May 18, 2012

What do you think of the CS6 icons & splash screens?

In 6 years of daily blogging, I’ve never gotten deluged more than I did when revealing the CS3 icons.  After 500+ comments, I even got turned into icons myself. Suffice it to say, people have strong opinions.

These designs don’t happen by accident–quite the opposite.  Adobe XD (Experience Design) manager Shawn Cheris has posted a thorough tour of how CS6 branding evolved & the thinking that went into it.  He talks about how they started with color, moved into shapes, and ultimately created thousands of individual graphics across the entire Suite.

Posted by John Nack at 2:13 PM on May 18, 2012


  • SBG — 3:01 PM on May 18, 2012

    I just wish there were a way to display them as B/W in the dock. The colors look especially bad there. The formal qualities and the splash screens don’t bother me, but the colors do.

  • Allen Cobb — 3:55 PM on May 18, 2012

    I like them. It’s always nice for a change, and this generation has a bit more character (in the tiny icon form) than CS5. I have noticed that the Illustrator splash sometimes appears with a large black square behind it, instead of integrating with the desktop, but that’s probably related to some graphics card/driver oddity. I rather enjoy the way each splash abstracts something about the associated app. InDesign seems a bit of a stretch, but what the heck — they’re all creative, and for the most part they convey a feeling of newness and sophistication (more so, I think, than the shaded hyperspace panels of CS5’s splashes).

  • Chad Perkins — 8:30 PM on May 18, 2012

    I love the new art/color scheme. I think it’s very forward thinking, and just fun. The exciting colors and splash screens remind me of being open and creative every time I launch a CS6 app. It also feels reflective of the major upgrades that went down. I’m totally loving all of that. It seems like there was a lot more gripes when Adobe went to the simple chemical table style icons, but then you see that motif replicated EVERYWHERE. The same will be true of the influence of the new art. Guaranteed. I love it.

  • Max Savin — 11:31 PM on May 18, 2012

    My first impression was ugly when I downloaded the new trials. I googled “CS6 icons ugly” and a lot of people shared my opinion – some are redesigning them. I liked the CS4 icons the most because they were simple and elegant. CS5 was okay, but I didn’t get the purpose of the 3D box effect. The splash screens are okay, but they seem a bit old as everything is lead towards clean and simple designs by Apple. I don’t mean to put you guys down – I think you can do better – which is why I am giving you my honest opinion.

  • josef — 3:21 AM on May 19, 2012

    i don´t care.. you must be jobless i guess to care about icons or splashscreens.

    i care about the tools.. and CS6 is only a minor update. it´s CS5.6 at best.

    but people are used to these kind of minor updates i think.. no competition makes companys lazy.

  • Dave Brown — 5:45 AM on May 19, 2012

    The icons seem coarse, as if the design were conceived with the requirement that all one would need to do for future products was to add the sw abbreviation and its extensions to the list and the icons would be computer generated. But they’re effective and not objectionable.

    The splash screens are pretty cool.

    Curious… do you internationalize the product names and icons? Is it still “Dreamweaver” [Dw] in French, or “Tisseur de rêves” [Tr]?

  • Davide Barranca — 9:53 AM on May 19, 2012

    I understand that marketing drives for UI redesign: while app icons and splash screens evolution (may) make sense, I personally find quite disappointing few things.

    PS Adjustments panel for instance is a typical example: everything is a bit smaller, the items placement is different, the icons themselves are a just a tiny little bit different – the very exact amount of difference that’s enough to make the panel look unfamiliar, while adding no new functions.

    That’s the point: it can’t be said that it’s an evolution. It simply requires users time and energy to get used to it. If this isn’t a waste of resources, I don’t know what it could be.
    I personally miss the point of such a redesign, except for marketing purposes (or interapplication consistency, which, as a PS only user, I couldn’t care less).

  • alessandro — 10:05 AM on May 19, 2012

    I think that icon in the tools bar and panel must have a zoom features
    generally its good ,i like it but i have a simply question : why is disappeared the bridge icon on the menu bar?

  • Dennis — 10:44 AM on May 19, 2012

    It’s what’s inside that counts ;-)

  • Stormchild — 12:51 PM on May 19, 2012

    Icons suck, as usual, but that’s okay, ’cause I replaced them with my favorite Iconfactory versions immediately. I find the splash screens tacky; they look like they were thrown together at the last minute. This is all par for the course. CS branding has been pretty bad for years.

  • nooko — 2:58 AM on May 20, 2012

    My 5 cents.
    Good you have regular intervals in apps color ranges.

    Sorry guys…my feedback as a visual designer is highly negative about CS6 splash screens !!!
    Almost can’t find a proper word to express how disturbing and messy they are: like some random Photoshop user just found a bunch of freebies and threw them on a few layers.

    I would expect something more elegant, minimal.
    These apps are “tools” and should be as neutral as possible, don’t try to make them “artworks”, please.

