why I love my mac number 348

The link to this site was in an email that did the rounds a few days ago on The Open University’s mac users’ list – it’s a list of icons to use on mac computers.  (Just the kind of email that Friday afternoons were made for.)  The icons it shows are just so… so… cool!!!!  awesome!!!  They are leg!!!!!!!! (The imitation of my 12 year old daughter’s love of exclamation marks is deliberate of course – and for those of you without such handy shortcuts to Youth, leg is short for legendary, not some weird anatomical metaphor.  Nor indeed a typo, more likely than a metaphor from me this late on a Friday).  I mean, I could put all my admin files in a folder in the shape of a Dalek, or a purple slobbery monster, or a weird spider/book hybrid thing from the Matrix film I haven’t seen…  cool!!!!!!!!! etc…

There is also a (slightly) interesting aspect of this, though, in relation to visual culture.  Why can these fifty sets of icons be neatly categorised into just three visual types by the Appstorm website: ‘Metallic and Professional’, ‘Photorealistic’ and ‘Sketch and Cartoon’?  What counts as good visual style in the world of mac users is really very limited.  And they all do share an aura of ‘good design’, hard to describe but pretty recognisable and powerful in maintaining the Apple brand, I think.   Second question: interesting that this website deploys a standard qualitative method – thematic coding, in effect – to group their icons.  Would a researcher do it differently?  Better?  Third question – is any of this really very important?

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