Labyrinth through a history of Digital Iconography: From 1980s to 2010s | Part 2

Icons have always been found highly useful in limited digital environments and in diagrams, maps and other forms of visual communication. As a visual shorthand, it can label, inform, and aid navigation quickly and effectively in minimal space. At Think Design, we stepped back to discover how icons have been used from the earliest desktop days – in a pursuit to build on our current understanding, looking to appreciate and learn from the past, and look at the future informed by a lens of insights.

Stephen DickensTushar Krishnan & Hari Nallan

At Think Design, we created 4 separate infographics, each one providing a brief introduction into the iconography of each respective decade; 1980s, 1990s, 2000s, and 2010s. Let us look at how the last decade played a role in transforming how iconography has evolved until today.

Part 2/4

The 1990s – A bandwagon of colors, gloss, and dimensions

The 90s saw operating systems of Windows 3 and OS 2 using grids and consistent iconography patterns. While Macintosh had started experimenting with shades of grey to add to its current palette, Susan Kare worked on the first aesthetically designed icons for Macintosh that was released in 1984. Moving away from the trend of outlining, shining icons with indigo edges, 3D icons were also introduced by some companies. The next few trends included the addition of space illusion, vector icons with steely borders and transparency masks with isometric designs, adding to the overall variety of iconography landscape.

Today the world speaks around 7000 languages and countless dialects. When we say that iconography as a discipline is here to stay and evolve in our global world, it is because as the one language that transcends these boundaries is not made up of words – but images.

Stephen Dickens

Stephen Dickens

User Experience Strategist for Think Design at their newly established Denver, Colorado studio. Stephen draws upon his 10+ years of cognitive behavioral experience to understand and strategize how and why users experience the digital and physical world.

Tushar Krishnan

Tushar Krishnan

Senior User Experience Designer at Think Design, Tushar is a graduate from the Parsons School of Design. He is driven towards creating intuitive and engaging experiences and works in the areas of Experience Design, Systems Design, Information Design and Game Design.

Hari Nallan

Hari Nallan

Founder and CEO of Think Design, a Design leader, Speaker and Educator. With a master's from NID and in the capacity of a founder, Hari has influenced, led and delivered several experience driven transformations across industries. As the CEO of Think Design, Hari is the architect of Think Design's approach and design centered practices and the company's strategic initiatives.

 

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