    BTW… I’m in prerelease program…and I’m not afraid of “new” things.
    If new is better than old my eye can usually get it at once, but even after months these splashes look “wrong” like a broken computer screen to me.

  • PixelGrinch — 10:58 AM on May 22, 2012

    I wished Adobe would take more pride and creativity in creating their application icons.
    Letters surrounded by a box, come on!

  • BJ Nicholls — 2:09 PM on May 23, 2012

    The icons are okay given the atomic table theme I thought was already outdated when Adobe first used it. The new scheme fails when the border and legend color blends into the desktop background. The splash screens are just annoying.

    And having all the apps default to the new “dismal” look is also annoying, especially since changing the scheme is inconsistent between the apps.

  • Piem — 1:38 AM on May 24, 2012

    The icons are not happy with my desktop wich is quite dark. They should have been more luminous. The splash screen seems to have been designed by a “lingerie fine” creator..(yes they are buildings.. but with transparency!) not really in accordance with my use of illustrator or indesign. But it’s not so important after all.

  • Edward Caruso — 7:27 AM on May 29, 2012

    I find the new icons garish I much prefer the CS5 or even the CS3 icons. But I also really like the shell, feather designs in the past. The splash screens do not fit the periodic table theme of the icons at all.
    They feel like a bunch of effects were thrown together.
    What I don’t understand is why the icons need to be redone every version – with all the time, money and “research” put to it.

  • Ryan — 12:29 AM on July 08, 2012

    Hate the new icons. There’s too much contrast, and the dark vs light colors looks very dated, which is surprising seeing as Adobe is usually on the forward end of things. They jump out from my dock, seeing as they’re so incredibly contrasty compared to the rest, and even though I do use the CS programs more than anything else, that doesn’t mean I want their ugliness to draw my eyes to them. Really dropped the ball with this one Adobe, and I’m sure some of you over there saw it coming but couldn’t do anything to stop the approval process of such ugly representations of your product.

  • Ryan — 12:33 AM on July 08, 2012

    Oh, and the splash screens are so detached from the program icons that one might be confused when launching the program, thinking they’d clicked the wrong icon. I thought I was opening Photoshop, but I must actually be opening a program that allows me to apply makeup via my computer. Or maybe a program that allows me to design fish scales. Oh wait, no, it’s Photoshop, it just features an overdone splash screen that tosses simple beauty to the wind and chases unsuccessful complexity (“but I worked really, really, really hard on designing this! It took me forever!”)

  • gw — 8:03 AM on July 17, 2012

    I find the icons and the entire UI very ugly. I’ve used Adobe apps (and the Mac) since 1986. I even use Windows every day for certain things. I really used to hate MS programs on Mac OS because of their anti-Mac UI design. Now Adobe’s apps are far worse. Every time I have to look at CS icons and apps, they like a hot poker right in the eye. Just bought CS6 to replace CS4 (frankly havent found much past PS 7 Illustrator 10 very useful). CS6 is an eyesore, and the Java-based UI is a sad reflection on a set of tools used for graphic design.

  • DuranArts — 9:06 PM on July 20, 2012

    Just thinking that an entire team went into the making of these icons baffles me. The outcome is obviously not favorable by any means. Just listening to all the feedback in the comments is heartbreaking. Poor Adobe team, they could have hired ONE individual to work on the icons and splash screens. Countless iterations didn’t help them at all…

  • LaNovio — 4:55 PM on August 01, 2012

    The splash screens look like the were created by bodily function, not design. The dock icons however… those must have come out of an intro to two dimensional design for the color blind. It is beyond belief that anyone at Adobe looks at these and thought “these look great!” Perhaps somebody would like to step up and publicly take credit for designing and approving these?

  • chancho — 1:13 PM on August 04, 2012

    i hate tem!

  • CWave — 8:13 PM on August 04, 2012

    The icons are inoffensive to me, and an improvement over CS5. The splash screens however, are for the most part hideous. Photoshop is the best of the bunch, but that is not setting the bar very high.

  • zmr — 1:27 AM on August 07, 2012

    I’m very sad to tell this to you guys but my opinion is all your effort put into making new splash screens and icons is wasted. They just looks really, really bad. I miss old CS3, CS4 or CS5 style so much – these things vere simple yet beautiful. The new ones are chaotic and overdesigned, looking at them just hurt.

    Is there any chance to have old splash screens back?

    • JCarbain — 8:07 AM on May 21, 2013


  • Caleb Jacob — 4:13 PM on August 10, 2012

    Sorry, but the splash screens make me gag every time I open anything up. The icons aren’t horrible, but they’re not that great. CS4 was definitely my favorite – clean and elegant.

  • gw — 8:52 AM on August 16, 2012

    Icons are terrible, terrible, terrible. They’re a major clash with everything else in my system. Now, someone may say that makes them easier to find. I say it pokes me in the eye and makes it much more difficult to find other things because those stupid icons are screaming in my face when I’m browsing a folder for something else.

