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September 9, 2008

New one-size-fits-all Ovi icons

GLOBAL – In the land of technology it’s often the smallest detail that can attract great attention, and the newly fashioned Ovi icons are case in point – well internally at least, with their arrival sparking heaps of interesting comments and discussion. Designed from the ground up by the Service User Interface Design (SUID) team within Nokia Design, headed up by Daniel Peterson, these new icons debut in today’s video demos of Ovi found at

But what’s most significant is that this fresh collection of crafted pixel art won’t be shackled solely to Ovi – this new icon style will ripple across to Nokia devices, and begin to appear on handsets and platforms of all shapes and surprises. But a one-size-fits-all approach to a fine detail such as this, across a company with so many people and products as Nokia, requires serious collaboration and shared visions.

Then there’s the challenge of designing a set of icons that are instantly recognizable on any digital canvas and in any country. Not that our brains in England are wired any differently from those in Egypt, however our cultural programming means we inevitably interpret things in a slightly altered way. No? The SUID team responsible have been working closely with the Ovi team to ensure the icons are as universally friendly as possible, and to my eye they look pretty sharp. What do you think?

Getting these icons established as universal within Nokia products and services isn’t going to be easy. Aapo Bovellan, one of the key members of the Ovi team, is one of many within Nokia ensuring this a pixel perfect vision becomes a reality, rallying internal troops to ensure anything in development is born with these icons integrated, whilst at the same time encouraging existing services to adopt these bright new badges. It’s amazing to witness the amount of collaboration required to deliver the tiniest detail, but the results are worth it. Aren’t they?

Of course, when it comes to the nuts and bolts of the design process it goes much deeper than this. With that in mind we’ve arranged to chat with Daniel Peterson later this week to find out how he and his team go about overcoming the design hurdles faced in a project such as this. Watch this space for a video interview, which we’ll set live early next week.