As Apple’s WWDC 2021 event closes in, here’s something that’s been on my mind since the last time I visited the App Store on my iPad. I’ve spoken with plenty of different people about it and it’s mostly unanimous – nobody likes the art style most tech giants like Apple use for their marketing materials.You know when you open the App Store on your iPhone and you see an odd-looking, wildly disproportionate human figure in a featured app block? Or you’re just looking up something in Facebook’s Help Center and you see the exact same vector-based low detail human figures? Alternatively, you may be interested in checking out what Google’s Android YouTube account is all about, and… Yep, you see the exact same low detail disproportionate human figures.
The entire silicon valley uses the same (often unappealing) art style
And we have the exhibits above. The top left image is what I recently saw on Apple’s App Store – a person with a freakishly tiny face yet huge arms. But what about Google? The image presented above was taken from the Android YouTube channel, although this art style is present in many videos and Android-related pages.
YouTube itself also often uses graphics like that inside the channel dashboard. And what’s with Facebook and its stumpy-limb figures with freakishly tiny heads? Lastly, over at Microsoft’s account section we can see a very similar basic art style.
It’s quite surprising, especially in regards to Google and Apple, since their phone operating systems, for example, are quite different from a visual design standpoint. Apple’s iOS uses blur and shadow effects all over the interface, while Google’s Android uses flat colors, no shading. You’d think those differences in design language will also apply to the style in which those two companies draw us – their users.
So yeah, it’s almost like we can’t escape from this art style. And if you never noticed any of it, I bet you won’t be able to un-notice it now! (Sorry.)
“But come on, it’s kind of cute, simple and universal!”
Well, is it, though? Nobody I asked finds Apple or Google’s art cute or stylish, and I bet most children would literally be scared by disproportionate human figures like those. In fact, I consulted with my young nieces, who use iPads all the time. They do find what the App Store has to show on occasion to be a bit scary.
Although to be fair, one of my nieces gets scared by Donkey from Shrek, so big limbs, big teeth, anything like that would be a no-no. Apple is all about being child and family-friendly, right? So what’s up with this art direction? Why not go with the Memoji art style which Apple uses for WWDC? It looks way better, check it out:
Instead, you go to the App Store and see something like this most of the time:
Be honest, what do you think?
You’re a user of those companies’ products too. You also see it all the time. Let us know what you think about the simplistic, oddly proportional art style we showed above, used by most tech giants. Do you find it relatable and pleasant, simple and non-threatening, like it’s meant to be? Or do you find it off-putting?