The Breakroom

Flat is the New Black

August 9, 2013

By Cheryl Cicha

Apple’s recent introduction of iOS 7 is understandably a shock to many people, especially after years of the textures, chrome and dimension of Aqua-style design. iOS 7’s flat approach presents a new challenge for iOS developers and designers; how do you make your app stand out in a crowded field of similarly styled icons with even less opportunity for differentiation?

As icon designers that means we need to be more creative, particularly at the concept stage and then craft the icon with an experienced eye for the ever-so-subtle adjustments that elevate it to beautiful, effective design. For those of us at the Iconfactory, designing for iOS 7 builds on over fifteen years of experience. Apple has created the foundation for flat but it’s up to the design and development community to push those boundaries in innovative ways. The ability to distill a concept down to its core ideals and remove everything that isn’t absolutely necessary to communicate effectively is both humbling and crucial as we move forward into this new era of mobile design.

Anyone who hones a craft makes it look easy when it’s not. Too quickly we perceive unqualified successes without considering the journey that it took to get there. That simple apple with the bite out of it took more than a few iterations. What we often take for granted is the exploration needed to reduce an idea to its essence, yet create something that resonates. We just know when it does. When looking at the final design we need to ask ourselves, is it beautiful in its simplicity and more importantly, does it create a connection?

If you assume that Apple’s flat style makes it easier and faster to create a great app icon, think different. Those tiny illustrations have a tall order to fill. At a basic level app icons are a tool for getting us to pay attention but we also want them to be beautiful images that make us say, “Wow, I want that.” Just because flat looks simple doesn’t mean it is. It’s not about the style. Fundamentally it’s about problem solving; crafting a small, unique image that creates connection with an app at a glance and makes us engage on a visceral level.

Get a behind-the-scenes look at what it takes to transform an iOS 6 icon to iOS 7 styling.

Twitterrific 5.2.3 Adds New Today View

July 23, 2013

By Webmaster

Twitterrific 5.2.3 is now available in the App Store and brings with it an updated visual appearance and a new sidebar section we’re calling the Today View.

The new view (accessed from the sidebar after turning on push) shows the very latest retweets, favorites and new followers based on your push notification activity over the last 24 hours. It’s a great way to keep tabs on popular things you’ve recently tweeted as well as who’s new to following you. If you have Favstar enabled you can even tap on any tweet in the Today view to browse the total stats on it for all time.

Other notable improvements in 5.2.3 include:

  • Images in the photo viewer are maximized for your screen size
  • In-app browser now plays audio for videos even if device is muted
  • Secondary usernames are auto-selected when replying for quick deletion
  • Bug fixes and more

Twitterrific 5 has been hailed by critics and users alike as one of the most beautiful and fun to use applications in the App Store. The app is currently on sale directly from the App Store for just $2.99. Existing users can update to version 5.2.3 via the App Store’s software update. Enjoy!

xScope 3.6.1

July 15, 2013

By Webmaster

An update for xScope is now available in the Mac App Store and through the in-app update. xScope 3.6.1 features more efficient processor usage which translates into less drain on your MacBook battery.

This update also includes more responsive tools, enhancements to Spaces and Retina Display support and various other improvements and bug fixes. Check out the complete list at the xScope version history page. If you are a developer and are using the current beta of OS X Mavericks you will definitely want to take a look at this latest version.

This is a free update for current users and is available now. Check your updates at the Mac App Store or, if you purchased from the website, check for updates under the xScope menu item.

New Design Services Site Launch

July 11, 2013

By Webmaster

Creating great user experiences for highly rated and widely used apps is what we do. Since 2000, our customers have come to expect the highest level of creativity and technical knowledge, so it was time to launch a new portfolio where you can see ongoing samples of our client work and learn more about the stories and inspiration behind each design.

On your visit, learn more about our array of design services for mobile, desktop, web and cross-platform applications. Grab a beverage of choice, relax and take a gander through designs that help make software beautiful and a joy to use.

