For a while now we have seen a lot of demand for much cleaner simpler Icon styles. No doubt some of this was prompted by Microsoft’s Windows 8 user interface but I think the style has also been made popular by some mobile devices and of course the desire to be just a little bit different to your competitors.
For our company this has been quite a refreshing change with its own new challenges. Where once we relied heavily on bitmap based editors like Photoshop or detailed modelling using 3D applications like 3D Studio Max, we now spend a lot of time working to pixel grids in Illustrator.
This has meant adapting to a more precise methodology; we have always been careful to optimise our graphics to each required icon size to prevent horizontal and vertical lines blurring but with such simple line illustrations as have become so popular recently, there really is no place to hide and you have to re-jig almost every element in an icon for each size it needs to be rendered in.
I confess to being slightly cautious when Metro icons started gaining popularity, we had always strived to provide clean but detailed designs and Metro Icons are about as pared back as you can get. However some of our recent projects have been really challenging (try 1400 Icons) and there is still plenty of demand for highly detailed icons, so if anything we have just gained a bit of variety which is what any designer really craves.
So despite my earlier misgivings, I am really enjoying the diversity and as we have some very exciting projects in the pipeline I am really hoping it stays fashionable in the long term.
Long live Metro Icons!