The Breakroom

Introducing Linea

January 31, 2017

By Webmaster

Iconfactory's Linea sketching app for iPad

There are plenty of great drawing apps for the iPad that can produce polished and stunning work. Like you, we use and love them.

So why did we make our own drawing app?

Less is more

While other apps can help you create amazing artwork, they’re not great for the simple act of sketching. Extensive controls are useful when you’re trying to fine tune a piece, but they also get in the way when you’re trying to figure out where to start.

Linea color palette showing auto-generated tints & shades

Something similar has happened with writing apps over the past few years: folks have realized that powerful word processing apps can get in the way of making great words. When you remove the controls and complexity, you end up with a more productive writing environment.

With Linea, we’ve done the same thing for sketching. You’ll have everything you need to record your visual ideas, and nothing more. Linea auto-generates tints and shades so you don’t have to waste time mixing & matching colors. It also provides the power and flexibility of layers but in a simplified form that’s easy to understand and quick to manipulate. The entire app is designed so you can focus on the work, not on the tools.

Digital sketching

Once you start using Linea, you’ll realize that it has a great advantage over a traditional sketchbook.

Sketches are just a beginning: you’ll discuss them with clients in email, show them to colleagues in Slack, upload them to project folders on Dropbox, or use them with Photoshop as a background layer. With a traditional sketchbook, you have to scan the paper first.

Linea crop & export interface

In Linea, you bring up an export sheet that lets you select which part of your drawing you’d like to share. Then you use the standard iOS sharing panel to pick where the images will go: it’s quick and easy, which is essential when you’re iterating on a design.

Another benefit to a digital sketchbook is not being stuck with a predefined grid. Linea lets you choose what’s right for each sketch: it includes standard graph paper, dots, and even isometric guides. Templates for quick storyboarding or app design and development are just a few taps away.

Not just for artists

We originally created this app as a tool for our artists, but our developers love it, too!

a finger swiping to erase a drawing in Linea

Anyone who’s worked at a whiteboard knows that it’s a great place to experiment with ideas. Being able to quickly get rid of mistakes is just as important as capturing a thought. You know your fingers will be dirty at the end of a good session.

Linea’s innovative Touch Eraser works the same way. There’s no switching of tools, just a quick swipe of the finger and then you’re back to drawing with your Apple Pencil. And the best part is your hands stay clean!

This is just one example of how we’ve thought about the process as much as the implementation. Linea’s gestures make it the perfect companion when you need to take notes, diagram, or sketch.

If you’re ready to start sketching simply, the Linea web site has videos of the app in action and samples showing all the ways Linea can help you visualize your thoughts and creations. Have more questions? Be sure to visit the Linea Knowledge Base for answers and then head to the App Store to download Linea for the iPad today.

2016 Wasn’t All Bad

December 16, 2016

By Webmaster

Animation of snow falling behind an dangling red Iconfactory Christmas ornament

It’s been a hell of a year, no matter how you look at it. Luckily, it hasn’t been all bad and we’ve done some great things at the Iconfactory over the past 12 months!

You might be tempted to call this the Year of Emoji, but to us, every year is the Year of Emoji. We started off 2016 with a major update to Twitter’s open source Emoji suite: Twemoji. That was soon followed by complete visual refresh for the Emoji used in Facebook’s Messenger app. To finish out the year, there were Twemoji updates for Unicode 9 and gendered occupations. In summary, that’s 3,396 images to give your favorite messages more personality!

And speaking of Twitter, our terrific app got a lot of love this year. Every couple of months there were updates for direct messaging, timeline search, discussions and retweeting, replies and today view, quoting and new fonts, and a great new feature called Center Stage. We were also thrilled to be inducted into the AppleVis Hall-of-Fame for our VoiceOver work in Twitterrific.

This year was also a big milestone for us: it was our 20th year as a company! Our retrospective was a great reminder of how far we’ve come over the years. And we couldn’t have done it without you (don’t worry, we’re not going to blame you for the gray hairs).

The celebrations also included two new apps for iOS: Exify and BitCam. Both celebrated the fantastic camera we all carry in our pockets: one was modern, and the other, well, it wasn’t.

Every good party ends with cake, and ours was no exception. Our beloved foreman got the chance to combine his two favorite things: cooking and smileys. We were all thrilled to watch Ged judge the Emoji episode of the Food Network’s Cake Wars.

After we recovered from all this merriment and sugar shock it was time to head back to our roots: creating images that were just plain fun to use! We used to call them custom icons, but now they’re Stickers. If you haven’t tried them out yet, get with it!

