In Defense of Designers Dismay

You’ve seen the new iOS 7 user interface design (and if not, check it out). You might have also seen the large amount of tweets, posts, and mock Tumblrs with designers complaining about iOS 7’s new look. There are many out there who are annoyed or enjoying making fun of designers who dislike the new design.

Why do we criticize? Because, we are designers.

We’re not complaining for the sake of complaining. We have our own thoughts and solutions on how to solve UI and UX problems with iOS. We don’t work at Apple, but many designers do look up to Apple’s team for their innovation in product design and their ability to amaze us with (almost) every change.

Did you see the new Mac Pro? To think that a piece of hardware with that many specs could be housed in a tiny capsule you can place just about anywhere is amazing! And there are people who think the Darth Vader look is un-Apple-like.

And that’s fine! We all have opinions. However, opinions are only as good as the reasoning to back it up and possible solutions for change.

That’s where the Dribbblers come in. Many have offered their own interpretation of what they think the layout should look like. Others have gone to Dribbble to parody and joke about the new design. If you browse Dribbble now, you’ll see a sea of iOS 7 icons and layout designs everywhere.

But these are all expressions of designers who work in the field and understand how certain designs can solve particular problems. The fluorescent, flat look may be nice for Apple now if it’s the new direction they are going in, but many don’t see Apple that way. But if it’s Apple’s choice, then they can go with it. In return, designers are entitled to their opinions on it too, even if it creates a little noise in the meantime.

To say that designers should not vocalize their opinions about other companies design work is ridiculous.

Remember the Gap logo change? How about WeightWatchers?

We, as designers, need to have opinions. Otherwise, everyone would agree and nothing would ever change or innovate. Remember, it was Apple who used the phrase, “Think different.” Just because we may disagree with their design choices, doesn’t mean it may not work for them, nor does it mean that we are just mindlessly complaining and making noise.

And if the real issue is the amount of that noise on social media… just wait a week.

UPDATE: Right after posting this, MacRumors reports that Jony Ive put Apple’s marketing team behind iOS 7 icon design, not their app design team. It all makes sense now!

  • adc

    Dude, totally. I am already seeing some folks who are trying to force themselves to like the new stuff…because it’s Apple. Come on, every designer makes poor decisions. It’s part of the process. That includes a company like Apple. What matters is how they learn from criticism, refine, improve etc. What I have loved is seeing people throwing out their own (IMHO) better designs on Dribbble. Way to go. That’s what it’s all about.

    Apple, nor anybody else, hold a monopoly on great or poor (e.g. Microsoft) design decisions.

  • adc

    Regarding using the marketing team – 1) it totally looks like that happened, or 2) they just got thrown under the mega-bus. Bizarre decision either way.