New Adobe icons suck

Hey, I’m getting bashed in comments for being too anti-Microsoft. Which is funny seeing that if you search Google for Demo of the Year a post I made about a Microsoft product comes up. I still haven’t seen a better demo this year.

Anyway, I’m not just into bashing Microsoft when it deserves it, but other companies too. Adobe got on Fred’s radar screen with the new Photoshop icons.

Using ASCII characters in an icon? Come on Adobe. You’re the king of using graphics and photos. Put a freaking photo onto the icon. It’s “Photoshop” remember?

But, icons are branding opportunities and tell me one thing. Will this “brand” do well in, say, China? How about Japan?

No.

Adobe should invest in imagery and iconography that’ll transcend cultural, language, and other barriers.

The problem is you should have a single icon that works everywhere for training purposes.

I remember when I was in China at a computer show and I needed to demonstrate NetMeeting. I could do it cause I knew what the icons looked like.

But, even better, look at how Firefox uses its icon to market itself. It’s on Tshirts. Stickers. Posters (one was hanging in a company I interviewed at yesterday).

I look at the XML icon and that’s a bit different. First of all, RSS and XML were aimed at geeks for the first few years of their life. So, they needed to communicate a bit about what was underneath (note that the newer Feed Icon is becoming much more popular — partly cause it doesn’t look so darn American-centric on, say, Chinese Web sites).

76 thoughts on “New Adobe icons suck

  1. “There isn’t a company or product in the world worst than M$, but the truth of the matter is, Adobe is beginning to catch up.”

    Lets take a look a Coke for a second. Not Coca Cola. Crack Cocaine. Is this product less harmful than Microsoft…?

    Look At Enron, screwed their investors of ridiculous amounts of money….

    Look At Microsoft, they used their monopoly to gain control of a capatilistic market and stunted computer innovation for about a decade…. Yeah Microsoft is the fucking devil.

    Look At Adobe, they changed their logo set for their new creative software suite ZOMG!!!!!

    I hate hyperbole slinging, melodramatic idiots.

  2. “There isn’t a company or product in the world worst than M$, but the truth of the matter is, Adobe is beginning to catch up.”

    Lets take a look a Coke for a second. Not Coca Cola. Crack Cocaine. Is this product less harmful than Microsoft…?

    Look At Enron, screwed their investors of ridiculous amounts of money….

    Look At Microsoft, they used their monopoly to gain control of a capatilistic market and stunted computer innovation for about a decade…. Yeah Microsoft is the fucking devil.

    Look At Adobe, they changed their logo set for their new creative software suite ZOMG!!!!!

    I hate hyperbole slinging, melodramatic idiots.

  3. Pingback: The Adobe Wheel
  4. There isn’t a company or product in the world worst than M$, but the truth of the matter is, Adobe is beginning to catch up. They’ve really screwed things up in recent years. All hopes that the Macromedia aquisition would help boost Adobe’s cluelessness when it comes to Web Tools has since marched into oblivion. Adobe killed Macromedia big time, and now the icons are just another symptom of their staggering downward spiral.

  5. There isn’t a company or product in the world worst than M$, but the truth of the matter is, Adobe is beginning to catch up. They’ve really screwed things up in recent years. All hopes that the Macromedia aquisition would help boost Adobe’s cluelessness when it comes to Web Tools has since marched into oblivion. Adobe killed Macromedia big time, and now the icons are just another symptom of their staggering downward spiral.

  6. I could be wrong, but I would imagine that the icons for PS CS3 are probably the way they are becuase it’s in beta?

  7. I could be wrong, but I would imagine that the icons for PS CS3 are probably the way they are becuase it’s in beta?

  8. I am a big fan of Adobe. Are you sure those are “official” Adobe icons? If yes, I am little bit disappointed. Macromedia always have excellent icon and branding. Adobe always have good illustration or image.

    Adobe just release a multimedia email campaign for their loyal customer. And they did such excellent job in concept, drawing, multimedia design.

    This doesn’t sound like Adobe at all. What happen here? Can Adobe call me for usability test? I’ll tell them.

  9. I am a big fan of Adobe. Are you sure those are “official” Adobe icons? If yes, I am little bit disappointed. Macromedia always have excellent icon and branding. Adobe always have good illustration or image.

    Adobe just release a multimedia email campaign for their loyal customer. And they did such excellent job in concept, drawing, multimedia design.

    This doesn’t sound like Adobe at all. What happen here? Can Adobe call me for usability test? I’ll tell them.

  10. I started a Photoshop CS3 group on flickr and was using the CS2 icon before I had the beta on my machine. When I finally saw the new icon I wasn’t really sure what to think. For the group I opted for a mixture between the new and the old, just so people that didn’t have the beta would still make a strong visual association.

