Doug Bowman on the New Icon for Twitter for iPhone (Née Tweetie)

Twitter lead designer Doug Bowman, responding on Dribbble to a proposed more-Tweetie-like icon for the newly rebranded Twitter for iPhone:

The best version used more blue for the bird, but retained the exact same silver color of Tweetie’s icon. I thought it was the best choice of everything we had. For several reasons I won’t go into, we opted for the version the app uses now.

Everyone loves to kibitz about app icons. Any app that ever changes its icon is going to generate complaints, no matter what. It’s the one part of the app that every (sighted) user is guaranteed to see and notice.

My biggest complaint about the new Twitter for iPhone icon is that the little birdie icon they’re using is the same icon Twitter displays for users who haven’t set a custom avatar. Which users, in turn, are generally utterly uninteresting to me. Go through Twitter’s trending lists to read tweets from random users, and notice how the ones with the generic Twitter bird avatar are generally just full of hashtag gibberish. More often, I run into it as the avatar representing spambot accounts. So I’ve come to associate this icon with something mildly unpleasant, sort of like the “missing image” icon in a web browser. If this is a logo mark Twitter wants to associate with the company, they should stop associating it with their worst users. (The Twitter for Android app uses the “t” logo mark for its icon — a mark that I more strongly associate with Twitter as a company.)

Wednesday, 26 May 2010