address book icon



  • Among all the icons in the drawer, the address book icon sticks out for me. Because of its '90s look.

    I did never understand the meaning of the vertical red bar in the icon. Having had a closer look now, I think this should in fact resemble a bookmark within an old-style paper address book with a photo on the verso page and corresponding data on the recto page. Since I observed this, I don't wonder why it looks '90s: skeuomorphic design.

    Now, I'm not an advocate of flat design either. My simple proposal to improve the icon is removing the red bookmark. The icon then looks more like a business card. Yet, without an explicit rectangular outline – which would again make it really look '90s –, it does not really. (Thanks to @CiberSheep for the recent SVG icon version, which makes testing this quite easy.) What do people think?



  • I daresay my opinion will be unpopular, but I have to say that I really don't understand the preoccupation on this forum with icon design. As long as icons are distinctive, legible and functional, nothing else matters to me. I certainly don't care whether they conform to a theme or any other design precept.



  • @padu said in address book icon:

    [...] My simple proposal to improve the icon is removing the red bookmark. [...] What do people think?

    Let me start joking: is called «address book» hehehe and do business cards come with picture? 😘

    Now more seriously: I guess the ribbon is there because is in the imaginery
    Said that we have new and old style when it comes to the address book symbolic icon

    The truth is, the red ribbon is making the icon different from the rest of bluish ones but I wouldn't oppose to take it away.



  • @cliffcoggin said in address book icon:

    [...] I really don't understand the preoccupation on this forum with icon design

    Thank you for sharing. I would suppose then you don't mind one way or the other then.

    Tip: you can ignore categories of messages from the forum: tap on a category and change «Watching» to «ignoring» in the combo box 😉



  • I was just about to say something similar. address book. A book. Left side photo, right side details, (old-style) bookmark. So the design does make sense somehow.

    Either way people will get used to it. But I do agree with @CiberSheep , the red does add some color to the icon to make it better stick out. But I guess, without it would do the job likewise.

    Just as an idea, would replacing some of the lines with something number-like look good?
    Move photo up a bit, have one line underneath, have some numbers on the right hand side? Hm. 🤔



  • @cliffcoggin Icons are to an app what a cover is to a book. So I do believe, a bad icon can significantly reduce an apps appeal and usage numbers. And they are good fun. 😏
    But certainly there are more important things in life.

    Just installed LibreOffice 7.0.0 at work today and read the release notes. They do put a lot of effort in icon design! There must be something to it.



  • @CiberSheep said in address book icon:

    Thank you for sharing. I would suppose then you don't mind one way or the other then.

    Exactly right, I don't care, however the OP asked for opinions so I gave mine.



  • Personally I like how it is and if we stick with that icon I would like it to keep the ribbon, however, what ever happened to using this icon?

    3a0dc669-0968-44a7-8e15-bb92c8221f06-image.png

    I think both icons are fine but I think this icon meshes a lot better with the icon styles of the messaging, phone and music app, than the current edition, but if we keep with the current icon, I'd prefer it if we kept the splash of red, I think it'd look boring and less eye catching without it.



  • @danfro said in address book icon:

    @cliffcoggin Icons are to an app what a cover is to a book. So I do believe, a bad icon can significantly reduce an apps appeal and usage numbers. And they are good fun. 😏
    But certainly there are more important things in life.

    Just installed LibreOffice 7.0.0 at work today and read the release notes. They do put a lot of effort in icon design! There must be something to it.

    I disagree with your analogy. Nobody with any sense buys a book based on the cover design, any more than they would download an application based on its icon design.



  • @cliffcoggin said in address book icon:

    @danfro said in address book icon:

    @cliffcoggin Icons are to an app what a cover is to a book. So I do believe, a bad icon can significantly reduce an apps appeal and usage numbers. And they are good fun. 😏
    But certainly there are more important things in life.

    Just installed LibreOffice 7.0.0 at work today and read the release notes. They do put a lot of effort in icon design! There must be something to it.

