Whose iOS 7 icons are better, Sir Jonathan Ive’s or student designer Leo Drapeau’s?

An iOS 7 redesign posted on Dribbble.com, and online community for designers, was “created by 20-year old UI/UX designer Leo Drapeau [and] has, as of today, reached over 97,000 views,” Sarah Perez reports for TechCrunch.

“Drapeau, who’s currently living in Paris and is pursuing his Bachelor’s in Web Design at a school called EEMI, says he made his version of the redesign in a few hours,” Perez reports. “‘I was following the WWDC keynote, and I was really excited about the overall UX and UI changes and evolutions in iOS 7, but the icons of the homescreen bugged me,’ he explains. ‘So, I just wanted to refined them a little, to make them cleaner and more harmonized, but not to reinvent the whole design.'”

Perez reports, “The student designer’s work has clearly struck a chord. The set of iOS 7 images now has ten pages and hundreds of comments, most of them positive and some offering tips as to how the design could be improved a bit further with minor tweaks.”

Apple's iOS 7 Beta 1 (left), Leo Drapeau's iOS 7 makeover (right)
Apple’s iOS 7 Beta 1 (left), Leo Drapeau’s iOS 7 makeover (right)

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Yeah, um, Jony et al., you lose (on consistent light source, certain sizing, and the settings icon, among others). If you haven’t already, send Leo an offer letter now.

Of course, once you organize your stuff into folders and change your wallpaper, iOS 7 looks markedly different than what you see on Apple’s site. Something more like this:

Apple's basic iOS 7 example on the left vs. a MacDailyNews iPhone 5 running iOS 7 on the right.
Apple’s basic iOS 7 example (left) vs. a MacDailyNews iPhone 5 running iOS 7 with apps in folders (right).


    1. So sorry, Leo ‘Samsung’ Drapeau has clearly invented a completely different layout to that released by Apple and they are therefore ‘unavailable’ for Apple to copy.

      1. I just read Leo’s post. What an arrogant little dude. He says “So, I kept the same design direction…” Kept the same design direction? You copied the entire thing and made some minor tweaks. Grow up and create something of your own.

        1. Careful now Jensen, Ives had access to all the raw vectors and made tweaks to many app icons too, disregarding the shadows, highlights, textures – Ives then created some strange Flowery Free Feelie abstract icons too. Ives even got carried away with detail on some like Newsstand.

          Design is subjective, and there are a thousand nos… very few yeses, and so the design continues to refine even re-simplify until focus comes to a clear absolute… the perfect solution.

          And Jensen, the thought on iOS is FEEL, the abstract icon apps provide emotional responses, though none of the other apps do, why is there this inconsistency – why do we see such obvious errors from our beloved Ives? Don’t settle for mediocre. Don’t be a lemming. Apple is not perfect. This after all is a new beginning for Apple.. open-source designing – lol.

          This one comes from graphic design student Lewis Jones, who says: “It’s never too early for a re-design, right? I tried to keep that bright colour scheme and flat design they were going for but looking a bit nicer (in my opinion).”

          1. Careful? I really don’t get you guys. The Apple icons are the result of years of design evolution and refinement. And they’re not finished. Some kids spend “a few hours” tweaking them and then take credit for superior design? Classic Salieri narcissism. Lewis Jones’s work is total amateur. Leo’s is ok but it’s just minor tweaks so he can say he redesigned them. Effing ridiculous!

            By the, speaking of being “careful,” Donald… By “Ives” do you, by any chance, mean Jony Ive?

      2. no you are a lemming…

        This redesign comes from Christophe Tauziet, a product designer at Facebook. “I like iOS 7. I really do,” Tauziet writes. “But I can’t stand for these homescreen icons. So I wanted to see what I could do in an hour.”

        In an hour Jony…

    2. Well done Leo,

      I believe Ives needed to further refine his work.
      And you really show that there can be improvements still.

      Well done, happy you have…

      – consistent centred spacing and x heights per icon inside the button square (after all) iOs7 was to become more unified and flat – so do it Ives.

      – further simplification on detailed icon apps,
      like settings (though this looks more android now), stocks is simplified, tiny lines in camera, extra lines in mail removed, too many tiny lines in safari made better, completely new reminder icon cheers, passbook hurray the miniature icons are gone, and Compass.

      Love to see Game Centre, Newstand, and Photos fixed. And the two colour splotches less abstract. However, Appel wants us to FEEL the apps, the buttons to be more emotional, so why aren’t all the icons abstract?

      Your hired.


        1. Definitively, Leo’s looks less crowded, not just because they are smaller, but also more spaced. In fact, I couldn’t believe Jony would approve that crowded look. So I went to Apple’s website, and yes, icons are more spaced there… yes guys, it’s possible you are looking to a doctored version just to make it look uglier than the other. Unfortunately, while I’ve made a picture of this, I don’t know how to post it in this comment, could anybody help me on this?

        2. THE CALENDAR number is WAaaayn oo thin. Totally sucks!!!
          What a step backwards. I want to see the date BIG & BOLD at a glance. The settings icon looks like a fan. The kid wins on that one and on the reminders too! Steve Jobs must have been nixing lots of Jony’s iterations. The calendar & settings betas would have never passed SJ’s design eye. As a lifetime Mac user & Graphics Pre-Press coordinator, I appreciate Ive’s contributions until now. Yes,, APPLE HIRE LEO TO HELP JONY.

          1. Hermit, I think you might have them reversed and you have a preconception that you want to like the kid’s better. The calendar numbers on the kid’s version are even thinner (less bold) than Ive’s, and the kid’s settings icon looks like a fan; Ive’s looks like gears (gears => machinery => settings, right?).

