Fighting the flat: the resurgence of the photorealistic icon

No-one can deny the surge in popularity for smartphones over the last few years. But as well as an increase in the number of iPhones and other smartphones out there, the number of apps installed on those phones is also on the rise. In the US, Nielsen recently reported that between 2011 and 2012 the average number of apps per smartphone went up from 32 to 41 - and things have moved on apace since then. The bottom line is apps are up against stiff competition and lots of it, so they need to stand out from the crowd.

Once an app has been downloaded it needs to score highly on looks as well as functionality, or it’ll lose its coveted spot on a user’s smartphone. With 41-plus icons competing for attention on an iPhone’s app grid that little signature picture needs to look good. One trend that seems to be taking off in the field of icon design is photorealism. This design style offers a heck of a lot more texture than the numerous 'flat design'-style icons that are out there but has a lot more finesse than the clunky, tawdry design style that was around prior to flat design minimalism. The design pendulum is swinging back in favour of detail but in a way that looks polished, sleek and very technically advanced.

Thank you for reading 5 articles this month* Join now for unlimited access

Enjoy your first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

*Read 5 free articles per month without a subscription

Join now for unlimited access

Try first month for just £1 / $1 / €1

The Creative Bloq team is made up of a group of design fans, and has changed and evolved since Creative Bloq began back in 2012. The current website team consists of eight full-time members of staff: Editor Georgia Coggan, Deputy Editor Rosie Hilder, Ecommerce Editor Beren Neale, Senior News Editor Daniel Piper, Editor, Digital Art and 3D Ian Dean, Tech Reviews Editor Erlingur Einarsson and Ecommerce Writer Beth Nicholls and Staff Writer Natalie Fear, as well as a roster of freelancers from around the world. The 3D World and ImagineFX magazine teams also pitch in, ensuring that content from 3D World and ImagineFX is represented on Creative Bloq.