The dust generated from Apple’s latest brouhaha design, iOS 7, hasn’t settled and already Apple’s design crew is dusting off the past, and recreating the future, yet again. If you haven’t heard, iOS 7’s first beta versions contained a new way to display fonts, and to show off their design skills, Apple’s designers went with Helvetica Neue Light and pastel app icons straight from Seventeen and Teen Vogue.
That’s right, someone at Apple left a Mac open and the cleaning crew, a bunch of young women from Guatemala with green card aspirations and a penchant for girly girl design trends, circa 1970, changed iOS 7’s fonts and app icons to match their youthful ambitions and desire to own Fisher Price toys.
And the crowd roared.
Rather, most of us who looked at the early beta versions of iOS 7 said something was foul in Jonny Iveland. Helvetica Neue Light? Pastel icons? Really? Seriously?
Either bowing to pressure from those of us who watch Apple closely enough to exchange beads of sweat with the company’s sales associates at an Apple Store, or recognizing that what plays well for teenagers in Guatemala probably won’t play well in Peoria, Jonny Ive and crew have made needed adjustments to the latest beta version of iOS 7.
Gone is Helvetica Neue Light (not that there’s anything wrong with that), replaced by the ever more popular and decidedly middle class Helvetica Neue (a straight font if there ever was one). Even some of Apple’s app icons have received a nip and a tuck and a little surgery to bring them more in line with what our eyes expect on a smartphone screen, vs. what would happen if pastel and neon mated.
That’s a step in the right direction, and it’s possible that with two or three or 12 more beta versions, Jonny Ive’s design team will settle on a font that’s actually readable, and come up with a few icons that actually visually describe what the app does, instead of, you know, assault the eyeballs.
Do these changes really matter? Probably not. Everyone already knows that graphic design is purely subjective anyway.