    That being said, I’ve never been a big fan of the CS2 icons. When you have the whole creative suite in your OSX dock, they don’t make sense. Which one’s the feature, the shell, and the butterflies again? Eventually you learn.

    As for brand building through icons… Photoshop is a superbrand. The icons are almost totally inconsequential. Photoshopping is recognized verb. The icon could be a poop-brown square and it really wouldn’t hardly affect the brand at all.

  11. I started a Photoshop CS3 group on flickr and was using the CS2 icon before I had the beta on my machine. When I finally saw the new icon I wasn’t really sure what to think. For the group I opted for a mixture between the new and the old, just so people that didn’t have the beta would still make a strong visual association.

    That being said, I’ve never been a big fan of the CS2 icons. When you have the whole creative suite in your OSX dock, they don’t make sense. Which one’s the feature, the shell, and the butterflies again? Eventually you learn.

    As for brand building through icons… Photoshop is a superbrand. The icons are almost totally inconsequential. Photoshopping is recognized verb. The icon could be a poop-brown square and it really wouldn’t hardly affect the brand at all.

  12. It ain’t ASCII, Robert. It’s a font. Hip geek talk is misleading in this cae. It’s an alphabet. It’s letter-shapes. It’s colors. ASCII is a generic table of letters, whereas these are designed forms, particular expressions of the alphabet.
    While I agree that the Firefox icon is strong and memorable, it’s not a compelling counterexample to the problem that Adobe needed to solve: creating a brand family for three-dozen or so products. That said, the solution still hasn’t grown on me. Aping upper-case, lower-case pairing of the symbols for chemical elements is trite. With elements upper and lower case works because the two-letter symbols still represent a single word. In this case, it seems to fit for Ps (Photoshop) but not Ai (Adobe Illustrator). Why do some products include an A for Adobe and some not? It’s arbitrary and mysterious–or as we say in the business, a design choice ;-)

  13. It ain’t ASCII, Robert. It’s a font. Hip geek talk is misleading in this cae. It’s an alphabet. It’s letter-shapes. It’s colors. ASCII is a generic table of letters, whereas these are designed forms, particular expressions of the alphabet.
    While I agree that the Firefox icon is strong and memorable, it’s not a compelling counterexample to the problem that Adobe needed to solve: creating a brand family for three-dozen or so products. That said, the solution still hasn’t grown on me. Aping upper-case, lower-case pairing of the symbols for chemical elements is trite. With elements upper and lower case works because the two-letter symbols still represent a single word. In this case, it seems to fit for Ps (Photoshop) but not Ai (Adobe Illustrator). Why do some products include an A for Adobe and some not? It’s arbitrary and mysterious–or as we say in the business, a design choice ;-)

  14. I hate to bring this up, but it’s quite possible that the graphic artist people just haven’t gotten around to getting the approval for the icons.

  15. I hate to bring this up, but it’s quite possible that the graphic artist people just haven’t gotten around to getting the approval for the icons.

  16. Picture this scenario: You are trying to use a computer in Japanese (or some other language which you are not familiar with) and need to be able to find your way around. The text is all in Kanji and Katakana, and you can’t read any of it. The keyboard layout is also going to be unfamiliar most of the time, so you can’t rely on that either. You need to change a setting, so you manage to find the control panel. Once you get there, instead of icons you are greeted by a bunch of different squares in assorted shades of blue, with more kanji on them. This leaves you nothing but trial and error to find what you’re looking for.

    I do globalization testing, and although I do know a fair bit of German (which is what I do a lot of my work in,) I also have to work a lot in Japanese, which I know basically nothing of. On an unfamiliar language, I frequently have to rely on a combination of icons and keyboard shortcuts (which, thankfully, are the same as the ENU counterparts on most Windows apps) to get around. Once you start replacing that with text, anyone in that situation is pretty much lost.

  17. Picture this scenario: You are trying to use a computer in Japanese (or some other language which you are not familiar with) and need to be able to find your way around. The text is all in Kanji and Katakana, and you can’t read any of it. The keyboard layout is also going to be unfamiliar most of the time, so you can’t rely on that either. You need to change a setting, so you manage to find the control panel. Once you get there, instead of icons you are greeted by a bunch of different squares in assorted shades of blue, with more kanji on them. This leaves you nothing but trial and error to find what you’re looking for.

    I do globalization testing, and although I do know a fair bit of German (which is what I do a lot of my work in,) I also have to work a lot in Japanese, which I know basically nothing of. On an unfamiliar language, I frequently have to rely on a combination of icons and keyboard shortcuts (which, thankfully, are the same as the ENU counterparts on most Windows apps) to get around. Once you start replacing that with text, anyone in that situation is pretty much lost.

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