The Internet is buzzing today. Facebook has a new icon for ‘friends.’ Didn’t notice? Look again. Now you see it. Instead of the female icon appearing behind the male icon, they are now side-by-side. Fixing it was a must – it was dated, and the source image had some issues.
Or, as Caitlin Winner, design manager at Facebook, put it, the woman had a literal chip on her shoulder.
Seizing the responsibility of changing up the icon, Ms. Winner set about to make Facebook look a little better. In a Medium post, she explains the process:
“I assumed no ill intentions, just a lack of consideration, but as a lady with two robust shoulders, the chip offended me.”
Like any graphic design job, it’s all about a series of designs until you get the final product. Number one was to get rid of the chip. Once it was gone, the woman icon was brought even with the male icon. Easy enough, until you look at the hairstyles.
Yeah, the ‘Darth Vader’ hairstyle had to go. Maybe a ponytail? Nope, at 32 pixels, it doesn’t look right. Neither does a full hairstyle. Everything looks great enlarged, but Facebook icons have to conform to its 32 pixels setting.
In the end, the icon earned its shoulder a bob haircut.
How about the guys? Do we get an upgrade? Damn right. With the modern lady off to his side, the old male icon was looking a bit dated. Caitlin Winner sloped the shoulders a bit and tamed the haircut as well.
In the end, this was the final product to replace the old icon. You can see the before on the left, and the current on the right.
Facebook Group Icon Redesigned
Why stop at one icon, when you can make all of them look impressive? Winner focused next on groups, which had featured two men and a woman, set behind the men. Three unique silhouettes were designed, with the woman being placed in the center, in front of two men.
Here you can see the before and after:
Nothing at Facebook is someone else’s problem.
After the two alterations to Facebook’s glyph kit, Caitlin is looking for her next target. Symbols matter to her, and she’s looking at the briefcase as her next target. Does that truly represent work in the 21st century?
If I had a briefcase, it would be an unorganized mess. Trust me, it’s better for everyone if you just give me a smartphone.
Overall, the new designs look great. I think Caitlin Winner’s work should stand as a testament to great design. Working with Facebook glyphs has to be a challenge with the size constraints. And hey, if it gets people talking about gender bias, it will be win-win.
But don’t let her great work become another political football. She deserves better than that. If the Internet could hold a normal conversation, I’d say go for it. But the screaming matches on social media? I’m going to pass on the echo chamber of idiocy.