This is a very old entry — images are small, formatting is off.
Mozilla’s Firefox seems to hold a place dear in web designers’ and developers’ hearts as a bastion of open sourceness; to be honest, I’m not the most well versed in these matters so I don’t know if there are better open source browser options that have more street cred than Firefox — I’m sure there is some browser in beta called Cucumber (or whatever) that is more hardcore. But I digress. Point is that with Firefox there are no secrets, no here-is-the-latest-thing-and-you-will-like-it, it’s all about involving others. And their process to upgrade their huggable, foxy icon to coincide with the release of Firefox 3.5 was no different. Perhaps to an excruciating degree.
Back in May, on the blog of Alex Faaborg, Principal Designer on Firefox, the process of redesigning the icon began, then we got a rare chance of seeing the brief for the redesign, where they also let us know that, rather than going back to near-legend Jon Hicks (who did the logo back in the cave ages of 2007) for the upgrade they were going to work with Iconfactory. And then the design process began with “Iteration 1.” And, lord have mercy on the designers, they posted another 13 iterations for the public to comment. You can access all iterations from this final post, I don’t have the mettle to take you through all of them.
As I mentioned in the opening paragraph, this was excruciating, at least for me and putting myself in Iconfactory’s shoes. I can’t imagine putting up every two (or four or eight) hours worth of work up for feedback before proceeding. Specially when all the iterations are things that you can decide on your own or in feedback with the client with a simple exchange. Making a big deal out of every iteration is, well, just making a big deal of it. But, definitely, major golf claps for exposing the whole process for everyone to see, I think it’s a great exercise.
Old Firefox logo in black and white, with new Firefox logo in color overlaid.
Specially when the changes are so minimal. Looking at the before and after images requires Sherlockian powers of deduction, even more so than with yesterday’s Victoria’s Secret post. The changes are very subtle and, if you ask me, they are as good as the original intentions of the logo. I can’t say it’s an improvement because I don’t think there wasn’t anything in the previous one, merely two years old, that needed 14 iterations to improve. This is simply two ways of rendering a fox over a non-descript globe. You can make it more furry, you can make it less furry. You can have more land, you can have less land. You can have more shine, you can have less shine. Etcetera. Both options are perfectly acceptable. You could even see the inverse exercise, with Jon Hicks coming in in 2009 and fixing Iconfactory’s logo from 2007. This isn’t a shot to either company, as both icons are perfectly well crafted but it’s a clear case of tomato and tomahto. Or, well, fox and fohx.
Thanks to Paul Quinn for first tip.