Designing an app for iOS
Not long ago iOS was all about graphics, big buttons with rich shadows, and textured backgrounds. But when Google introduced some pretty cool new designs, Apple seemed to have panicked and started looking for something fresh. And it did come up with something nobody expected – flat iOS 7 design.
When Apple revealed iOS 7, everybody had a bit of a shock because of how different it looked from all the previous iOS versions. The new iOS was minimalistic and flat! Fat pressable buttons are gone, leather textures are gone, and everything looks cleaner and slimmer. That’s not a bad thing, right? Well, yes. But one thing scared a lot of people and a lot of iOS app designers – iOS 7 was stripped of shadows.
Every decent app designer knows that too much shadow is always bad. In a way, Apple was too heavy on shadows, so it’s good that they addressed the issue. But getting rid of shadows altogether is not exactly ideal either. While a slimmer look is definitely the trend, not using shadows at all is a mistake. In the previous version of iOS shadows were used to distinguish icons from the screen background. But now things are different. Now some app icons blend with the background too much because there are no shadows. This makes them hard to find and not pleasant to look at if you can find them.
As an iPhone app designer, you need to make sure that the user can find your app on the screen really quickly and that the icon doesn’t melt into the background. So, how do you achieve that? The good news is that even though the new iOS is flat, you can still use shadows in your designs. Just make sure they are subtle enough to work with the overall iOS 7 look. A subtle grey glow around the edges would do the trick and your icons will look great.
As you can see, shadows not only work with flat iOS 7design, but are also a must if your app icon is white and is placed on a white or a very bright background. A thin shadow is a small enough change, but it does make a big impact.