Designers have spoken: redesigning iOS 7

By this time, I can assume you’ve formed some type of opinion of the iPhone’s newest operating system. Some love it, lots (of designers) hate it, but either way, I’m sure you have an opinion about it.

The design community seems to have a pretty unanimous opinion that the new look of iOS7 is a bit of a fail. From the extremely colorful icons to the inconsistent stylistics, I’m sure there’s something out there a great software user interface designer can point out for fixing.


What should iOS7 look like?

Complaining about the design of iOS7 gets us nowhere. I live by the idea that one shouldn’t complain about a situation unless they have a fairly good solution. Well, a whole bunch of designers obviously agree, because they’ve been redesigning elements of the new operating system. 

Some of these changes are subtle corrections whilst others are bold designs completely rethought from scratch. Fortunately, designers have given us alternatives to stack against the designs of Jony Ive. Let’s jump right in.


Anton Kovalev

As we know, the designers at Apple decided to completely ditch their skeuomorphic design and go with something a bit flatter. Apple kind of redefined ‘flat’ as they just used some different gradients. This designer created a flat UI that sticks with the concept from top to bottom. The consistency in colors is also important because it gives the icons a cohesive feel.



Alexandr Nohrin

This redesign doesn’t stray too far away from what Jony Ive has already deemed his new software design. A major issue with the icons of iOS 7 were the gradients and how inconsistent they were. Some were from light to dark, others were from dark to light and others just seemed to be pretty random. Nevertheless, this designer found a way to make it fairy cohesive while taking a stab at redesigning some of the other icons.



Ariel Verber 

We talked about flat design and how Apple has tried to use it better. This redesign isn’t just flat, but it’s extremely simple as all the icons are essentially white and a single colored background. This is even a different layout for the iPhone where the clock is put on top of the icons. This is just a completely rethought design.



Jackie Tran Anh

Again, this is a pretty safe redesign of iOS7 that tries some different things with new and rethought icons. The icon backgrounds seem to still be a bit less consistent, however there seems to be a rather smooth feel for the actual icon.



Leo Drapeau

I really like this set of icons because they decided to use a coherent style for the icons. Of major importance is the new, redesigned look of the compass and stock icons that really seem to stand out on iOS 7 because they don’t feel as minimal and structured as the others. This designer did just that.



Pascal Assaleh

These icons for iOS7 seem to be extremely precise. Each icon’s background has a subtle gradient that adds a bit of depth to it that makes it more like a button. There’s also a very thin shadow under the actual icon. I’d be very interested to see how this redesign looks and feels in the hand. It seems like it could offer a wonderful experience.



Nicole Calace

Of course, we will continue to see lots of designs that utilize flat color, so here’s another. First, the design of the icons is really nice and almost gives off a bit of a vintage feel with the color choices and the ultra-simplicity of the design. I like how each icon was given that added shine at the top to give a little bit of something else.



Sam Nissinen

Lots of people took to the icons to redesign for Apple, but there are many other things that could be redesigned for iOS7. One of my personal dislikes was the control panel. It originally seems a bit busy while being monotonous. This designer does a great job of cleaning that up by adding some color and by using smaller, neater icons.



Venkatesh Aiyulu

This design seems to stray away just a bit from what’s new in iOS 7. Obviously, this designer decided to re-imagine it on a leash and came up with some wonderful stuff. The chunkier icons and subtle gradients are pretty consistent throughout all the icons.



Isis Marques 

How do you fix a set of icons that people keep saying isn’t cohesive enough? Well, you put them on the same color and then you use the same style to make them. These minimalist icons attempt to give users an easy way to use iOS7. While they lack some excitement, it’s hard to argue how well all these icons go together.



Naxo Garcia

I like this set of icons because the designer didn’t really dismiss the feel of the new icons. These are still bright and have flat elements. It’s just easier to see the completeness in thought. One of the things you have to consider when doing something like this is how much to keep and how much to drop.



Andrei Brink

I love this attempt at a flat UI because it’s especially unwaivering (no gradients or shadows) and has a very mature look. It’s really hard, in my opinion, to create a flat concept and keep it looking adult rather than “toy-ish.” There’s a lot of detail to these icons that really give it that extra notch of beauty that it needs.



Ida Swarczewskaja

With some slight variations (except for the total re-design of the compass icon), this is one of the many re-imagined concepts that just attempts to build on top of what Apple already has. I think with another stab that the newsstand icon, this could really be a legitimate redesign for the new operating system.



Alexis Jossart 

I absolutely love this redesign because it doesn’t seem to be caught up on trends of the moment, but about what really looks good on a smartphone and what makes sense. The icons are gorgeous (especially the Twitter and the Camera ones). The other screens for the redesign are super clean and well thought out for users. This is an overall great redesign.



