inessential by Brent Simmons

ATPM reviews MarsEdit

Wes Meltzer reviewed MarsEdit 1.0 for About This Particular Macintosh. It got a “Very Nice” rating—which is nothing to sneeze at for a 1.0. And there’s some great feedback in there we can use for future development.

(Oh, heck, of course we wanted an “Excellent” rating—but, hey, even Delicious Library got a Very Nice rating. Good company to be in.)

One of the things I love about the review is that it talks about Bryan Bell’s work:

In fact, this is one of the application’s greatest strengths. I’m no expert on iconography, though I play one on TV, but all the icons seem immediately recognizable for what they are. That’s a formidable challenge with a weblog editor, since it doesn’t have any real-life analogues, and piggy-backing off of Mail could be confusing. I am especially fond of the way the “… Weblog” command icons look: an action symbol superimposed on a Safari-esque window. And the “… Post” command icons use a sheet of paper with action symbols. It’s a very clean way of saying a lot with a little, and they make an abstract concept much more approachable.

I like this because it recognizes Bryan’s excellent work and also because it’s a mini-tutorial on developing toolbar icons. It’s not enough to make them attractive and clean—the use of metaphors that make sense and are consistent is a huge part of the icon designer’s art.

Though not an icon designer myself, I know just enough to have some small idea how wickedly difficult it can be.

And so not only Bryan but all the great OS X icon designers—Jon Hicks, definitely, and others whose names I don’t know—deserve our fondest thanks for helping make OS X apps usable and fun.