unicorn_avatarI was kicked out of the nest, like many were last May due to the economy. It’s been a year. What do I have to show for myself? For one, a little site called IconRainbow I made with the patient assistance of Ryan Snyder, aka @ryansnyder. It’s all about the purdy colors, specifically colors of icons pulled from the iPhone app store.

Why color?

If you are a designer, I would tell you that it’s eye candy; a place for designers to come find inspiration.

If you were a dev, I would tell you that it’s a different sort data visualization of the iPhone store; a way to take in several hundred apps at a glance.

If you were an investor, I would tell you that the big picture is to aggregate color information from all over the web and analyze that data to determine trends; that the iPhone store is only our first data set.

Why the iPhone app store?

Well, for several reasons, most importantly because there is a built-in quality filter. There’s a higher bar in terms of complexity and therefore expense to get an app accepted. Also because companies have been given a very well defined task of expressing their brand in that little square of pixels. They’re forced to simplify the essence of their graphic identity down into one thing. Lastly, nice little squares are all the same size which means I can show a whole bunch of them in a neat grid. This makes me happy.

What’s next?

Right now, we only have a subset of about 5,000 icons. That got us up and running, but now it’s time to get all the data. Ryan is writing a scraper to pull down the entire store with more of the meta data (text of the app descriptions, a link to see the app in the official store, etc.) We’ll be adding search so you can narrow down which sort of icons you want to see in a more granular way than just categories.

The big monster is the trend data. That’s what it’s all about. We’ll need to collect data on the whole store for three months and then we’ll be rolling out an entirely new home page focused on those trends.

That’s it! I’m doing user interviews to help shape what the new features, especially the home page, will be. Give me a shout on twitter if you’d like to be a part.

IconRainbow Elsewhere
SiliconFlorist: What are the most popular iPhone app icon colors? With Icon Rainbow, now you know
RyanSnyder.me: Hey, ho, it’s the Icon Rainbow!