    I disagree with your analogy. Nobody with any sense buys a book based on the cover design, any more than they would download an application based on its icon design.

    If an app has a bad icon I am much less likely to install it, and if I do install it, it is an app I'm more likely to uninstall when I get the chance, I don't like things uglying up my system.



  • @cliffcoggin said in address book icon:

    Nobody with any sense buys a book based on the cover design, any more than they would download an application based on its icon design.

    On the contrary, if you don't spend the effort to have a nice book cover or app icon, then also you probably aren't spending the effort to have a nice user experience, which indicates that people probably won't like your app.



  • @cliffcoggin If that is the case for you, you are one of very few rational people.
    Of course the content matters. But when browsing through (unknown) books, you likely pick the prettiest book. Same applies for chocolate or humans. Otherwise there would be no need for fancy dresses, makeup or product designers. The first impression is important for meetings or dates too.

    But getting off topic I am. 😀



  • @PhoenixLandPirat That icon I don't know, but looks nice too. I guess it is an very old icon? Not sure if it would blend into the other icons that well.



  • @danfro It was made around the same time as the music icon, etc, if I remember correctly, but it was never added to any publicly downloadable version of the OS, I think you might have had to download it in a qa-testing patch?

    I dont know all I know is that it was in loads of screenshots back in the canonical days, but was never added to the OS.



  • @PhoenixLandPirat It looks like a squished version of the one in Yaru: https://github.com/ubuntu/yaru/blob/master/icons/Suru/256x256%402x/apps/address-book-app.png

    So perhaps from the pre-Yaru refresh of Suru that Sam was working on.



  • @CiberSheep said in address book icon:

    Let me start joking: is called «address book»

    I knew this would come up and my answer is renaming it to «contacts», what it is already labelled in the drawer. You know why. But let me explain to the wider audience, because the argument holds for the actual design as well:

    The idea of '90s icon design – the time when there wasn't a computer in every household – is guiding the digitally inexperienced user by depicting real world objects that he can recognize and then click. Hence, the name skeuomorphism. The problem with those icons is that one and the same physical object can be arranged and coloured in so many different ways and no arrangement is better than another. (Do you remember nitty-gritty alternative '90s icon sets?) The way out is abstraction: turning away from physical objects towards non-materialistic objects or objects associated with an action, which can then be approached by a more abstract style.

    An address book contains contact data associated with a person. There we have what UT's address book icon looks like with the bookmark removed. A superb example is the music app: a musical note and everybody knows what that's good for. Let's have a look at what skeuomorphism had to offer: speakers, headphones, a walkman, a gramophone, a vinyl record etc. and any of these in various designs. I like the note.

    The problem with abstract design is that finding proper abstractions for an app can be is hard. I can't claim I'm good at that.

    Final note, abstract design is not to be confused with flat design. The latter is about graphic minimalism. Whether an abstract or material icon, flat design tries to express that with a minimum of strokes and colours. I think, such design works well for in-app icons. But for the drawer, I'd prefer clear, but a little more sophisticated icons.

    Having said that, I'd propose avoiding references to physical objects in UT core app drawer icon design where possible. As well as app naming, but that one may be even harder.

    (Another argument for the address book app in particular. Currently, a user of the app labelled «contacts» in the drawer, shell, and in-app trying to file a bug, first has to learn that the app is actually called «address-book-app». Not ideal.)

    and do business cards come with picture? 😘

    It was just an observation that with the bookmark removed, the imaginary medium carrying picture and some text next to it changes from an old-style address book towards a business card. Just for the shape of the arrangement. I didn't mean to say a business card makes a good icon. That's skeuomorphism at its best. On the contrary, the missing explicit physical medium is what appeals to me and that might work out well for other app icons, too.

