RIM Revamping BlackBerry 10 Icons to Look Like PlayBook Icons?

BlackBerry 10 Icon Mockup home_screen_l_series

Since RIM first showed off BlackBerry 10 I was wondering what design aesthetic they were going with by making all of the home screen icons into rectangles. I know quite a few designers who complained to RIM about this and it looks like RIM has listened. FineBrush (via BBNews.pl) let me know about a thread on CrackBerry forums by UrbanGlowCam who has been following the developments closely.

According to one of his contacts, RIM has changed their icons from 150×150 with a square background to 114×114 size icons with transparent backgrounds sort of like the PlayBook. Personally I think this is a welcome sight with icons showing their focus with silhouettes. UrbanGlowCam noticed that RIM has already updated the BlackBerry 10 Design Guidelines text with this change but it has not yet updated the pictures.

Check it out for yourself here. NOTE: The pictures on the top left of this post is just a mockup by UrbanGlowCam but hopefully we will be seeing the official update from RIM.

Here is a snapshot in time of the design guidelines in case RIM modifies them again:

Application icons

Designing an icon for your BlackBerry smartphone application gives you the opportunity to showcase your application to BlackBerry users. In the BlackBerry World storefront, an icon is the first introduction that users have to your application. The icon also appears on the home screen as the way for users to open your application.

Your icon is placed on a transparent tile automatically with the application name label underneath the icon.

Best practices

The following best practices help your icon fit in with the application icons on the home screen.

  • Create an icon that is a 114 x 114 pixel square. This approach is the best (and easiest) way for your icon to fit in with other BlackBerry application icons. Larger icons will be scaled down to 114 x 114 pixels.
  • Focus on a single iconic metaphor that clearly represents the application. Think of your icon as a road sign that people understand quickly.
  • Base your icon on a square, circle, or rectangle shape.
  • Use a silhouette to differentiate your icon from other icons.
  • Try to maintain consistency with other BlackBerry application icons in scale, volume, and perspective.

Perspective and lighting

  • Apply lighting that is top-down at a 90 degree angle.
  • Create a focal point in the center of the icon.
  • Keep the icon flat and avoid excessive depth.
  • Apply the following properties for drop shadows: distance: 2 pixels, size: 2 pixels, and angle: 90 degrees.

Boundaries

  • Create an icon that is 106 x 106 pixels if you want to allow room for a drop shadow or outer glow.
  • If you use a symbol in your icon, try to make it the same size as the symbols in otherBlackBerry application icons.

Color palette

  • Use a five pixel stroke where appropriate. This is especially important so that icons with a dark background are always visible on the home screen.
  • Limit the number of colors that you use in your icon.

Materials

Limit the number of materials that you use. BlackBerry application icons draw from the following materials: soft plastic, paper, metal, and gloss.

7 total comments on this postSubmit your comment!
  1. The fine points and details are important – on the flip side don’t make it look like iOS or Android either.

    T-2 months, can’t wait to buy!!

  2. A welcome change, for sure. However, the screen itself remains too Android & Apple ish. It’s better now but still not too distinctive.

  3. I think its a welcome change.

    on the other hand, it seems that despite all the changes at RIM, they still havent got their sh*t together just yet. Homescreen and icons have to be top notch. period. What worries me is small stuff like that (that reviews will pick on). Talking about icon pixels, what ticks me off is their screen resolutions overall. BB10 is not out yet, and still they have 3+1 screen resolutions to support, 3 of them being very similar. Playbook (1200xCantRemember), DevAlpha (1200Xclose) and the final one they say will be their standard (1200x?). Plus the rectangle qwerty. Small detail, big ‘negative’ effect.

  4. Which is the proposed one ,on the left or right?

  5. Hope this is indeed the case, the Playbook icons look a lot sharper.

  6. I don’t mind the dev alpha icons. If they were to tweak those a bit by cleaning them up and making them transparent they would look great.

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