Did Apple Rip Off Messages’ Icon Design From HipChat? [Image]

Did Apple Rip Off Messages’ Icon Design From HipChat? [Image]

How many ways are there to design a chat icon?

Here at Cult of Mac, we’re a big fan of HipChat, a phenomenal team calibration tool based around group chat and IM, which works on any platform with dedicated apps for Mac and iOS. In fact, it’s how we keep in touch with each other throughout each work day. The app is a mainstay in our docks.

So when we woke up this morning and found out Apple was announcing a new version of OS X including a brand new Messages IM app, the first thing we thought was: “Hey! That icon looks familiar!” Very familiar.

Or put another way, Apple seems to have heavily “borrowed” inspiration from Hipchat’s icon (right) when designing their own Messages icon (left). In fact, short of a subtle variation in bubble shape and gradient, plus the fact that the white chat bubble is in front of the blue one, we’d go as far as to say they’re identical.

Apple’s never been shy about “borrowing” ideas from the competition before, and granted, there’s only so many ways you can design a chat icon. Still, given how upset Apple has gotten over Samsung swiping the design of iOS icons wholesale, we think the similarity here is a little bit rich.

What do you think? Is this just a coincidence, or did Apple really steal HipChat’s icon design? Let us know in the comments.

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  • FriarNurgle

    Yep, they swiped it. 

  • arCyn1c

    Yes.

  • Tyler Averell

    apple did what they do best, take something thats ok and make it beautiful

  • Mach Concorde

    Hmmm … I don’t think so… looks more like apple took their speech bubble and “typing” bubble indictors in iMessage and superimposed them ….

  • Troll McTroll

    Well I think failchat should be sued by Apple… obviously ripping off Mac OS X Jaguar

  • Troll McTroll

    I agree

  • Troll McTroll

    You’re wrong

  • Troll McTroll

    You’re wrong

  • Troll McTroll

    You’re wrong

  • Troll McTroll

    You’re wrong

  • Troll McTroll

    You’re wright

  • Troll McTroll

    We gotta start makin’ changes. Learn to see me as a brother ‘stead of two distant strangers. 
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v

  • volodoscope

    No, no no! You got it all wrong. When someone steals Apple’s design, that’s copying. When Apple steals someone else designs that’s called “Apple has $100B in cash and sue your ass 10 times over!”

  • Troll McTroll

    Well, yes.  Also your wrong.

  • MacBen77

    My question would be, how long has HipChat been in existence.  iChat on the Mac has been around a long time with the familiar blue balloon.  It looks to me like HipChat borrowed the iChat icon first and added the white balloon.  So…not a big deal.  

  • Joe Kueser

    Looks like a “natural” progression from iChat to HipChat to Messages. HipChat “obviously” “stole” the chat bubble from iChat, now Apple is just “stealing” it back.

  • tekunoloji

    You’re wrong. “You’re” is not “your.” 

  • Troll McTroll

    Your wong.

  • d_n

    Seriously? How does this even qualify as a post?

  • d_n

    Seriously? How does this even qualify as a post?

  • taylerz

    Ask the HipChat folks before writing a post like this. Don’t use your blog to answer your questions. We are commoners and we know nothing. Since you like both Apple and HipChat, why don’t you ask them? For all we know, HipChat gave them permission, licensed it or copied it from Apple. Weak attempt to resuscitate your Google Adsense revenues. Weak!

  • IamEzio

    It looks like actually HipChat copy the iChat bubble. 

  • supertino

    McLol

  • Octvrium

    just brilliant your answer!

  • Octvrium

    witch is older? so they copy or not copy, the desing make it “a copy” 

  • Jordan Clay

     You are being quite a douche…learn to spell…mkay..

  • DrM47145

    As good old Steve Jobs once said: “Good artists copy, great artists steal”.

    Now I wouldn’t say they ripped it off. I would say they got the inspiration and just significantly improved it. :-)

  • digiprod

    Are you kidding, maybe it was stolen from the Blondie and Dagwood comic strip!!! Hahaha ridiculous!

  • Stephen M Walls

    THAT’S IT! I’M TRADING MY MAC IN FOR A WINDOWS 7 DEVICE! I CAN’T STAND THIS CRAP ANY LONGER!

  • Clark Wallace

    Brownlee ‘shopped the Hipchat icon to look like the Messages icon!

  • Snob Crusade

    Please, there are thousands of speech bubbles logotypes in the internet

  • macgizmo

    I’m pretty sure AOL was using the chat bubble long before even Apple started using it in iChat… so HipChat and Apple can both suck it!

  • macgizmo

     Let me save McDouchenozzle up there some time by saying, “I’m wrong.”

  • recyclops117

    Hahaha wait this is a joke right?

  • techgeek01

    Apple is the master of ripping off others.  So, should this come as a surprise? 

  • Mohit Deshpande

    have you also noticed that the Gatekeeper icon in mountain lion is similar to the windows security essentials icon!!

  • Matthew Sprygada

    So true!!! +1

  • Rob Williams

    Oh yeah, Apple stole their logo from an apple I took a fat bite out of when I was a kid.  Thieves.

  • Ronilo Palma

    He’s Wong!  :D

  • Artoo

    What if the designer is a freelancer and did the logos for both? Do a little research before you start accusing someone of stealing icons.

  • Al

    I’d not heard of HipChat before. Looks REALLY good!

  • Jeroen Le Roy

    No they did not, HipChat ‘stole’ the icon from the messages icon on IOS, made it blue and added another bubble… Messages for OSX has the same icon as messages on IOS but is blue since that is the associated color used when sending a message over Imessage. Adding another balloon has been done millions of times before, more coincidence then stealing

  • mcgroarty

    It also looks like the icons for Chat With Anna, Jazzed, Text Me, Yak, ??, Remodium, kkTalk, Forum for iPhone, Mitalk, Fav Talk Pro, Walkie Talkie, ChatMe, and probably a hundred other apps that thought to pack two of those chat bubbles into the app icon, given that the apps display series of chat bubbles.

    Is Cult of Mac really this hard up for ad impressions? Is there somewhere we should send a donation or something?

  • Deranger86

    HipChat: “Hi. HipChat here. You stole our icon!”

    Apple: “What’s HipChat?”

    HipChat: “Well, we’re a small startup company. Here look!”

    Apple: “Holy crap! You stole our icon!”

    *insert news of HipChat’s bankruptcy here*

  • erinolan

    Who cares? Isn’t every design about borrowing from and improving older designs? Doesn’t this comment system look a lot like other comment systems? Gotta get inspiration somewhere!

  • CharliK

    Perhaps but also keep in mind that said balloon is a common icon for someone speaking so two people speaking would be two balloons. So logical and common that it isn’t likely trademarkable. 

  • CharliK

    If one can believe wikipedia, Hipchat launched in Jan 2010. iChat in Aug 2002. And I’m fairly sure that the balloon has been the icon all along although the color has changed and for a period I believe the AIM icon was added

    Yep
    http://gigapple.files.wordpres

  • diolt

    I like this icon

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his girlfriend and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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