We also talked more about our business this year. We shared our recipe for launching successful apps, how to use Stickers for brand awareness, and what it takes to build meaningful experiences in products.

Our last release of the year was something completely different: a book on color. The most basic part of our work has been changing thanks to improvement in display technologies. This affects both our client work and the apps we build. Craig’s effort takes a difficult topic and makes it accessible: check it out!

As we begin our annual holiday break, we’d like to wish all of you the happiest of holidays and a wonderful new year. We’re looking forward to seeing what 2017 has in store and we hope you’ll join us as we move forward. Always remember there can be good things in this world if you work hard to make them a reality.

Sweet Pea Mobile App

December 13, 2016

By Cheryl Cicha

Photo of two people's feet in the park, one leaning up on tip-toes to kiss the other with the Sweet Pea logo at center

Michael Bruch, founder of Peas and Love Corporation, partnered with us earlier this year to create a new dating app focused on healthy relationships. His thesis was that a more humanized and enjoyable online dating experience would be possible if a platform focused on enabling self expression, encouraged interesting conversation, and fostered empathy between strangers. While lots of people use dating apps, many people aren’t particularly happy with their experiences or emotionally attached to any one platform. Even in a crowded market, there were a lot of consumer pain points that weren’t being adequately addressed. So, together, we embarked on a journey to create something better – Sweet Pea.

We asked ourselves, what features we could build to provide a friendly, approachable and ‘real’ dating experience? If we were going to be successful, our approach to this process needed to be different than our competitors in a very crowded market. So we settled on three core feature sets – video stories, ice breakers, and detailed Q&A driven settings.

With this in mind, we quickly developed a prototype that roughed out the complex rules behind the algorithm that would provide a higher degree of control over matching than most dating apps. This made it easier to start meaningful conversations, and to provide unique security features making user’s privacy and security a priority.

Screen shots from the Sweet Pea app - Home, Profile, Matching Filters

While the development team was busy writing code for the server side of Sweet Pea, the design team went to work on creating a user experience that made the app feel simple, easy to use and, above all, friendly. We wanted Sweet Pea’s user interface to be welcoming and playful so we designed a bright color scheme and illustrated a band of happy pea characters to convey emotion through animations at key points in the app. These elements, combined with colorful icons remind users that meeting new people is, and should be, a fun experience.

It was also important to that Sweet Pea ‘do well by doing good.’ As part of our commitment to healthy relationships, 10% of Sweet Pea’s revenue is donated to charities that help people escape and recover from domestic abuse and other toxic living situations.

Pea mascot as cupid, flying with a heart bow

In addition to the app design and development, we created the marketing assets that help tell the Sweet Pea story including the logo and app icon as well as the website and social media banners.

We’re proud to be a part of this project and help Michael accomplish his mission. Yes, we design and develop mobile apps, but, more importantly, we’re proud to build applications that have a positive impact on people’s lives. Very soon, Sweet Pea will launch on campuses and in cities across the U.S. and Canada. If you’re looking for an app that provides an opportunity for meaningful connection, we hope you’ll give it a try.

Making Sense of Color Management

December 8, 2016

By Craig Hockenberry

Making Sense of Color Management Book Cover

We’re proud to announce the immediate availability of a book that has literally been years in the making: Making Sense of Color Management.

As I outlined previously in Looking at the Future, there are significant changes with today’s display technology. The goal of this book is to help you navigate this new environment whether you’re using Photoshop, a web browser, or Xcode. You’ll not only learn how to manage color, but also be introduced to new techniques and best practices.

To give you a practical example of how this can help your project, the team at Instagram used the book to update the iOS 10 app that was featured during the iPhone 7 keynote.

As John Gruber points out in the book’s foreword, we’ve all considered color management to be a dark art. Hopefully after reading this short book, you’ll have the same reaction he did: “Well, that’s actually pretty simple.”

Order your copy today!

Media Takes ‘Center Stage’ in Twitterrific 5.16

December 5, 2016

By Ged Maheux

Center Stage is a new and dynamic way to browse tweets that contain only media in your Twitterrific timeline. Users have been requesting a media-focused timeline in Twitterrific for quite a while and we’re pleased to announce it’s finally arrived.

Tap the new Center Stage button at the top of any timeline to open a full screen view where you can swipe through all of the tweets that include photos, movies, or animated GIFs. When you’re in Center Stage, you can tap on the tweet to exit or swipe left/right to navigate through your timeline. You can even Like or Retweet directly from Center Stage! A single tap will get the on-screen controls out of your way and swiping down will close the tweet drawer so there’s nothing between you and the media you’re viewing.

