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Does Gwibber Need a New Icon?

The icon for Ubuntu’s default social client Gwibber is nice enough but could it be better?

Gwibber's Current Icon

Gwibber developer Ken VanDine has noted interest in replacing the current icon, pictured above, with something new.

Elephants/long time readers may remember that a new logo for the app was semi-mooted in April 2010 though ultimately never used.

Feedback on two design proposals by Abi Rasheed is being sought on the Gwibber wikiWhilst both of Abi’s designs are good efforts I can’t help but find them to be a little bit on the ‘busy‘ side.

Gwibber Icon Proposals by Abi Rasheed

Ideal Icon

An ideal icon should do a handful of things: visually represent the purposes of application so that just glancing at it tells you what it does; use branding/application colours (if applicable); and look good!

Using text in icons is always a no-no as icons often need to scale from 16x16px small to who-knows how huge. Likewise, the overuse of gloss, effects, frames and busy backgrounds all help to muddle the meaning. If an icon makes a user think “That’s pretty… but what’s it for?” then it’s not doing its job.

The best icons are simple. Simple is always understood. Imagine there was no text below each of the icons below – would you still be able to tell what they were for?

Icon examples

Good Ideas

As an example of a simple idea that works take a look at the following hand-drawn mock-ups (passed on to me by fellow OMG! writer Jonathan Meek who chanced upon them in the Gwibber IRC). The ideas combine two things: branding (‘G’ for Gwibber), and the ‘social aspect’ of the client (the speech bubble).

Gwibber Logo Proposal

Sadly I don’t know who created them if you do let me know in the comments so I can add accreditation.

Over to You

What do you think the perfect Gwibber icon should look like? If you’re bored why not fire up Inkscape or The GIMP and create something?

Share your concepts and ideas in the comments below. We’ll feature the best ideas in a future post.