By Jennifer Farley

Changing Tunes: New Icon Design For iTunes

By Jennifer Farley

It’s hardly world shattering news, but as we’re interested in all things design here, I feel mention should be made of the new iTunes application icon which came out with the launch of the latest version of iTunes last week. As with all things Apple related it’s been a big talking point on Twitter and the blogs.

The new icon is a fairly generic affair with a dark navy/black musical note sitting on a dark blue glassy style button with a drop shadow. The big change is of course the removal of the shiny CD under the music note. The music note itself has changed from a glassy, glossy, bubbly note to more of a cartoon style. Steve Jobs said the reason for dropping the CD from the icon is that “We thought it was appropriate, since, next spring, it looks like iTunes is actually going to surpass sales of CDs in the US… we thought ‘maybe it’s time to ditch the CD in the logo”.

iTunes Before iTunes After
Out with the old… and in with the new.

The icon is also integrated as part of Ping – Apple’s new social network for music.


Much of the criticism of the icon seems to be about the glossy style and beveled edges which some are decrying as a cliché. And maybe it is, but isn’t glossy the Apple style or at least very much popularized by Apple and copied by influential to many designers? Looking at the type treatment on the iTunes homepage, the icon looks positively flat in comparison to the glossy, beveled, metallic and reflective text.


Others have pointed out that iTunes is no longer just an online shop for music, but a huge entertainment centre selling everything from books to movies and this has not been reflected in the icon design. Check out the Brand New article looking at the icon in detail with a humorous eye.

If you’d like to hurl some abuse or give it a gentle pat on the back, you can find the iTunes10 icon defending itself here on Twitter.


Does the new icon design float your boat or leave you cold? Or are we all just taking this a little too seriously?

  • iVicio

    Well, i think is simple and clear icon.
    btw i made a brand new icon for iTunes –> :)

    • powerpotatoe

      It makes sense to update the logo given the broad media service iTunes provides. However, I noticed the logo change right after my iTunes update and I first thought that iTunes was replaced with an inferior product. Unfortunately, the icon does not match the design of the application and it appears flat and…well, mediocre.

  • If I could pick one thing that might help this icon be better, it’s probably either no gradient on the background or a much more subtle one.

  • When I saw it I thought they took it from logo application that creates a bunch of generic boring logos. That is what I see here, generic and boring. Something a new comer in graphic design would make.

  • JHig310336

    The icon is cold and doesn’t match or communicate with the design of iTunes. The design is lazy and generic and has no identity. It doesn’t scream ‘Apple’

  • catbarnes

    When I upgraded the app I noticed the new icon immediately. And instantly hated it. I can’t really tell you why. I agree with Jobs that the old icon doesn’t represent the iTunes brand any longer. But the new icon is so generic, it just bothers me. I guess in a word, it looks like the iTunes logo got Bejeweled! Blech!

  • I like it.

  • XLCowBoy

    The idea behind it was correct (move past the disc), but this reeks of designed by committee.

  • Personally, I don’t like the new iTunes logo. When compared to the older one (or even to other icons like Pages, iPhoto, iMovie, etc), it lacks polish. It feels like Apple didn’t even try hard at making the new icon graphically representable (especially in comparison with the others).

    I do agree with Steve Jobs that the older one no longer reflects the iTunes brand (but then again, considering iTunes is much more than about strictly music now, nor does its name). But they could have come up with something much better than this!

    oh well, thank god for reverting back to the older icon.

  • I must agree that the icon looks like something from a generic icon set… but its plain, simple and definitely better than the previous version!

  • I actually have a free icon set that contains blue, red, green and greyscale versions that look about 99% like that icon, and the icons I have are layered so you can drop in whatever image/logo/icon you want inside and it would give it the same look.

    Its sad that with all the innovation that Apple has, they would sell themselves short by putting out such a drab logo. That looks like something Microsoft would do. :(

    • … And on top of that, what does “Ping” have to do with music??? Ping is a network tool. Sounds like the marketing team was just lazy and decided to try and rip off Microsoft left and right (“bing”).

  • dowen

    Hate it. Reminds me of the stodgy old Microsoft icons. Maybe the ugliness comes with being the biggest guy on the block.

  • Swiss

    I think the logo is perfect. Art is very subjective.

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