The Iconfactory is a design company that helps create interface designs and icons for various apps. With the impending release of iOS 7 and the flat redesign that's coming with it, the company has published a blog post detailing what the shift to flat icons means for designers.
At first glance the idea of creating flat icons for iOS seems like it should be easier to accomplish. Iconfactory doesn't agree. In their view, creating flat icons requires distilling an image down to its most basic parts, while still retaining the recognizable details that users associate with the apps they use. In a new blog post, the design firm breaks this idea down further:
If you assume that Apple's flat style makes it easier and faster to create a great app icon, think different. Those tiny illustrations have a tall order to fill. At a basic level app icons are a tool for getting us to pay attention, but we also want them to be beautiful images that make us say, "Wow, I want that." Just because flat looks simple doesn't mean it is. It's not about the style. Fundamentally it's about problem solving; crafting a small, unique image that creates connection with an app at a glance and makes us engage on a visceral level.
To further help illustrate what it takes to transition an app icon into the flattened gems you can expect to see in the fall, the company has published a post showcasing the process they took redesigning xScope's Mirror app. For a look at the various stages of design the app's icon went through, including the final product, head over to their blog here. It's an interesting read for those of us who enjoy good design, but weren't blessed with the artistic chops to do it ourselves.