Pixelapse has put together a great blog entry comparing some of the the graphic design elements of Yosemite with those of Mavericks, picking up on some of the subtle touches that many may not yet have noticed – like the translucent notification badges on the dock … 

Annotations point out the changes, like the smaller Apple logo in the menu bar and thinner icons.


The author also points to some of the things Apple is still tweaking, like the three different versions of forward/back buttons in use.


The page is well worth a visit if you haven’t yet tried the beta of Yosemite and want to get a sense of the look – and even if you’re testing it at present, you’ll almost certainly see things you hadn’t yet noticed.

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53 Responses to “At-a-glance comparison of graphic design elements of Yosemite and Mavericks”

  1. coolguyme says:

    The finder icon icon has reached a good, comfortable place in its life. It is content.

  2. PMZanetti says:

    There are a lot of tweaks needed. I thought I was gonna love it after seeing the keynote, but on my actual machine it doesn’t look so hot.

  3. I believe Aqua icons are much better than cartoonish icons.

  4. khaledzeidiyeh says:

    Old is Gold.

  5. This is subjective of course, but I find that the icons with the most subtle changes are generally some of the worst ones. The iBooks icon for instance is hardly changed, but it’s changed for the worse. Same for the finder icon. It just looks goofily happy now instead of merely smiling before.

    Overall I like the new look but a lot of the changes and the details seem pretty random. Probably to be expected when every single icon and aspect of the interface is being redesigned whether it needs it or not. I would be more inclined to trust their decisions on the redesign, if there were parts that didn’t change at all. Surely there was one icon or one small part of the OS that was okay the way it was?

  6. I’m actually really happy with how Yosemite came out. The icons are light years better than iOS 7/8. I wish they modeled the same settings and safari icons on iOS.

    • Jassi Sikand says:

      I dunno – the Finder look really happy but for no apparent reason. The iBooks icon in Yosemite looks worse – I’m going to replace that with the Mavericks icon, and in my opinion, worse than the iOS icon. But as for being better than the other iOS icons, I agree – the Yosemite icons in general look better than their iOS counterparts

  7. jakexb says:

    Mac face looks like he’s having a particularly great time now with that smile.

  8. david0296 says:

    The word “System Preferences” is actually harder to read than before. Its icon in the dock is way too complicated compared to the other icons. The opposite is true for the Books icon. It’s way too simplistic. The should add some lines on the pages to indicate text… or something. The Maps icon doesn’t even need the extra garbage with the 3D thing and the compass reference.

  9. I like what i’ve seen so far, except for the font. Actually I can’t believe they couldn’t come up with a better one! I hoped the change in iTunes would be a temporary experiment, not an anticipation of the new standard, and I still haven’t got used to it…

  10. John Smith says:

    Genuinely can’t see the value of all this.

    There will be people who think this better, people who will think it is worse and people who just don’t care or even notice.

    Much better if the effort/resources had been put into more of the useful feature enhancements – SMS from my laptop: great.

    They could also have put some of the effort/resources into addressing each and every one of the blips and bugs people over on the apple forums have been reporting and discussing – sometimes for months/years – without resolution. By now, OSX should be honed to near perfection.

  11. ricardogomez297167426 says:

    I have mixed feelings about the UI. I think it’s lots some personality and it’s taken more elements that an engineer would want and like. And as a trained engineer, I have an attraction to it. I like the cleanliness and sleekness. But as a photographer, I think some of the fun and beauty is gone as well.

    Personally, I prefer pre-Yosemite. But in 5 or 6 years, they’ll go in the other direction back to beauty. You’ll see…. :-)

    • gabsporto says:

      I think that iOS and the new OS X both are overdesigned.

      • Noah Lach says:

        How? OS 6 and under and pre-Yosemite OS X were way more “over designed” With far more pre-made graphics and a heavier visual style. I like the dynamicism and airy feel of Yosemite. Going back to Mavericks it seeks like there’s a huge extra weight on the entire interface that makes me feel sluggish.

  12. hmmm . . I have to be honest that I like the Mavericks ones more. Especially the dock. I agree, primary color cartoonish, in a bad way.

  13. decondos says:

    The icons have been kinda fun – not sure what’s wrong with that. Stark, high contrast a la iOS 7 appearance tends to be hard on the eyes – an issue which didn’t even exist before. One of the reasons I did not like Windows was the bright, high contrast appearance. As much as I like many of the Ivie hardware designs, thank goodness we don’t live in an Ivie world. Sorry to see the iOS appearance go in the current direction. OS too? Just not the visually rich experience it was once.