The traditional media experience has also been improved – after tapping on a thumbnail to view it, there is a new button at the bottom of the screen which allows you to enter Center Stage right from there. If you swipe to other tweets, a rewind button appears that’ll take you back to where you started without marking the intervening tweets as read. Handy!

Center Stage icon from Twitterrific

Center Stage is available from any tweet or timeline that contains media, even conversations and user profiles! When you tap an image on a user’s profile, you’ll immediately be taken into Center Stage mode where you can quickly browse back through that user’s media history. Finally, tweets in Center Stage are color coded for easy reference, as they are in all of Twitterrific’s timelines. Center Stage is fully VoiceOver compatible and includes support for physical keyboards. Be sure to visit our Knowledge base for in-depth information about Center Stage.

Twitterrific 5.16 also includes an entire host of improvements and bug fixes including finer control over animated GIFs and video including tap to play/pause & pinch zooming. We’ve also improved the interface in several places for clarity, made Muffle rules more powerful and fixed bugs associated with timeline jumps and single-frame GIFs.

Twitterrific 5.16 is free to try via the App Store and is universal for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iPod touch. Advanced features such as tweet translation, ad removal, and more are available via in-app purchase. Visit Twitterrific’s version history page for the complete list of new features, improvements and bug fixes.

xScope 4.3

November 29, 2016

By Craig Hockenberry

We’re pleased to announce the availability of xScope 4.3 in the Mac App Store and as a direct download from the xScope website.

The main focus of this release was compatibility with macOS Sierra. It took us awhile to figure out why Guides and Frames always appeared at launch, but thankfully they no longer do :-)

Another issue in Sierra is the Rulers sometimes getting really small. If you were affected by this, remember that there’s a Reset Rulers option under Rulers in the menubar. That, along with Display Square Rulers, should help get things back in order.

There are other improvements which you can read about in the version history. This update is FREE for all registered xScope 4 customers.

Mallow & Puddin’ Stickers for iMessage

November 4, 2016

By Ged Maheux

Mallow & Puddin' characters drinking tea, chatting on a laptop and chowing down on dinner

Stickers have taken the App Store by storm and today we’re pleased to announce there’s a new pair of besties you’ll be dying to download. Mallow & Puddin’ is an adorable collection of fun-filled stickers (and a fun iPhone wallpaper) that are the perfect antidote to boring chats. Created by artist Savannah Glitschka, these lovable characters will snuggle & sneak their way into your heart. Head on over to the iMessage App Store and download Mallow & Puddin’ today for just 99¢. Be sure to also check out our entire catalog of sticky creations while you’re at it, there’s something there for everyone!

Twitterrific 5.15.5 Brings Improved Quotes, a New Font & Much More

October 24, 2016

By Ged Maheux

The latest iOS update to our venerable third party Twitter app brings a host of new features and improvements. Twitterrific now displays quotes of your own tweets in the Mentions timeline which means you’ll never miss what other people are saying about your tweets again. Previously, quotes only appeared in the Today view and then only for 72 hours. Now when someone quotes one of your tweets, it will appear alongside other mentions of your tweets for easy reference. In addition, thanks to Twitterrific’s unified timeline, Quotes also appear on your Home timeline no matter if you follow the person quoting or not which is something no other Twitter client offers, not even the official client.

Twitterrific's compose screen showing a tweet displayed in Amelia

In addition, we’ve added a new font to the theme panel called Amelia. Designed by Martín Sommaruga, Amelia is a modern display face that feels geometric in appearance but has a softness that makes it especially readable, even at small sizes. It looks great in the Twitterrific timeline and when composing new tweets. To give Amelia a try, tap your round avatar to open the sidebar. Next tap the bottom center icon to open the Theme panel. From there select Amelia from the font list and you’re off to the races.

Twitterrific 5.15.5 also sports a re-designed media view that let’s you scrub videos by drawing your finger left or right over the image area and includes a host of speed, memory and battery optimizations to improve performance. Finally, we’ve squashed some important bugs including a long-standing crash when trying to load very large animated GIFs. For a complete list of what’s new, be sure to visit the Twitterrific version history page.

Twitterrific 5.15.5 is free to try via the App Store and is universal for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iPod touch. Advanced features such as tweet translation, ad removal, and more are available via in-app purchase.

