I waited impatiently The iOS app icon book by Michel Flaup since its first announcement in 2018. The book is at the center of the topics that are at the heart of MacStories: applications, application preservation and design. As a result, my expectations were high and I’m happy to report that it didn’t disappoint. If you care about apps, you’ll love it The iOS app icon book.
The cover of The iOS app icon book sets the tone with a large iridescent circle, the shape that defines each app icon. It is the canvas on which each application icon is created. The squircle has become iconic in its own right, creating a cohesive thread that ties together disparate designs into a cohesive whole. The glitter foil used for the book’s squircle is a great touch that hints at the colorful variety of icons between its conversations.
The iOS app icon book is an art book at its core. The pages of the book are filled with icons of varying sizes, but the book also contains essays by Flarup, a foreword by At Bjango Marc Edwards, a history of iOS iconography by Jim Nielsen, and the profiles of a dozen designers and design studios. The book focuses firmly on the icons themselves, but I’m glad the essays and profiles were included. Trials provide an outlet for anyone who comes across The iOS app icon book and wants to know more about the history and design of icons, while profiles put a face to some of the artwork on its pages.
Of course, the stars of The iOS app icon book are the icons themselves. Each high-resolution image is reproduced in vivid color on high-quality paper that makes browsing through the pages of the book a pleasure. As someone who writes about apps, I enjoyed flipping through the pages, rediscovering app icons from the early days of the App Store alongside icons of apps I use every day. It’s a thoughtful mix of old and new that blends the context of early app iconography with current design trends.
As you leaf through The iOS app icon book, you will find that the icons are arranged in different ways. Some are grouped by color, while others are organized by theme, such as pages featuring food, games, and photography apps. My favorite part of The iOS app icon book, however, are the pages that trace the evolution of specific icons. Each version is dated and connected by horizontal lines to indicate its lineage. It’s fascinating to see the directions designers have taken for app icons over the years.
The only thing that The iOS app icon book doesn’t do what I would have liked to see, is trace the evolution of the icons used for some of Apple’s system apps. This might not have been possible given the need to secure the rights to the artwork for printing in a book. However, it would have been interesting to see how much Apple’s design work influenced third-party designers.
iOS app icons are the first thing users encounter when they download an app and use it for the first time. Icons set the tone and personality of an app. It’s an important part of the app experience that has a rich history on iOS. The iOS app icon book brings this story to life in a way that immediately had me flipping through its pages, rediscovering old favorites, and studying the details of icons I had never encountered before. I highly recommend it to anyone interested in apps and design.
The iOS app icon book is still available for pre-order for €60.00 on its website.