    Now more seriously: I guess the ribbon is there because is in the imaginery
    Said that we have new and old style when it comes to the address book symbolic icon

    Stylistic inconsistencies in an open-source project? Never seen that before ... 🙂

    The truth is, the red ribbon is making the icon different from the rest of bluish ones but I wouldn't oppose to take it away.

    I've tinkered with making the red more pale (less saturated). Even though, compromises in graphic design usually do not work out, this could be an intermediate step. Wait and see if people complain.

    As for icons getting lost among similar ones, I do have an idea ... I'll open another topic for that (later).



  • @padu You certainly do have a point with the repo's name. That idealy should be changed to contacts-app.
    Thanks also for your detailed explanation of your point of view.

    So far I never heard any complains about the apps icon. But maybe, using the idea of the other icon, we can get something in the line of the old icon but pick up you idea about not using objects.

    This is just a quick (and not very good) gimp mockup. But hopefully it shows my idea.
    Take the old icons face (maybe even more generalized) and use the colored right side of the other icon.
    This way users will still recognize the icon because it uses some old elements but it is not facilitating an object. (As long as humas don't count as objects. 😀 ).

    icon_mockup.png



  • I don't think that having physical objects to on an icon would be wrong. Here is my example:
    A couple of weeks ago my nas crashed because of hdd failure on the disc that contains the OS. On the nas I had movies, music and tv shows that I ripped from my dvd's and cd's. I was in no hurry to fix the nas because my family hardly used it. A couple of days later my youngest wanted to see a movie and I told her that she couldn't because the nas wasn't working, But her mom told the kid why don't use the dvd's instead. Suddenly they had fun watching movies, they could interact with it, they had do something to make it watchable. Instead of using Kodi and a button on a remote control. I'm not going to use my nas for a quite some time. Because my family enjoys media in hardware form instead. I want icons to make people/users curious. I want icons that looks great no matter if it represent something old or new. The hard part is to please every user out there. The only reason younger people doesn't know anything about "old" hardware when it comes to enjoying media in an "old" way, it's because we the "old" people doesn't give them the chance to do it. Because we the "old" assume that the younger people wants to have the media in a digital none interactive way. Sorry for going of topic, but don't assume to much when it comes to design icons and things, instead make it look great, raise curiosity( I know curiosity killed the cat but it wont kill your phone).



  • @danfro said in address book icon:

    So far I never heard any complains about the apps icon.

    That may be due to the fact that several icons do indeed resemble physical objects, but looking at icons on the phone, details become very subtle. I've only now realized the notes app icon resembling a sheet of paper with solid horizontal lines (which I don't like).

    One more thing to be considered is convergence (I didn't do any test with that so far). On a desktop screen, the now subtle skeuomorphism might become obtrusive again.

    Take the old icons face (maybe even more generalized)

    The person is fine as is.

    and use the colored right side of the other icon.

    I'm not convinced. For one, well, I can only repeat that I quite like the absence of any physical reference in the current icon (without the bookmark). Second, you're using a trick, to bring back the colour. Regardless of whether this trick works out, I have hard time seeing how to transpose that trick to other icons. For a singular icon, I'd rather not go that route.

    but it is not facilitating an object. (As long as humas don't count as objects.).

    I think a stylized human is perfectly fine. You don't carry humans in your pocket or bag and touch and snatch them several times a day. It refers to the non-materialistic idea of a person here.

    The line is indeed blurry. For a mailing app, I think an envelope would again be fine. Don't know exactly why. Maybe because an envelope is an ephemeral/elusive object that is coupled to an action. Folding a letter then putting it into the envelope, writing down the address, throwing the envelope into the postbox. On the other end ripping up the envelope, throwing it away. Maybe just because an envelope already has a geometric shape that naturally blends well with other abstract icons.



  • @padu said in address book icon:

    One more thing to be considered is convergence (I didn't do any test with that so far). On a desktop screen, the now subtle skeuomorphism might become obtrusive again.

    Leading me to the question if convergence was an idea back in Canonical times already or if this was born when UBports took over?


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