The latest version of iOS and its applications aren’t the only place where Apple’s preference for flat design is being felt. Just ask the designers at Mozilla about Firefox, an alternative web browser that is feeling Apple’s influence even though it has never entered the App Store.
Firefox 23, released today, contains the usual mix of security work, standards conformance improvements, and minor bug fixes that we’ve come to expect from the regular browser releases. On top of these, it sports a trio of changes that you might actually notice.
Most visibly of all, Firefox has a new icon. Don’t worry—the lovable firefox is still embracing the globe and still has its back rudely turned towards us. The blue marble is, however, much less shiny than it once was.
The official Mozilla design blog, about:pixels, gives us the details on Firefox’s new look, along with this explanation.
The concept of what Firefox is has evolved quite a bit over the years. Not too long ago, it was a desktop browser, plain and simple. However, as the Web has grown and developed in new ways, so has Firefox – it’s now a browser for Android, Mac, Windows and Linux as well as an apps marketplace and a brand new mobile operating system. That’s a lot of change in a short period!
With all that in mind, we’ve decided that the time is right to reflect this ongoing evolution with a visual refresh of the Firefox logo and product icon. As you can see from the graphic above, the basic concept remains exactly the same, but it’s been modernized to reflect Firefox’s role in the ever-changing Web of 2013 and beyond.
Unlike previous versions, the updated logo was created specifically with mobile in mind. Although we think it looks great at any size, it’s been optimized to be crisper and cleaner on small screens and lower resolution devices. However, it also scales quite nicely for use in retina displays, and (unlike previous versions) can be accurately recreated in SVG so it’s more ‘of the Web’.
Sean Martell, the designer behind the update, provides specifics like the removal of high-gloss from the Firefox globe. The introduction of deeper blues and lighter oranges to provide greater contrast and separation between elements. And the removal of blending modes and complex gradients that have prevented past versions of the logo from being reproduced using only SVG and CSS.
Now you might be asking, “what do all of these changes have to do with iOS 7 and Apple, Firefox isn’t even an iOS app?” Good question. Firefox lives in the same design ecosystem as all interconnected software. (I like to call these connections the World Wide Web.) Vibrations made along one spoke of the Web effect the other spokes, especially if the spider making the vibrations is a 800-pound tarantula like Apple.1 Firefox might not be in the App Store, but spider or fly it is still part of the same web. Vibrations such as iOS 7’s new flat design or the prevalence of Retina displays can be easily felt by any good designer. Firefox simplified new logo looks like an iOS 7 app even if it is not, because that is the way the web is shaking. You don’t have to be part of the Apple ecosystem for feel its effects.