Wednesday, 2 July 2008

Designing system-software-{update,install} echo icons

Yesterday I started working on system-software-update and system-software-install echo icons. As usual I first explored how's it done in other icons themes. Let's take a look:
Icon Theme system-software-install system-software-update
Gnome Icon Theme
Tango
?
Oxygen
?
Bluecurve
Mac OS X
?

As you can see, there are various designs for the icons, some of which use similar metaphors... I played with some of these designs and added mine, and after discovering that creating axonometric icon with globe and two arrows that would be nice and recognizable is almost impossible, I ended up with these three designs:


After some, so far little, feedback on the fedora-art-list it seems to me that the icon in the middle is best for the system-software-install and the icon on the right for the system-software-update.

What do you think?

Update 1: Following suggestion in the comments, I added another variant - two blue arrows.

Update 2: I added another two variants (they differ in colour only) that better symbolizes the "refresh" part of the update. And I've just noticed that I made the arrows counter-clock-wise :-D Hope it doesn't matter much ;-)
Update 3: Based on the reactions here and on the art-list here are some results:

system-software-install:

system-software-update:

I think for the system-config-update, the second one (two coloured arrows without package) would be probably the best, even though it kind of lacks context. However as it will be in the System->Administration menu, I guess the two arrows, one symbolising removal of buggy software, another addition of new improved one, will work good enough.

9 comments:

red_alert said...

I'd take the icon in the middle for -install.

For -update, I like the one to the right the best as well, but only because there's none to fit better.

The one to the right looks a bit like P2P or something like that (upload/download centered software). I wouldn't know how to change that, tho. The only thing that'd make it a little better that comes to my mind: put the two arrows in front of that box, like the blue arrow is in front of it. That'd give it a common context.

Martin said...

I agree with the p2p thing. It kinda looks like that. Putting it in front of the box makes the icon over too crowded, however :-/

red_alert said...

Maybe another attempt would be to make the two arrows blue like the single one?

Would set them in a common context and IMHO resemble the p2p thing less since green/red arrows are mostly used there, not blue ones.

And two same-colored arrows would resemble the circular arrows from Mac OS X much more, just without being circular, but with the same meaning.

Luya Tshimbalanga said...

Agreed with red_alert. Second icons for system-software-installer and the last icon for system-software-update.

malwkgad said...

I personally think that the last two are not expressing enough the purpose of the application, they might be as well in an applet for network activity (it first occurred to me, as I have not yet read the text) or as someone else pointed out - network application, like bittorrent.
If there are no other options the first ones are better.

Luya Tshimbalanga said...

The last arrows seems to be good as refresh button. It is very interesting how system-software-{update,install} ucons appear to be difficult to represent. How about using Internet icon and trim both arrows?

Martin said...

luya: from a certain point of view, system-software-update is some kind of refresh, thus the refresh analogy might be appropriate for it. Also if we used the two-colour version, it would help to distinguish between software update and ordinary refresh.

Trying to use globe + arrows was the first thing I tried without success, the axonometric perspective seems to get in the way in this particular case. Using the globe icon only seems misleading to me.

Naheem said...

The last two icons do not have any context. (not sure if context is the right word though... they show an action(refresh, update), but not what the action is applied to)

I think putting the package metaphor (which echo seems to use a cardboard box for) in the background might help. Or it might not.

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