Quite a few web applications have started utilizing gray(black) scale icons, for example Github,new Google Analytics, etc. Even applications like Firefox 4, Chrome, IE9, iTunes, Mac OS, have dropped colorful icons.
What is the reasoning behind the move from the colorful icons to grayscale/monochrome icons?
- Google Analytics Settings Icon
- Github (look at the icons buttons on the top right)
- iTunes 10 made a switch to monochrome icons
Update: It seems Apple first introduced it in Aqua under Designing Icons for Rectangular-Style Toolbar Controls:
Icons that look good in rectangular-style toolbar controls are streamlined, black images that convey meaning through outline and contour, not internal detail. Because your icons should echo the appearance of the existing Mac OS X images inside rectangular-style toolbar controls, use the system-provided template images as a guide. As you design an icon for a rectangular-style toolbar control, keep the following points in mind:
- Make the outline sharp and clear
- Use a straight-on perspective
- Use full black and a few shades of gray to suggest dimensionality
- Use anti-aliasing
- Make sure the image is visually centered in the control (note that visually centered might not be the same as mathematically centered)
Icons for regular-size rectangular-style toolbar controls should measure no more than 19 x 19 pixels.