For most of us at this point, we’ve been through at least one (or in some cases, many) cycles of new and updated app icons. Many companies have stirred up some controversy when it came to changing what many thought to be, for lack of a better term, their iconic app icon.
Before minimalism was the trend for app icons, and even before apps were absolutely commonplace in our everyday lives, each app icon had a big responsibility. They needed to convey the brand’s message, personality, and product description all in one tiny square.
We all remember YouTube’s old retro TV icon and Instagram’s Polaroid icon. If you think back to the early days of touch screens and iPod Touch apps, you might recall a vast array of colors, shapes, and designs. Some may have felt that this lack of cohesion created a disorganized look, and that may explain why app icon designers have turned to more polished, minimalistic designs instead.
While apps like Facebook and Spotify have made gradual and modest changes, others have totally redone the whole look, sometimes to the criticism of being unrecognizable at first. You might recall Uber’s first icon design, with a black “U” on a grey background. They then shifted to a square and circle combination which was highly unpopular on the internet. Now, the icon is simply the word “Uber” on a black background.
When it comes to app icon design, it seems like nowadays less is more. However, that does not always appeal to everyone. In fact, many people mourn the changes that are made to their beloved app’s icon, and wish they could somehow use the one they grew accustomed to instead.
Now these people can rejoice, because there’s finally a way to do it! A company called MSCHF has got you covered with their Icon Rewind site. All you need to do is open the site on a Safari browser on your iPhone and then follow the simple instructions listed there.
Daniel Greenberg, who is head of strategy at MSCHF, explains that “Nostalgia is a powerful emotion, and one of the most iconic (no pun intended) pieces of nostalgia is old app icons. I cannot tell you how much I miss the old Instagram or Slack icon.”
“Using progressive web apps, we made a way for you to save the OG icons from the web to your iPhone home screen, and when clicking them, it opens the corresponding app,” he continued.
Which app’s icon do you miss the most?