CS5 icons

Adobe, being ever the forward-looking company, has been working on Creative Suite 5 from the moment CS4 hit shelves. Beta tests and feature previews have been sneaking out over the past few weeks, and recently we’ve been given a preview as to the icon system and desktop branding for CS5. Our preview comes from an article in Inspire, one of Adobe’s own publications. (Don’t call it a blog, damn you.)

So, let’s talk about these alleged icons.

As we can see, the CS3 and CS4 icons used the Periodic Table-inspired theme to create order and consistency across the [rather immense] product line.

Under designer Ryan Hicks, a new system was born. Using color as a primary reference point and representing apps by a two-letter mnemonic, the Brand Team implemented a system that was both beautiful and functional. Users could easily distinguish one application from another at even the smallest sizes—a real challenge at times with the feathers and starfish icons of the early CS systems. At the time, the user community had mixed reactions, but over the years, the new system has proven to be immensely popular. We have watched with joy and amusement the appearance of countless imitators and fun surprises like hand-made CS3 pillows.

So are we departing from the trend? I, for one, wouldn’t mind simply putting a screened-back 5 in the square and calling it a day, but as we can see, there is a new trend developing. The article states how “[Adobe’s] goal was to move beyond the monolithic expression of of the CS3 and CS4 systems and create a more dynamic language. We wanted to bring back inspirational and aspirational artistic qualities …”

As you might suspect, the above icons are not the final representations, so we’ll have to wait and see what develops.

What are your thoughts? Do you want to see a return to picto-style icons for each application? Or are you happy with the two-letter combinations that define the product title? How about becoming 3D and breaking the generally-flat, buttonesque manner of the CS3/4 icons?

Oh, now I’m all anxious and shit.