    A major disappointment from a design tools company. I’m sure someone was all giddy about their radical design, but they utterly failed to consider the complete lack of harmony with the rest of the computer UI design.

    Speaking of UI, Adobe’s UIs for these apps are terrible too. Illustrator is absolutely vomit inducing. I hate using that program now. Irritates me just to look at it.

  • srg — 11:32 AM on September 10, 2012

    i have to say. Cs6 icons and presantation is so dark colored and too much contrast. İts disturbing. I hope adobe do something about this for next release…

  • Joe M — 6:28 AM on September 18, 2012

    Illustrator splash screen and icons are the ugliest I’ve seen since I started using it 7 years ago or so. The rest are just blah, which is fine.

  • Kris Hunt — 8:41 AM on September 23, 2012

    The splash screens are hideous, and I despise them all. The icons for Flash and InDesign are okay, although I much prefer the CS4 versions. The color scheme of the Photoshop icon is ugly—sky blue and indigo? Blech. The color schemes of Bridge and Illustrator are too similar, and they both remind me of a rotten banana.

  • Darrel Kremov — 11:43 PM on September 27, 2012

    Dreamweaver and Audition icons look terrible….

  • russ — 6:27 AM on October 10, 2012

    I just installed CS6 and I was like – Did I just accidentally buy the colorblind or visually impaired version?

    I found this blog post by Googleing “CS6 icons suck.” Nuff said.

  • matthew — 11:29 PM on December 09, 2012

    the background black all black…. sucks
    get real who died
    change the main screen colors
    some people have bad eyes black and white is no good

    I go back to cs3 till you finish it

  • Jona — 1:47 PM on January 09, 2013

    I modified the original splash screen and icons to make them match better the photoshop interface. It is simple patch. If you wanna try it, check this out:

  • Chris Nutt — 9:48 AM on January 10, 2013

    I find the splash screens to be a mixed bag, but they at least try to express some of the joy and creativity of the applications.

    I continue to despise the periodic table non-icons. They really are icons only in format, they convey nothing of the application’s function and personality. They also have no distinct silhouette.

    I actually really like the new dark Adobe UI. I think the matte finish really makes me focus on the task in hand. A smidge of colour might really help with calls to action in the interface. Shame the non-headliner apps seem to have been ignored and Bridge looks like its from another company.

    Icons F+
    Splash Screens B-
    Interface A- when present

  • rafa — 7:26 PM on January 11, 2013

    I agree

    Icons : F ( the cs5 they are way better )
    Splash screens: F ( horrible taste, no design at all, that concept of expand the Icon is so “tacky” )
    The UI : Excellent i think is going to be better, but so far is very good.

  • rafa — 7:37 PM on January 11, 2013

    soorry expland the splash screen…it’s so tacky like first version of cs …..hooorrible, plane and simple.

    Come on you have a big responsibility, your software is the tool of millions, creative people, v.i.p brands, companies, and above all the leaders, in design software…at lease reflect it, inspire us show us how the things should look like.

    Unfortunately i don’t work there, fortunately either because too many head could fall with lazy amateur images like that.

    Is a brand that worth billions of dollars…sadly the image of cs6 barely a couple hundreds at most.

    sincerely : R.Meza

  • sirlenny — 12:18 PM on March 14, 2013

    User interface been downhill since CS3. Think they need to give all those Macromedia employees something to do. It looks absolutely terrible – was this built in the US? WTF? It’s design software and it’s not pleasant to look at. Too programmy looking. Adobe!!!!!????

  • Andrew — 12:56 AM on May 10, 2013

    Just installed CS 6.0 and as a designer with 18 years industry experience (old dog) I’m shocked at the standard within the desktop icons and the splash screens. Suffice to say they look like throwbacks to a long-gone era, possibly laste nineties I’d find them acceptable. Maybe even earlier as looking at my quick launch icons (Win7) they look 8-bit, like old video game graphics! And with OUTLINES – who the $#$% uses outlines that are so strong nowadays as a primary design element? If you do it’s to be subtle and add to the overall aethetics in an almost subliminal way… ‘tightening’ up the form but with restraint. The colours of those desktop icons for PS6 in that heavy navy blue – muddy, dark, dismal; the lettering for the ‘PSD’ (Helvetica?) is anything but what I see as a modern implementation of what is ideally fresh, clean, progressive (ref Jellybean OS for beauty in simplicity). The splash screens having huge – wait for it – FRAMES – is just mindboggling! Once again, a perfect example of what looks jaded, nostalgic and anything but progressive. The app interface is ok but I’d like WHITE thanks, I’m forced into a light grey only. My Android Swype keyboard loaded dark but high contrast black on white graphic elements is beautiful and I was able to set this up in a jiffy. Why can I not have a custom colour wheel feature to select my own?

  • JCarbain — 8:05 AM on May 21, 2013


  • nodule — 9:43 PM on June 30, 2013


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