Looking at iOS 7, I wonder if flat design is a scam perpetrated on us by lazy and untalented designers

I’ve always loved the 3D, skeuomorphic look of the icons on my Apple iPhone before iOS 7.  They were vibrant, colorful, and had a level of depth to them that were aesthetically pleasing to the eye.   The 3D imagery gave substance to the apps I used, while the skeuomorphism that too many schmuck-head geeks have suddenly now decided to hate simulated real life objects with attractive visual cues, such as typing down notes on what looked like an actual notepad.   Sometimes it got too tacky, such as faux leather in the “Find My Friends” app, but overall I appreciated the effort to present a visually appealing look in which no learning curve was required.

Now, they’ve done away with a lot of the skeuomorphism, and while I’ve resigned myself to having to adjust to the profoundly different look of iOS 7, there’s something about the new icons in particular that really, REALLY irritates me.  It’s not so much that I can’t get adapt to the new design or admit that much of the functionality of iOS 7 is actually much better, it’s that merely glancing at these icons has me absolutely convinced that we’re being scammed by lazy fat bagged designers who vomited forth these 8-bit icons using MS Paint because it took all of five minutes to create, allowing them to spend the rest of their workday surfing pr0n and defending this ugly flat look on forums by proclaiming that it’s the new edgy and cool trend in design.

iOS6 and iOS7 Home Screen Comparison

By the way the 90s called, they’d like their neon colors back.

It’s a FRAUD is what it is.  And I think that’s why just LOOKING at these icons agitates me so much.  Whereas before, you could tell a significant amount of work went into making the old icons, or at least were certainly not anything that could easily be reproduced after a few minutes of using Photoshop.  Actual SKILL and TALENT were needed to create them.

The new icons?  Please.  They’re so basic and bland that even I could replicate them easily, in fact there are others who were able to reproduce the same look in just a few minutes of using standard graphic freeware.  Even more embarrassingly, some of those revised icons made by enthusiasts looked SO much better too.  Meanwhile the serial killer looking Jony Ive who foisted this kindergarten level, neon crap on us recently nabs himself a 17 million dollar home in San Fran.  Really?  What he produced here shouldn’t even be paid minimum wage.  To me he’ll be forever known as the foochball who completely destroyed and ruined the credibility of designers everywhere, because now I’ll forever regard them as lazy, unskilled lying liars from Liarsburg who intentionally created this grotesquely boring, simplistic look in order to reduce their workload, and then have the chutzpah to claim this is an improvement over the previous generation of 3d/skeuomorphic design because it’s MORE HONEST.  OMG, I just can’t even…

Angry fat man overthrows table

Whatever.  The problem is this is an industry wide trend, so it’s not like I can switch from Apple to Droid or (God help me, a Microsoft Phone), because the same stupid flat design is going to plague me there as well.  It was one of the reasons why I liked Apple, because they had a tendency to buck the trend and design according to their in-house standards.  Not anymore it seems.  My only hope then is that there will be enough of a user backlash to force a return (if only merely in part) to the good old days of skeuomorphism and gradients, preferably where the icons finally become dynamic (the way the widgets on Droid phones and tiles on Windows 8 sometimes are).

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12 Responses to Looking at iOS 7, I wonder if flat design is a scam perpetrated on us by lazy and untalented designers

  1. Cautiously Pessimistic September 18, 2013 at 2:08 PM #

    You know, I’ve been thinking. When life gives you lemons, don’t make lemonade. Make life TAKE those lemons BACK. Get mad! I don’t want your damn lemons! What am I supposed to do with these?! Demand to see life’s manager! Make life rue the day it thought it could give Cave Johnson lemons! Do you know who I am?! I’m the guy who’s going to BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN! With the lemons! I’m going to have a team of engineers invent a combustable lemon so I can BURN YOUR HOUSE DOWN!

    • Frank Swift September 18, 2013 at 2:20 PM #

      Channeling Portal 2 I see…

      You know, there really is only one solution for dealing with flat design here:

      Kill it with fire!

    • Maeve September 18, 2013 at 4:06 PM #

      Um, guys, does someone need a cookie or something?

    • Frank Swift September 18, 2013 at 4:27 PM #

      Is it chunky chocolate?

    • Maeve September 18, 2013 at 6:47 PM #

      Yep – Dark chocolate chunk espresso cookies (OK their a ripoff of Soho Charcuterie’s SOHO Globs. ) I’d fight you for the last crumb

    • Frank Swift September 18, 2013 at 7:33 PM #

      Speaking of such I overdosed on chocolate last night at the Shake Shack, having the Shack Attack with… let’s see: chocolate custard, fudge sauce, chocolate truffle cookie dough, dark chocolate chunks, topped with chocolate sprinkles. WINNING!

    • Maeve September 18, 2013 at 10:28 PM #

      How is it you’re not completely comatose?

    • Frank Swift September 18, 2013 at 11:04 PM #

      I’ve built up a pretty good cocoa tolerance, which is probably why I need so much of it. *thumbs up*

    • Maeve September 19, 2013 at 7:56 AM #

      You know Frank, it occurs that you probably should include (in your list of characteristics of a suitable mate) some made chocolate skills of one type or other – either baking or consuming or something. I don’t think you could tolerate life with someone who didn’t share some appreciation of chocolate. Maybe it doesn’t have to be completely on your level of appreciation, but should be more than “take it or leave it”

    • Frank Swift September 19, 2013 at 6:33 PM #

      I assume most sane women would have a healthy appreciation of chocolate, so it doesn’t seem like I would need to make that a prerequisite. Unless we’re talking the ability to bake the most awesomo whoopie pies EVAH.

  2. Olav Alexander Mjelde September 27, 2013 at 3:50 AM #

    The problem is not flat design per say, it’s the terrible exectuion of flat design.
    Stop the acid gradient please, Jony Ives!

    • Frank September 27, 2013 at 10:46 AM #

      I might have gotten on board with flat given how well it’s implemented on Windows 8, but the change from skeuomorphism to flat as a pancake in iOS 7 was so violent and looks so out of place that it actually made me contemplate the impossible: getting a Windows phone again. O_O

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