My Own Good, Bad, & Ugly Icon List

by Christopher Paul on June 16, 2011

Yesterday, I posted a response to Ben Brooks’ list of good, bad, and ugly icons found in the iOS store. I gave my thoughts, shared them with Ben – who pointed out to me that 1Password’s icon in the App Store is different from when you use the app on your device. That has since been correct.

So let’s jump right into my Good list:

Tweet It

Tweet It

Tweet It is my go-to app for Tweeting. It simple in that it only does one thing – tweet. And like the app, the icon is simple. It’s a simple representation of a bird but isn’t the ugly Twitter bird found in the official apps. Nor is a bunch of chat bubbles, eggs, or blue.

The Weather

The Weather

Again, simple not overly complicated elegant and unique. I might have a thing for grey icons but its a perfect example of a distinctive yet beautiful icon which clearly identifies what it’s all about.

Shine

Shine  Weather at a Glance

I love Shine. It’s icon, while not obviously weather related (even though it is clearly the Sun), is simple, colorful and distinctive. It’a also my favorite weather app and I only use The Weather when I want to check the radar & National Weather Service Advisories.

Delivery Status

Delivery Status touch a package tracker

Not much to say here…it looks like a package. Nothing confusing or distracting.

Penultimate

Penultimate

This is a great iPad app if you want to capture handwritten notes. The icon conveys exactly what its supposed to do. Like Reeder for the iPad, it has a little flip on the lower right. But while it serves no purpose on Reeder, it is a key feature of Penultimate. The colors are easy on the eyes and the shadowed pen isn’t distracting.

Now, for the bad:

Skype

Skype

I hate this icon. First, I can’t stand the shade of blue. Second, I dislike like icons with a single letter. Third, I hate the bubble like features of the Skype logo. But the main reason I hate the icon is the excessive white in the icon. It blinds me and I think I would have preferred the blue background with the green Skype logo.

Evernote

Evernote

Again with the flips. But unlike Penultimate, I don’t know why the corner is turned. Plus, don’t equate elephants with data collection and organization. Elephants never forget, right? But this combination of green and grey has be forgetting this app every time. Plus, I hate the curved shine/highlight that on the top of the icon.

Rdio

Rdio

Rdio’s icon isn’t so bad but the note is somewhat lost on me and so I tend to think I forget what app its for and what it’s purpose is.

Tweetbot

Tweetbot  A Twitter Client with Personality

Something about the ‘bot’ series of apps that I don’t like. At least it’s unique. But it’s not an attractive icon even though it shares the twitter blue and the robotic beak of a tweeting bot. Again, with the shine.

The Bad:

FTP on the Go

FTP On The Go

This icon is hideous. Complicated, busy, with conflicting colors and shades that are hard on the eyes. The globe is equally distracting because that blue conflicts with the blue arrow on the right.

GroupMe

GroupMe™

While it’s a simple icon, I have NO IDEA WHAT IT MEANS. At least with the others, I can somehow figure it out if I stare long enough. What is GroupMe anyway? I downloaded it but no I know uses it. That tells you something.

MobileMe Gallery

MobileMe Gallery

Just like the Photos, I find the gallery icon ugly. Busy, overly colorful, and the colors of the sea and sky don’t meet in the center well when seeing it really small on a device. And there’s that shine again.

CardStar

CardStar

Need I say more? Oh… And that shine is back. Is there no originality in creating highlights in apps?

Groupon

Groupon

Again, with the single letters in the icon. The colors and the size of the ‘G’ just disgust me. It doesn’t say what Groupon does and by the grace of the tech press do I know what it is. I also know that like it’s icon, in I don’t know what it is by looking at it, I don’t know how it makes money.

There are a few other icons that certinaly deserve to be in the ugly category. In fact, there are more ugly icons than there are good icons. It takes a certain dedication and thought to design an icon that compliments the product/service, is simple, effective, and beautiful to look at.

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