  14. sardonick says:

    Flat, cartoonish, and uninspired. I for one, really like the 3d dock. I hope it works better than it looks. Sad thing is, it’s still going to be better than windows. Just wish they weren’t butchering all the visual elements in their systems.

  15. Running it on a 2013 13″ Retina MacBook Pro, I really like how it came out, the only thing I would change is the finder icon. He looks too narrow and way too happy. Besides that it’s running smooth and I like where the OS is at considering it’s the first beta.

  16. gfiorav says:

    Im going to miss the reflections on the old icon. The fact that they were content aware of what ever was above the dock still blows my mind. Just a proof of attention to detail I love of Apple.

  17. I can hardly believe some of the comments being left here, and over at OSXDaily. I’ve never seen so many whining little children in all my life in one place. You’re all acting like a bunch of Hollywood starlets whose dress didn’t get made with the correct shade of magenta!

    This OS X release is technologically superior to Mavericks in every way. And just to emphasize why I believe you shouldn’t be complaining about the UI overhaul, which I think is amazing BTW IMHO, is look at the travesty that Microsoft put it’s user base thru when it pushed Windows 8 out into the world.

    The overall UX and workflow of OS X hasn’t changed since 10.0. Apple has been very careful in making baby steps during the evolution of this system, and I think they’ve done an excellent job introducing new functionality, whilst leaving the core system intact that we all love. The same can’t be said for the competition.

    Get over yourselves, and accept that technology changes, and that this is where it’s heading.

    • Ah, it depends on your point of view.

      From my point of view, yours is the rudest, most whiny comment on here and it’s so chock full of hyperbole and misused words that it’s hard to take you seriously, or believe you are anyone who knows much about OS and UI/UX design either.

  18. nwdrift says:

    For those of you wondering, the typeface was updated from ‘Myriad Pro’ to ‘Helvetica’.. obviously to line up with the iOS7/8 interface redesign.

    • Noah Lach says:

      Actually it was changed from Lucida Grande to a custom variant of Helvetica Neue.

      Myriad Pro is the font used in Apple’s marketing materials; I don’t think they’ve ever used it in their software design.

  19. rafterman11 says:

    Ugh. If I wanted my OS to look like Windows 8, I’d run Windows 8,

  20. Eyal Nevo says:

    Maps icon is ridiculous as the app it stands for. Why do I need to see “3D” on it?

  21. I’m still disturbed by the inconsistency of the icons. Round, boxed, tilted, mail, pages, numbers. A unified icon system should be adopted across iOS and OSX.

  22. observer1959 says:

    I might be seeing things but it looks like they used the colors from the photo of Tim and friends to design the Spotsetter iPhone app. ;)

  23. The Finder icon looks different (and better) on

  24. Looks like something Microsoft or Leapfrog designed.

  25. im not a fan of flat dock

  26. Pretty much everyone who isn’t American is going to read the name as “Yo-sehm-ite” instead of “Yosemitee” also. Way to pick another weird name that only Americans like Apple!

  27. This reminds me of osx 10.4 tiger….damn rectangle bar…

  28. And Linux called, they want their Cairo/awn dock back….

  29. hderazi96 says:

    My music icon not changed should i install DP1 again or change it manually

  30. godofbiscuits says:

    I’m pretty sure the translucent badge is a bug: there are APIs to group a set of items together first before applying translucency to them (so that drawing within the group is opaque, but the group itself can be transparent — e.g., the app icon + the icon badge would look like it does in Mavericks, but then translucency could be applied to the entire thing together).

    I could be wrong, of course, but the badge is supposed to be just that: a badge *ATOP* the icon.

  31. Erick Wilund says:

    Off-topic a bit, but any news on when the Yosemite Beta is going to be made available?…

  32. Carlos Shabo says:

    i hate the Safari logo soooooo much

  33. I’m not too impressed with the new dock where the icons seats, it looks too basic…i like the maverick’s dock better.

  34. crisrod63 says:

    Obviously Apple is going for a less is more approach to design. Describe something with the least amount of elements possible. Easier said than done. In some instances I think they have pulled it off quite successfully, in others, it looks more like a compromise do to standardization of the iconography.

  35. this is the most advanced and beautifully designed operating systems in the world and jony ive is at the forefront of design, setting a precident for aspiring designers globally. anyone complaining about how it actually looks decent now has got to be kidding themselves. the Mavericks design looked out dated as hell with the skeuomorphic aspects raiding the place. Yosemite finally unifies the gross fragmentation that Mavericks left with iOS 7, donning a refreshing minimalist consistency that neeeeeded to be adopted. What did everyone expect? I love Yosemite and wished it had more visual aspect of iOS 7/8 with it.