Enjoy your visit and check back regularly to see our latest creations. Don’t be afraid to let us know what you think.

xScope 3.6 and xScope Mirror 1.2.3

June 5, 2013

By Webmaster

Today we are pleased to let you know about a pair of software updates. xScope 3.6 is now available in the Mac App Store or through the in app update and xScope Mirror 1.2.3 is available in the iOS App Store.

This update to xScope brings enhancements to the Dimensions tool improving edge detection and adds new options in Preferences allowing you to adjust sensitivity to optimize results. Version 3.6 also adds new grids to Frames, increases the maximum size for Photoshop documents when using the Mirror Tool and adds support for short hex colors in the Loupe. Other improvements and bugs fixes are included as well. Check out the Version History for a complete list.

The update to xScope Mirror adds support for all orientations so you have complete freedom in positioning your device while you are testing your designs.

All updates are free to current users so go get them now!

Sneak Peek at Chatology

June 4, 2013

By Webmaster


Hot off the drawing board, we hope you enjoy this glimpse into what’s coming soon from Flexibits.

Go to Portfolio

New iOS App Icon Design

May 13, 2013

By Webmaster


Along with the recent release of OffMaps 2 came a shiny new icon.

Go to Portfolio

Twitterrific 5.2.2 Adds New Services & Fixes Bugs

May 13, 2013

By Webmaster

Twitterrific 5.2.2 is now available in the App Store and brings with it support Readability bookmarking, and Droplr image uploading.

This latest release also adds read / unread states for tweets, mentions & direct messages in the timeline. Twitterrific now keeps track of which tweets have been viewed in the timeline and marks them accordingly after they have been scrolled into view. Tweet indicators in the main tab bar now keep track of these states and turn on or off according to what has been read.

Other notable improvements in 5.2.2 include:

  • Additional larger font size setting on iPad
  • Improved reliability when clearing push notification badges
  • VoiceOver no longer repeatedly announces new tweet count
  • Bug fixes and more

Twitterrific 5 has been hailed by critics and users alike as one of the most beautiful and fun to use applications in the App Store. The app is currently on sale directly from the App Store for just $2.99. Existing users can update to version 5.2.2 via the App Store’s software update. Enjoy!

New iOS App Icon Design

April 25, 2013

By Webmaster


iOS App icon for Horizon Calendar by Applause Code.
Go to Portfolio

Twitterrific 5.2.1 Adds Push Badges, Trends & More

April 22, 2013

By Webmaster

Twitterrific 5.2.1 is now available in the App Store and brings with it a host of new features as well as increased speed and stability. The launch of native push notifications in v 5.2 has been augmented thanks to app badges which can now be enabled via the iOS Notification Center settings in v 5.2.1. Twitterrific will keep count of your mentions, replies and DM’s and display them on the home screen. Launching the app clears the count but also automatically clears pending messages from Notification Center.

This latest release also includes support for viewing Favstar information. Once enabled from Twitterrific’s settings, users can open profiles or individual tweet pages to view the tally of favs & RT’s on a tweet or user. Version 5.2.1 also decreases time to load tweets, greatly improves timeline position syncing for Tweet Marker and iCloud and bolsters support for Voice Over users with number of important fixes. Be sure to check out our video walk through of some of the highlights of v 5.2.1.

Other notable additions in 5.2.1 include:

  • Twitter trends (open Sidebar > Search > Tweets tab to view)
  • Support for Twitter stock symbols ($AAPL, etc)
  • Home timeline auto-refreshes when posting a new tweet or DM
  • Automatic theme changing now based on dawn/dusk at your location
  • Compose gesture: one-finger swipe left/right to adjust cursor
  • Bug fixes, UI tweaks and much more

Twitterrific 5 has been hailed by critics and users alike as one of the most beautiful and fun to use applications in the App Store. The app is currently on sale directly from the App Store for just $2.99. Existing users can update to version 5.2.1 via the App Store’s software update. Enjoy!