Dmitry Kovalenko

First off, I like how the designer took all the icons and simplified them. He used richer colors for his icons and then added this beautiful drop shadow underneath it all to really set it off. The new icons just seem to be a more mature version of what’s already been created by Apple. 




While many of the reviews on the completely redesigned iOS 7 are extremely mixed, it doesn’t take away from the fact that we must give Apple some credit. I remember reading somewhere about how difficult it is to launch a new product or launch a rebrand. The idea is that not everyone’s going to love it at first, and you’re sure to hit some hiccups every now and again. Doing something new and different is a process, one that isn’t necessarily considered a hit over night. Because of this, I have to give tremendous respect to Jony Ive for taking the extremely popular iOS in a different direction, one that many of us never thought we’d see. Hopefully, on the way to perfecting iOS 7, some criticisms are accepted and built upon. Until then, let’s enjoy something new!

Which of these redesigns is your favourite? Do you prefer Apple’s version? Let us know in the comments.

  • scottrichardson

    What I find interesting is that NONE of these redesigns or edits match the overall visual quality of Apple’s own stock iOS7 design. I give credit to a couple of these attempts, and of course a pat on the back for everyone who attempted a redesign, but as stated I still prefer the overall look of the stock iOS7 design. Wether or not ‘flat’ is the ideal design aesthetic to follow is the question for me. I appreciate that flat design allows the UI to get out of the way and let the content sing, however without a strong UI, the generation and browsing of content may be somewhat more abstract than it used to be – creating a slightly steeper learning curve than with iOS6 etc. Jury is still out for me.

    • Isis Marques

      For sure I understand your point of view! Designing a entire OS is a hard task, so I think most of the designers did it for fun, not to be “superior” to apple, but just to express how could be the system in their view. My design is one of this ( and I did it for fun, trying to respect the guidelines suggested by apple. But when I saw the comparison of the iOS-6 to the iOS-7 icons, I could see how much the iOS-7 are already better than the previous version. =)

    • Jack Nycz

      Yeah, clearly a bunch of lone designers didn’t spend the hundreds of hours that the iOS7 team did on the project. They were mostly trying to convey new ways to look at at, most of which I happen prefer to the My Little Pony gradients that are all over the icons currently.

  • Minecraft

    Redesigning iOS 7, if it can bring greater efficiency?

  • marzhal

    I love Dmitry Kovalenko’s version best!

  • Lovingdesigns

    After looking through these iterations and looking back at Apples original icons, for me – it’s very clear that ALL of the icons in this article is a lot better than Apples.

  • HemanthMalli

    I liked Leo Drapeau and Venkatesh Aiyulu re-designs !!

  • jaystrab

    The problem with every new “design” I’ve seen, both here and elsewhere, is that it doesn’t really redesign anything. A redesign indicates more than just a visual look change. It indicates a rethinking of the actual design of the OS. Design is not just looks. These are more of what I would call re-skinning or theming.
    On top of that, none of these are even rethinking the icon designs. They all still use a gear for settings and a chat bubble for messages. Reminders all use some lines with checkmarks or something like that.
    If you’re going to take hours of your time to redo something someone has already done, then why bother? Especially when it doesn’t really make it that much better.
    Come up with YOUR OWN ideas. There are literally thousands of chat bubble icons around the web.

    • StandardOrgin

      Sir, I respectfully disagree with your comments. Jony Ive’s iOS7 design is just as “new” as these folks up here. Making everything Helvetica Neue Light and running a couple filters on vector apps while keeping the same look is nothing “new”. It’s more like a mid-term project for kids at SCAD or RISD.

      Apple as a “revolutionary technology” company should be doing better than this.

      • jaystrab

        I didn’t say anything about Jony Ive’s design being awesome and new. Why would you even assume that? NONE of these people are doing anything new, so why bother? People are so jaded nowadays with their smart phones and computer operating systems. They want change every couple months because that’s what Facebook does. If it doesn’t happen, they feel cheated and like they’re using something old and outdated. iOS 6 is not outdated. iOS 2 is not outdated. Android Eclair is not outdated. Why does everyone feel the needs to try to redesign everything every couple months? Just chill.
        The functionality does what you want already. That’s why you bought the device in the first place.

      • jaystrab

        Also, perhaps you should read this

  • mklwrmrdm

    I don’t like the flat aspect at all. It looks like Apple is following Microsoft in their footesteps.

  • CooperB

    There are some really good solutions here. Now I’d like to see designers take on the small nuances of the OS itself such as the fugly lime green and blue colors, huge amounts of leading and the over abundance white.

