To me, there is a distinct movement towards a particular style and I would be very surprised if Apple were ignorant of it. It’s not “flat design” per se and it’s certainly nowhere near the “Metro” levels that people are suggesting they may follow, but it’s a mellowing out of the visual indicators that people need to trigger the idea of a tappable element. Why? Because this is not 2007 anymore, and we are all now fully aware of the medium and the process; we don’t need to be led garishly by the hand. There is still a sense of depth and tactility but done in a refined and suggestive way, sensitive to the changed perceptions that people have of interacting with touchscreens.
That’s something important not being talked about nearly enough in all this “Apple is moving towards flat design” chatter: it’s not that flat design is necessarily “better”, it’s that Apple can start changing some things now because so many people have become accustomed to using the iPhone (and smartphones in general) over the past 5+ years. Not as much hand-holding in the design is required. Apple no longer has to try as hard to make new users think they’re just doing something like pressing a bunch of buttons on a screen. Hopefully that’s liberating for the design team.
Some design agency spent a lot of time coming up with a rough concept of what iOS 7 probably isn’t going to look like. But let’s just say it looks kind of cool.
Some good stuff, some awful stuff. Overall, a “B”. Expect about 1,000 more of these as we inch closer to WWDC.
Update: John Gruber has some good thoughts on the video:
The shape of app icons is not going to change from round-cornered squares to sharp-cornered ones (or any other shape for that matter). Apple owns this shape; this shape says “iOS app” in everyone’s mind. It’s even printed right on the hardware home button of every iOS device. In fact it’s the only thing printed on the front face of every iOS device.
It’s not clear why so many people seem to think “flat” equates to “square”. Because Windows Phone tiles are square? If that’s the case, chalk something up to Windows Phone — while they may not be doing well in market share, they seem to have a pretty good presence in mind share, at least from a “flat” design perspective.
iOS 7 is codenamed “Innsbruck,” according to three people familiar with the OS. The interface changes include an all-new icon set for Apple’s native apps in addition to newly designed tool bars, tab bars, and other fundamental interface features across the system.
Innsbruck is the capital city of the federal state of Tyrol in western Austria, known for its skiing. You may recall that all previous codenames of iOS builds have been named after ski resorts. iOS 6 was “Sundance”, for example.
Lots of good info from Gurman regarding Jony Ive’s iOS 7 design overhaul. Sounds like “flat” is indeed the new black.
J.Crew president and creative director Jenna Lyons talking about CEO Mickey Drexler to Fast Company.
Not since Steve Jobs and Jonathan Ive at Apple has a creative pairing been as intriguing and fruitful as that of Drexler and Lyons. Drexler became chairman and CEO at J.Crew in 2003, four months after Gap fired him following a plunge in the company’s stock. His fall was both humiliating and motivational. Todd Snyder, Drexler’s former head of men’s wear at Gap, advised him to seek out Lyons, at the time J.Crew’s vice president of women’s design, likening her to Calvin Klein in the early days.
While the comparison isn’t perfect, it is interesting the Mickey Drexler found Lyons within J. Crew when he took over just like Jobs found Ive within Apple after he returned. Also worth noting: Drexler is a long-serving member of Apple’s board of directors.
Another great anecdote about Drexler:
After the brothers explained their concerns, Drexler told them that J.Crew was trying its best to behave like a tiny company. And he immediately proved his point. During the meeting, as he paged through a J.Crew catalog, he came across a sneaker from Tretorn. When Emil mentioned that he was a freelance art director for Tretorn advertising, Drexler asked if he thought J.Crew was selling the best model of the shoe. Emil said he preferred another, the men’s classic. “Mickey got on the officewide intercom,” recalls Emil, referring to Drexler’s most melodramatic prop, a loudspeaker system that booms through the hallways at J.Crew headquarters, “and said, ‘Who’s in charge of Tretorn? Come to my office!’” The person in charge of Tretorn was asked, ‘Are we getting these?’ Twenty minutes after leaving the J.Crew office, Emil got a call from his boss at Tretorn asking if he had just been in a meeting with Mickey Drexler. Eventually the company ended up carrying that Tretorn shoe—and the Hill-side, too, which is now on its 15th J.Crew collection.
The officewide intercom is brilliant.
I already liked J.Crew as a brand before reading this article, but I wasn’t entirely sure why. Now it’s much more clear. It’s no accident.