The evolution of the icons over time [infographic]

Follow some of the history of these elements that facilitated the use of computers and smartphones

From 1969 until 1980, the operating systems were all very similar, providing some functionality in a dark room all showing a series of codes online.

The history of computing was a real turning point in 1981, the year that Xerox (yes, the brand that popularized photocopies) launched the Pilot operating system with the Xerox Star computer.

This was the first operating system to provide a graphical interface. With the use of a mouse (which was also first launched by Xerox), the user could perform tasks with ease, navigating through windows, and clicking icons and functions that empower opened programs.


Although the silhouettes lightly remember the icons we know today , the graphics of the era were fairly rudimentary and not very similar to high quality designs that met current computers . Today , let's see how this evolution was the icons , through PCs , smartphones and other devices .
What is an icon ?

Well, before we go headlong into the history of these symbols , it 's knowing that we are dealing with. According to the dictionary , an icon can represent many things , but he is a computer graphic that represents certain object , function, or software shortcut.

Thus , the icon is not just one item on your desktop. It is also present in the menus of programs in the system menu and in almost every corner you can imagine. The main function of it is to facilitate visual recognition and let the simple overall usability .
Limited shapes and few colors

When Xerox launched the Pilot , the icons were almost equal. Most served to create new documents and each had a text indicating specific functionality . Something curious is that the system already had representative images to the trash , calculator , printer and folders . These icons hardly changed in 33 years of history .

In 1983 , Apple released the Lisa OS and also released their first icons . The items on the Apple system were clearly inspired by Xerox (note the recycling bin , folder and document ) system. The interface of Apple was a little more developed , but the elements were still composed of two colors : black and white .


A year later, launching the Macintosh System 1.0, Apple capricious icons, which were designed by designer Susan Kare. The graphic elements began to be a nicer guy and make more sense of their functionality. Now, some items had different sizes and were more friendly. The resolution, however, was still limited.

Like Apple, other companies were developing their icons. Atari decided to launch a computer that came in 1985 with Atari TOS system. The interface was a bit rudimentary, but the icons were worked with isometric perspective and give a sense of depth.
Colored icons and more complex designs

In 1985, the Amiga launched its operating system. The Workbench 1.0 brought a lot of new icons, which already had four colors: blue, orange, gray and black. In addition, the software Amiga had customizable and interactive cursor icons that changed color when activated.

In the same year , Microsoft released Windows 1.0 . The system brought very simple icons and went back to the old black and white scheme . As noted by the TutsPlus site , despite having a lot of similar things with other systems , Microsoft managed to change some graphics to differentiate themselves from Apple.

A good head start on designing icons happened only in 1991 , when the Macintosh System 7 emerged . Graphical representations have gained more pixels and more colors . Some objects , such as trash and the calculator , have not changed much , but new icons appeared to represent some features that the system brought.

Finally , in 1992 , Microsoft launched Windows 3.1 with designed by Susan Kare (yes , the designer who previously worked for Apple ) icons . The artist created a series of items that are very similar to many icons that are used today .

Three years later , Microsoft comes busting the mouth of the balloon with Windows 95 and to ensure familiarity , the company offers icons very similar to those that were used in the previous version . More color , more touches and isometrics leave the more modern look . The system also brought an important icon that gives access to the Start Menu . Result: Windows 95 was an absolute success.

In 1997, Apple goes after injury and launches Macintosh with OS 8 brand new icons. The elements presented seek more dimensional format with some isometrics and have a palette of colors with more contrast. The items are now have shadows and more defined.

The real revolution icons

Microsoft and Apple have launched a number of systems until 2000, but it was in 2001 that the two had the idea of ​​giving a remodeled complete the look. The first was Apple with its Mac OS X, which brought a very different interface and an amazing collection of icons. Using thousands of color and higher resolution, the design of the graphics was attractive and very realistic.

Some months later, Microsoft launched the highly acclaimed Windows XP . The system came with a completely different look and of course the objects and shortcuts were all redesigned . The icons were more colorful and friendly . Although Capricorn in the shadows and the palette , elements of Microsoft were not that realistic , but it was enough to let the nice system.

After nearly six successful years of Windows XP , Microsoft saw it was time to update your system . Windows Vista has been criticized , not so much for its look, but on account of performance . Despite this issue , there is no denying that Microsoft has made pretty . The icons were realistic and many were mirrored. Some were reused in Windows 7 .

In 2007 , Apple also took a few touches on their icons . The company released Mac OS X Leopard , which came with chrome , reflective items and some effects that mimic the effect of glass. It was not a completely new design , mainly because the objects were previously very cute .

Finally, in 2012 , Microsoft releases Windows 8 and , oddly enough , brings some basic icons for your new interface . The modern look of the system is based on tiles and has simplified features designed to facilitate understanding . Nevertheless , the software has not abandoned the old interface and icons that are similar to Windows 7 are present .
Icons invade the cell

By the 2000s , many mobile phones began to gain more functions beyond calls and text messages . With that , the phones needed most versatile screens capable of displaying more complex elements .

Is a simple key to indicate that the device was locked or a small antenna to represent the signal level , the cell began to receive icons of all kinds which guaranteed the simplicity of use .

Over time, they gained more colorful displays and functions . Gradually , the screens were already similar to a computer , enabling the display of wallpapers and icons for various functions .

However , the real change happened in 2007 , when Apple launched the iPhone , which featured a higher-resolution display and icons that really make Web browsing easier . It was no longer necessary to have texts and explanations on the display . With a beautiful large icon size , you know how to access the internet and perform various operations on your smartphone .

The iPhone also secured the arrival of several apps to the world of mobile phones. Soon , browsers , music players and many other softwares were released for the Apple smartphone . The icons were instrumental in this sense, both serving as propaganda for the company disclose the uniqueness of various games and apps .

Soon , Android and Windows Phone came to divide the market. Each system has brought its own icons , but Android had more similarities with iOS ( although not regular use borders and icons ) and WP7 was quite different , including being the precursor of the style of Windows 8 . Windows Phone 8 is still the best alternative , bringing elements stoned and plans .

The obsolete icon

It is curious that in the midst of so many icons , one in particular was never changed and today he has no more reason to exist . We're talking about the " Save " function icon, which in many programs is
still represented by a floppy .

The truth is that it no longer has a reason to be used from when the documents are no longer exclusively saved on floppy disks . Existing computers even bring floppy drives, but due to the long history of the icon , it remains an element that serves well to represent their function which is proposed .

There is also a big problem because of the familiarity. People already know that the floppy means saving , even if that object no longer longer part of everyday life . It's hard to replace that icon on the other , as it can confuse people even more that there are countless places to save a document : cloud, pendrive , CD and others.
Icons everywhere

Well, that was a brief history of icons . Obviously there are a multitude of other systems that have been released over the years and each brought different graphics. Also, the icons have a fundamental role in , smart TVs , Blue - ray players and other devices so many GUIs video games .

It is also worth noting that the icons are no longer designed just for systems and today there are many artists that outline elements that are magnificent themes and logos to replace multiple applications . The history of these items does not end here and still must surely undergo many changes in the future. The way is to get used to the new icons and continue using the good old floppy disk to save so many changes .