            1. Jensen, the button of the app uses a loose circular grid system made by Ives, that circular grid system is not followed in several cases by Ives himself. Now that does reflect to what you mention, type would be too thin, hence why does a clock need every hour displayed. Why does it use the system font? Where Ives cheats and maximizes beyond his grid system, he also sets new territory where the square becomes the ultimate grid and size. To get yet a different yet abstract touchy feel app icon, apps like clock could represent a clock that has a square face or zoom in and crop a corner still with the hands of time presented by pointing a the 4,56th hour. Weather could be filling up the square, and cropped more interestingly too. This is considered tight. A tight cropping causing interest intrigue and abstract feeling.
              Ives said he dislikes things to represent textures, why then represent a gear of a clock…

              no i disagree, gears ≠ machines ≠ settings because computers and electronics are not mechanical

              Leo (the kid) spaces the inner graphics well inside the button, he removes unnecessary lines, Leo has done well, yet he can still go further.

            2. Again… Do you guys realize that Ive’s design on the LEFT and Leo’s is on the RIGHT? Because all of Ive’s circles are the same, consistent size, while Leo uses at least three different circle sizes which is distracting and an immediate FAIL.

              If you had it backwards you can admit that now and end this ridiculousness.

              I didn’t say “gears = machines = settings,” I said “gears => machinery => settings.” “=>” means implies.

              Mostly just get a life! They’re just redesigned icons on your phone which will last a few years and get redesigned again. If you are so interested, why don’t you send your portfolio to Ive and apply for a job?

              And it’s Ive not Ives.

          2. good point, “weather” and “calendar” app buttons were the ORIGINAL live title… live app icons, updating to the weather status temperature and yes the real date.

            So yes, good point, expect to read those better.

          3. So you’re a Mac user and you can co-ordinate pre-press. Woop-de-do, that makes you a designer by default? Speaking as someone who was doing design, pre-press, book layout, typography, camera work, darkroom work, plate-making, just about everything bar actual typesetting and running a Heidelberg, from forty years ago, and Mac work for pre-press including scanning photos on a Crosfield 6250 drum scanner fifteen years ago, I think I actually have a clue, and there’s nothing wrong with any of these icons. SJ frequently either got things wrong, or changed his mind on a whim, so to say he would never have passed these is bollocks, you have no idea, no insight into what SJ might have thought, because you are not him!
            Jonny Ive is a better industrial designer, with a better design aesthetic, than pretty much anyone in the industry, and I see nothing about what has been shown so far that offends my own design senses.

    1. Perhaps you need to zoom in. The basic icon designs are certainly similar, but there are some design nuances that make Leo’s improvements the better option IMO. Leo’s interpretation is more simplified and has more depth. Ridding some of the icons of unnecessary detail makes them read better. Slight drop shadows give them a bit more depth and contrast against the background.

    2. I also prefer Apple’s icons. Drapeau’s circles are too small leaving too much border. The clock isn’t even the same size and if you are a designer nitpicking consistency posting an improve copy you should at least be consistent. Shading sometimes has subliminal messaging. The weather icon Apple shade blue on the top. Isn’t the sky blue above. For the most part IMO Drapeau design’s are over simplified. Imagine the icons without the name and what the image conveys about the purpose. Would a user know what it does. Drapeau’s design of passbook tells me nothing without the name below. His reminders design looks more like a to do list. Reminders are usually associated with some chronological order and people write them in a list. I could go on and on.

      For the record I don’t like the photos or Game Center icon.

  1. Some of the iOS7 beta’s are better, but overall yes, Drapeau’s are better.

    For one, some of the official icons are shaded lighter on top, others on bottom. Not consistent. All of Drapeau’s icons, where there is shading, it’s lighter on top.

    The Photos app icon sucks regardless.

  2. Easier to try and improve little bits rather than create a new design from scratch isn’t it?

    Techcrunch and others seem to be on a mission – probably sponsored by usual suspects like Samsung, Google, Microsoft… – to denigrate Ive’s entire reputation based on how some icons look on a first developer-only beta.

    1. Jeez! What? Are you Johnny Ives mother? So the kid came up with an improvement on something designed by Sir Jonny! So what? Quit being so defensive about someone you don’t know. Stop it!

        1. He’s in charge. It will have his name on it. He has final approval. But if you want to act like you don’t understand all of that, fine. And I’m not being defensive about media headlines. It’s just that there is seldom if ever an objective comment around here. People are afraid to speak honestly for fear of being attacked by fanboys. You know, the guys who say that Apple does everything perfectly every time. Fanboys.

          1. Are you for real?
            I wrote my honest opinion and YOU decided to reply to it and attack me over it.

            Now you’re crying that people like you are afraid to speak honestly for fear of being attacked?

            Come on, being a little hypocrite aren’t you?

  3. Leo makeover wins hands down… Sorry Johnny & team.

    Give the popularity and attention these icons are getting, it certainly would make sense for Apple to take notice. Perhaps a job or a licensing deal for Leo?? The move would not only improve iOS7’s UI, but it would be great PR. A great story that would focus media attention on Apple and iOS7.

    Make it happen Apple!!

  4. Jony 1 Leo 0

    Jony understands that the majority of people with iPhones are 35 and above (as they earn more money). Many young people have them courtesy of their parents. As out eyes get weaker with age, the icon within the button should be larger NOT smaller. Ives probably knows this because, well…he is brilliant.

    Leo…’Honey I’ve shrunk the icons’….is not worth the attention it is getting.

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