iOS 7 has some really delightful visual flourishes to it. But, the one aspect that seems to be particularly troublesome for people is the icon design.
First of all, many of the new icons were primarily designed by members of Apple’s marketing and communications department, not the app design teams. From what we’ve heard, SVP of Design Jony Ive (also now Apple’s head of Human Interaction) brought the print and web marketing design team in to set the look and color palette of the stock app icons. They then handed those off to the app design teams who did their own work on the ‘interiors’, with those palettes as a guide.
I’m firmly in the “these are hideous” camp. The Safari icon in particular irks me no end. It looks cramped and miss-sized. Like watching a 320p youtube video on your 55inch TV.
I also don’t understand Ive’s comments about building the icons on a grid. What are they hoping to achieve with that? Yes, the stock icons may be consistent to a point (although it’s really a stretch with some of them), but what about the 90% of icons that aren’t designed by Apple? Unless they’re enforcing this grid based design on all apps, it seems utterly pointless.
I’m also ever so slightly terrified of how this new UI style scales up to the iPad.
Fortunately, as pointed out in the TNW article, the design is still very much in a state of flux and the icons in particular are likely to change. Thankfully.