  • websnap

    I wasn’t a big fan of the redesign til I got it in my hands. These designs, however, are much less refined than iOS7’s and after actually using stock iOS 7 – I love it. An altered safari icon, maybe… but I look at these alternatives and none of them look like they are more suitable for a browser, just a “stylized” version of what we already have. I’d like to see a more creative solution modernly iconize our browser. I do like, however, Alexandr Nohrin’s use of a speaker for music. Its simple, well executed and universal all while being able to sidestep confusion with iTunes Store by shedding the musical double-note.

  • bgbs

    most of these are not real redesigns but rather minor alterations to the IO7. There are couple examples which I would call redesigns, that take the design to a different direction, but I do not like them.

    What do all these redesigns mean? Don’t fix that which isn’t broken.

  • Rodrigo Sales

    People find it so easy to do minor adjustments on the color pallete and some insignificant changes on the icons and say they are kicking Jhonny Ive’s rear, have you ever though about what’s the real work of redesigning a whole OS UI?
    think about the usability, the new layout, the software engineering barriers..

    I have seen tons of IO7 redesigns but none of them really seems to be a real redesign, its just some minor changes based on personal taste, It os like when you buy a car and add some accessories, now it looks a bit different from your neighbor’s, but its clearly the same car, and not the next generation model.

  • Mikhail

    Every one of these, with the possible exception of Naxo Garcia’s (just because he kept with the style), is just not as good. They look like bad Samsung ripoffs. Which is why this whole redesign thing is interesting: Almost none of these look like iPhone screens. If you showed these to your mom, she’d think it was something else. Apple has some work to do for sure, like that camera and Safari icon, but they have retained their branding, which almost none of these did.

    • Steven Radney

      Yes, Naxo’s really stands out! Looks like a lot of folks had a blast!

  • naduh

    all these designs look about the same. they are all just refining the ios7 look which is a rip off of other mobile os designs. ios7 is too pastel and ‘kiddy’ for me.

  • Wr8rR

    The first, guys!

  • StandardOrgin

    It’s the best of the bunch. BUT the notification UI looks like it’s copying Facebook home

  • karolynaz

    Design is not just looks. That’s why Jony is genius… and that’s why everyone will be fallowing this design trend after 1-2 years. iOS 7 icons is just like modern art – every designer looks at them, and say: “I can do better. This looks like shit.“, but when they do “better“, nobody considers that as „art“.

  • Rob Mitchell

    It’s a matter of Taste. I fail to see any real value in simply re-designing something that has been published; other than to explore personal taste or worse, fuel an ego. Design is a COMPLETE PROCESS, you can’t just jump in at the end and claim the winning. These designers need to go back to school.

  • Rifat Mohammed

    This looks better than apple’s ios 7 icons :)

  • Guest

    I made some customization to IOS 7 icons. Here :

  • Rifat Mohammed

    I made some customization to ios 7 icons. Here :

    Major changes to : Camera, Maps, Stocks, Reminder, Game Center, Itunes store, Appstore, Settings, Safari and Mail

    (All the icons are not designed by me,Some of them are taken from the website)

    Hope you like it. :)

  • Justin Easthall

    All the above are so close to the original. Its easy to do this. Standing on the soldiers of a giant etc. Would have been interesting to design before iOS 7 was demo’ed.

  • Rix Banga

    I’m an Apple guy through and through, but Windows Phone and Android UI is kicking Apple’s butt. Was hoping for way more that the childish looking iOS 7 we are going to get. I don’t have a problem with flat design, but come on guys at least make the icons look consistent and ditch the dodgy gradients!!!

    Maybe widgets will be introduced in iOS 12 ??

  • Andrew Nyland

    Dmitry Kovalenko. Those are pretty. I’m still not sure whether I like Apple’s new design ideas, but it is very interesting to see redesigns, and some are quite nice. Apple went on a nice road, I’m not sure if its a road for them, but still a nice one, but the Apple design just doesn’t feel good, but some of these redesigns do feel good.

  • Jam

    I like these redesigns and sincerely hope there will come a non-jailbroken option to customize this look. I am not a big fan of the neon colors.. But i can definitely get used to it.

  • Hi, I’m Paul

    I would honestly pay around 50 dollars for the Alexis Jossart design, it’s keeping the same low-detail as Apple was probably trying to keep, (Which I admire, just some other design things seem funny to me) but it also is extremely elegant. The contrast and shading really just makes me want to have it. Also, it reminds me of iOS 6, which is a big perk to those who aren’t as accepting of iOS 7’s design. The design is the only thing which made me downgrade.

  • William John

    Great Designs compared to the original i os 7, i love the one by Venkatesh Aiyulu the icons look great. would be better if all these desings are converted into custom themes for IOS…