New Amazon Kindle App Icon: Highlighting What's Important
PREVIOUS APP ICON AND NEW ICON COMPARISON
The Amazon Kindle is the leading eReader on the market today. When originally launched in 2007, it set the standard for eReaders and eBook usability. With numerous different formats, functionalities and price points, the Kindle maintains an approximate 75% market share in the U.S. among dedicated eReader devices.
As the Kindle approaches its 10th anniversary, and its product offerings remain strong, Amazon decided to redesign the app to enhance performance and user experience. Along with the change came a newly designed app icon. Amazon explains its rationale for the change this way:
“We wanted to really zoom in on the scene, that moment of reading and the sense of sanctuary, the sense of reprieve, that comes with a great story,” Amazon’s Seth Micarelli said."
Over the past decade or so, many, if not most avid readers have probably had the opportunity to experience a good (or perhaps bad) book on an e-Reader. The Kindle, Nook, and even the iPad, allow readers to download books for a relatively low price as opposed to actually buying a hard copy. Although the printed book is making a comeback, ebooks are still very popular. While tablets and smartphones enable readers to choose a more flexible device, dedicated e-readers still make up about 20% of the market. And the king of that market is undoubtedly the Amazon Kindle.
I’m not an avid reader. OK, I’m not really even a casual reader. When it comes to reading for enjoyment, I might read a couple of books a year – and that’s in a good year. Most of the reading I do is in the form of articles, blogs, and other short-form content. See, even calling it “content” highlights my proclivity to read as a means-to-an-end. It’s sad, I know. I never developed a deep love for reading. And with a wife who is an academic, a 9-year-old daughter that reads numerous books each month, and a 5-year-old that is just starting to read (and loving it), I definitely stand out as the oddball in the family for my ambivalence towards a good book.
However, I do not have any ambivalence towards a good logo.
Photo Courtesy: Amazon.com
Just a few weeks before the 10th anniversary of the first Kindle device, Amazon is introducing a revamped version of its app for Android and iOS. Sure, there are new features and navigation that will help the reader, but as you might assume, these changes will likely never impact my life. But a part of the launch of the new app is, of course, a new app logo. And I can only say, “I love it”.
At first you might ask, “Didn’t they just flip the kid and get rid of the tree?” or “Hey, did the DreamWorks kid give up fishing for reading?” My answers would simply be, “Yes and more” and “You can definitely enjoy both.” But I digress.
So, what makes the new app icon better? First, I think the simplification of the mark and an even greater emphasis on reading highlight the Kindle’s core brand mission. The most obvious change is the removal of the word Kindle. That’s partly a function of the app, but it sure makes for better design. Beyond that, the smoothing of the ground lines and the removal of the tree keep the focus on the reader. I also love that by simply reversing the position of the body, you can now see a subtle (whether intentional or not) “K” in the body form.
Those small changes simplified the image. But equally important is the addition of small details…the slight indentations at the sleeve, shirt back and pant cuff, along with the blurred stars, provide greater realism, while at the same time creating a romantic almost ethereal quality. The stars also reinforce that it is indeed night (and dark), yet one is still able to read with the Kindle. I think the one opportunity that was missed is in the radial gradient. I would have liked to see it originate at the Kindle, instead of just behind the child.
Whether this improvement will have any real impact on declining eReader market share, or even inspire a newfound love of reading in this guy, is yet to be seen. But in terms of a successful brand redesign, this is one I can’t put down..