The tyranny of the squircle, a cross between a square and a circle, has been a part of iOS icons since the very beginning. But thanks to iOS 14 — and the enterprising efforts of 24-year-old, London-based designer Tobias Whetton — you can finally change up your Home screen icons and go with another shape of your choice.
(So long as it’s a rectangle, that is.)
Whetton’s new icon pack consists of 120 icons, covering all the standard iOS stock apps and a good range of popular third-party apps. The icon pack costs $24 and comes with weekly updates and even free icon requests.
“Perfectly square or squircle objects don’t really exist in physical day-to-day life,” Whetton told Cult of Mac. “Credit cards, books, laptop screens, etc., are rectangles. Hell, even the iPhone itself is a rectangle. So I set out to build a series of rectangular icons that feel familiar, tactile and playful, encouraging a user to open an app.”
While iOS 14 gives users the ability to change icons, it doesn’t allow for the customization of the shape of the icons themselves. This meant Whetton had to get creative.
Going outside of the lines
“I played around and found that by matching the wallpaper to [the] outer background of the icons, this allowed me to change the shape of them within the constraints of the squircle,” he said. “I then fine-tuned this wallpaper so it would even hide the dock and make the notch invisible on newer iPhones.”
This sneaky way of altering the shape of icons gave Whetton the chance to have some fun, however. Like comic book panels that can feature characters bursting out of their squared-off confines, some of the icons in his icon pack feature creative touches that add to their three-dimensional appeal. For instance, the Instagram camera spits out a polaroid that extends beneath the rectangular icon. So, too, do some of the feathers on the DuckDuckGo app rise above the regular border. It’s a fun, playful touch that manages to be showy without looking distracting.
Whetton, who is also co-founder and CEO of note-taking tool Supernotes, created the icons using collaborative graphics editor Figma. “I was an early adopter of Figma, and haven’t looked back since. Supernotes has been a remote team, ever since my co-founder Connor started working on it a few years ago,” he said. “We needed a design tool we could both rely on to whiteboard new concepts and collaborate in real time together — syncing design files over Google Drive simply wasn’t cutting it.”
The icons were created on Whetton’s 15-inch MacBook Pro with the “plagued” butterfly keyboard. “Hopefully I will be able to sell enough icons in time for the new ARM MacBook Pro,” he said. “An upgrade would be a sweet bonus!”