Iconfactory Halloween Stickers Materialize!

October 11, 2016

By Ged Maheux

iPhones being held by costumed hands showing lock screens for Hack-O-Lantern, BoneHeadz & Ravenswood sticker packs

October has arrived and with it comes our favorite holiday of the year – Halloween! We’ve been celebrating All Hallow’s Eve around these parts for as long as we can remember and this year we’re unearthing a new crop of spooky sticker packs for iMessage. With hundreds of frightful graphics plus iPhone wallpapers, these terrific new tricks and treats include:


Lore is a critically-acclaimed podcast about true life scary stories that examines a dark tale from history each week. We’re proud to announce we’ve teamed up with author and podcaster Aaron Mahnke to bring the strange, spooky tales of Lore to life in sticker form.

several stickers from the Lore sticker pack - Raven, Skull, Zombie Hand, Bloody Axe & Candle

Lore’s popularity has been growing steadily for the past year and will even make the leap to the small screen as a new horror anthology series on Amazon Prime. If you or your friends are a fan of this wildly popular podcast head over to the App Store and download Iconfactory Lore Stickers today!


Now you can “carve” virtual pumpkins with the Iconfactory’s Hack-O-Lantern stickers for iMessage. Mix and match faces, cutouts and accessories to create legions of spooky, fun jack-o-lanterns with your family and friends. Just place a base pumpkin into chat and then tap and hold to “peel” off parts & accessories to build your perfect pumpkin creation! Hack-O-Lantern will vanish from the App Store soon so don’t wait, download it today!


We’re happy to announce that Iconfactory friend and illustrator, Von Glitschka, has returned once again to offer up an incredible set of stickers just in time for Halloween. BoneHeadz is a chock full of kooky, fun skulls that are perfect to express just about any emotion you may have. The pack is bursting with animated stickers which instantly adds life to any iMessage conversation. If you enjoy BoneHeadz, don’t forget to check out Von’s other awesome tiki sticker pack – Mahalo.

Ravenswood, Macabre & Spook On

Deadpoo t-shirt

The terrifying tales just keep on coming. Poor Lucrezia Ravenswood! As the young bride of wealthy landowner Reginald Ravenswood, she goes to live at foreboding Ravenswood Manor as the new lady of the house – and enters into a shadowy web of murderously dire mysteries, all in sticker form! Treat your friends with classic Halloween goodies from Spook On or share creepy, seasonal creatures and tales of terror with Macabre.

Can you tell we just love Halloween to death? Well we do, and we hope you enjoy this year’s silly, ghostly stickers available now on the App Store. Buy just the ones you want or get Ravenswood, Macabre, Spook On in a special money-saving bundle! Like the candy in your sack, these stickers will vanish from sale at the end of the month, so stash them away while you can. And remember … Happy Halloween!

Twitterrific 5.15.4 Add Stickers, Improves Replies, Today & More

October 8, 2016

By Ged Maheux

Twitterrific's mascot Ollie in sticker form - flying, sleeping and pulling up a worm

Twitterrific v5.15.4 adds several new fun features, improves Today view notifications and makes replying to tweets much easier. Twitterrific now includes a fun set of iMessage stickers based on our blue bird mascot, Ollie. iOS 10 users will enjoy these adorable stickers in Messages to let their friends and family know how they are feeling or just to say hi. To enable the new Twitterrific stickers, open Messages, tap the (A) button, tap the lower left (grid) button, tap the Store button, tap “Manage”, and enable “Twitterrific”. If you love iOS 10’s new stickers feature, but sure to also check out our entire sticker pack line up, there’s something there for everyone!

Version 5.15.4 improves the interface when replying to tweets so it’s clearer and easier to understand. We’ve also improved the Today view. When Twitterrific’s push notifications are active, the Today view now no longer displays events from people you have blocked. Moreover you can even swipe on a Today event (such as a like, retweet or follow) to immediately block that person without having to navigate to their user profile.

Tweet in timeline showing the source of a tweet as from Twitterrific

Finally, we’ve added the ability to see the source client for any tweet. Simply tap the tweet’s time stamp to quickly view the app or service the author originally used to post her tweet. You can then tap the time stamp again to toggle back to the tweet’s metadata if you wish.

Twitterrific 5.15.4 is free to try via the App Store and is universal for iPhone, iPad, Apple Watch and iPod touch. Advanced features such as tweet translation, ad removal, and more are available via in-app purchase. Visit Twitterrific’s version history page for the complete list of new features, improvements and bug fixes.