The New Version of Photoshop and <gasp!> a New Icon!

Posted Thursday, December 21st, 2006 at 06:00 PM


Adobe Photoshop has become an industry standard and a powerhouse application for all things graphics. There’s no such thing as a graphic designer who doesn’t know a thing or two about Photoshop. If they didn’t, they would be hard-pressed to find any job in this field in today’s market.

Adobe Photoshop CS3 beta was released to the general public last Friday. I’ve been using it all week and it’s about twice as fast as CS2 on an Intel Mac, since CS2 was running under Rosetta emulation. After switching to the Mac at work, doing anything in CS2 has been a chore. There was a slight lag after clicking on anything, and opening and saving files was maddening slow. The CS3 beta has been great–lots of new features, but I’m most happy about the speed.


There’s been a lot of talk about the icon though. Let’s take a walk down memory lane and look at the evolution of Adobe Photoshop’s application icon:

Adobe Photoshop icon evolution

A nice, steady progression of icon design, especially when you see how the iconic “Photoshop eye” evolved. They even changed the design direction at one point from the eye to a stylized feather, but still a nice-looking icon. (I rather liked the Photoshop eye myself)

And now…I give you, the brand-new CS3 icon!

Adobe Photoshop PS3 icon

… <cricket > <cricket >

When I first saw it, I figured Adobe hadn’t finished the icon and this was simply a placeholder until it was finished. After all, it is still a beta. What got everyone’s attention was when yesterday, John Nack on the Adobe blogs posted an entry confirming that it was the final icon design.

If you read the comments on his post, some by respected designers in the field, the reception has been lukewarm. Ok, they pretty overwhelmingly hate it. It gets worse. In that blog entry, he unveiled the icons for the rest of the forthcoming Adobe applications:

Adobe icons

Ok, while I agree it’s a good idea to brand each application with it’s own color on the color-wheel, these icons just show a lack of imagination to me. Two white letters on top of a square of color…I could’ve designed these! These applications at higher resolutions/smaller sizes, are going to be indistinguishable. Ya could’ve at least kept the old CS2 icons.

Just to give you an idea of how silly the icon looks when next to any other app icon, here’s what it looks like in my dock. The ugly blue box sandwiched between better-designed icons:

The Adobe Photoshop CS3 icon in my dock

As Jason Santa Maria put it, “this is an utter design failure.”

Oh, and, Merry Christmas everyone!

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