunk at 10:03 AM on May 25, 2012 [6 favorites]


I guess it is their job to overthink these things. Personally, I don't care much about the icons and splash screen. I would prefer they spend their time making easter eggs like the Quark alien.
posted by snofoam at 10:51 AM on May 25, 2012


Devil's Rancher> Ps 7 & Ai 10 were the last versions that made any sense and also have visual appeal.

Guess which versions I've been copying the icons from?

(Actually, I think I quit hassling with Photoshop because I use it so rarely. But Illustrator? That lives in my dock, it's my main artistic medium. And I am keeping that icon until my Mac refuses to recognize it any more.)
posted by egypturnash at 11:12 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


would prefer they spend their time making easter eggs like the Quark alien.

Well, Illustrator still has the Mordy's Number, Eyes, Moon Phases, etc. as of CS5 (though Moon Phases seems to be broken) Not sure if that counts, though, since those have been in the app since the Earth cooled.

As for Photoshop...The last egg I can think of in Pshop was the Big Electric Cat splash screen way back in v4.0. Have there been any others more recently?
posted by Thorzdad at 11:46 AM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


Nice post, thanks. I'm kind of agnostic on PS itself, but I like getting into their thought processes.
posted by carter at 11:51 AM on May 25, 2012


ye gods I miss the moon phase in Illustrator. I also miss MoonDock. I like having the moon phasen on my computer, it gives me a sense of the passing of time.
posted by egypturnash at 1:33 PM on May 25, 2012


Hey is CS6 cracked yet or is that "app rental" silliness for real?
posted by Tom-B at 2:26 PM on May 25, 2012


That illustrator 10 splash gives me the same feeling I got when the hottest girl in college gave me that look that let me know in all unequivocal terms that the ball was, indeed, in my court.
posted by roboton666 at 2:27 PM on May 25, 2012 [1 favorite]


I actually like the CS3 icons a lot. The palette worked for me. I didn't get the feather motif either but with the CS3 set of icons, there was a noticeable effort to have consistent branding and it was nice to see the icons side by side in harmony.

I understand what they were trying to do with the CS6 icons but the decision to spread the icon colours (almost) evenly around the colour wheel seemed arbitrary and for-the-sake-of-ness to me. They went with a nice and crisp white on blue PS icon in CS3 to light blue on dark blue in CS5 to the current weird navy blue emboss icon in CS6. They changed the colour!

(I thought the origami splash screens in CS5 were awesome too but that's probably sacrilege to some.)
posted by tksh at 2:59 PM on May 25, 2012


This makes me angry. I don't care about this "Brand Experience" or color tabs or fucking splash screens. It is inane. Please make real software, for intelligent people. No wonder Steve Jobs broke off with Adobe.
posted by polymodus at 12:21 AM on May 26, 2012


If you see just one or two, they stick out a bit, but when lined up chromatically (as so many of us like to do), they own the dock… or any other context.

These are not designers.
posted by polymodus at 12:32 AM on May 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Hey is CS6 cracked yet or is that "app rental" silliness for real?
The rental scheme is for real.
posted by Thorzdad at 11:07 AM on May 26, 2012


The rental thing is a separate product called "Creative Cloud." You can still buy the suite on disk or via download for a set one-time price.
posted by Devils Rancher at 11:14 AM on May 26, 2012


Illustrator at one time was "software as an experience".
posted by roboton666 at 3:50 PM on May 26, 2012


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