January 16, 2019 ☼ 🔗
Slack’s old identity had at least three good things going for it: they owned the letter “S” (much like how Netflix owns “N” — something Netflix has doubled-down on as their identity has evolved), they owned the “#” hash mark, and unique among technology companies, they owned plaid. When you saw plaid with those primary colors on a white background, you thought Slack.
I don’t use Slack in any shape or form, although I’ve dabbled in some groups from time to time. Those brief glimpses into the world of Slack were enough to have that playful icon glued in my brain. Redesigns are always tough because you are changing something people have become used to and change, even in the world of tech, is hard for people.
With all that being said, this is even worse than the Instagram redesign. Of the three recent design/icon overhauls I can think of, I’d rank them:
Dropbox was the smallest change. They flattened things out, taking on a more minimal look. They never had an iconic look or logo to begin, so I bet they could’ve taken even more chances if they’d wanted.
Instagram was the biggest change, but they had an iconic icon and I’d argue they lost it completely. It’s still a nice looking app and the icon is fine, but they could’ve taken the icon they had, flattened it a bit for modern times, and been good to go.
Slack, as far as I can tell, only changed their logo, but it still ends up last on the list. Gruber nails it on the head completely. They had ownership over a style and gave it up in an attempt to become an icon, supposedly to promote cohesion across their company (which I call bullshit on). People will get used to it, just as they do everything else, but I really believe it’s a downgrade for them and a huge loss of personality on home screens.