New DEVONthink To Go app icon

Something I haven’t seen any comments on is the new app icon — on iOS but also on macOS.

I love it. The paper clip on the macOS icon is a nice touch, too.


Thanks for the input :slight_smile:


I would be curious to know what the rationale was for the new icon. What is the design vision that drove a paperclip?

Separately, it would be interesting to have a poll to gauge users’ sentiment.

The rationale was that Apple introduced a new design language on macOS. And as we were about to release DEVONthink To Go 3 anyway it was the right time to unify the icons between Mac and iOS apps.

While on iOS we’re constrained to the square, on the Mac it’s possible to “break out”. Like Apple demonstrated with the Xcode icon, for example. So so we added the paper clip as DEVONthink is a software to manage scanned papers and other documents. Paper clip as a representation of, well, organizing documents.

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The DTTG 3 icon is ok as far as I’m concerned, but the older (DTTG 2) iOS icon is much much better. I actually made a shortcut launcher bookmark for DTTG with the old icon and put that in my dock.

The flat design trend (that the new icon is based on) has actually been retreating a bit since iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur, so ironically, the old DTTG 2 icon with its increased depth and character fits better into the newer Apple releases than the DTTG 3 icon.

The new icon for DTTG 3 would have been a better fit for iOS 10–13.

Quoted from this article on recent changes in design language:

New Apple Operating Systems remain minimalistic, but their appearance gains more shadows, textures, and 3d shapes.

Like Alan Dye, VP Human Interface at Apple said: “Depth, Shading and Translucency are used to create the hierarchy. New materials are rich and vibrant….”

Apple reduces visual complexity and makes the design even more minimalistic. Some elements are flatter, but the feel is the opposite. Both iOS and macOS brings more 3d dimensions to their user experience.

In the last years, the macOS style was flattening the app icons and surrounded the symbols with mainly circular shapes. This has changed. Now the majority of icons gained “iOS-like” shape, but it is not flat. It is Skeuomorphic!

So recent changes in iOS and macOS are in the opposite direction of the new Devonthink icons, that is, the design language now emphasizes more depth, textures and shadows to create hierarchy. I can’t think of a better example for hierarchy and depth (I mean it’s literally a shell that looks like a staircase from Inception) than the old icon. What a masterpiece that was! I love it :slight_smile:

Ah well - I like the new one, especially its brilliant colour :slight_smile: Purely subjective, of course, even if I do appreciate your argumentation.


Yeah, very subjective. I like the new color as well, it pops out a bit more, but miss the character/depth of the old one. It was less generic to me.

I think Devon probably designed the new one a while ago, before Big Sur and iOS 14 design changes were apparent and therefore missed the current trend towards more depth and texture instead of flatness. Of course, recent Apple design changes also have their opponents, it’s still very subjective. I just think the old icon ironically fits better to iOS 14 and Big Sur, irrespective of my preferences.

The good thing is, with recent changes in Shortcuts, it’s easy for me to use the old one. And on Mac, I hide the dock anyway, so it doesn’t matter there.

It would be nice if users could choose different icons though, like most iOS apps (I use) these days allow for.


No, we designed the new icon specifically for iOS 14 and macOS Big Sur. But, as you say, it’s subjective :slight_smile:

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One small thing that would make it fit better into iOS 14/Big Sur (in my opinion) without actually going back to the old icon, is to add a bit of shadow around the shell outline to add depth and slightly detach it from the background.
Right now, Devon stands out as the least Big Sur like icon in the dock. In the screenshot it’s easy to see that Messages, Music and Spark all have a certain 3D feel, whereas Devon (apart from the slight gradient) is flat like an iOS 7 icon.

Devon Mac

Along the lines of icon and branding, what is the meaning/origin of DEVONthink? And, what is the significance of the image (sea shell?)?

Everyone loves a good origin story. :smile:

Check out…


Have to say I like both icons. Both were/are distinct and resonant to their respective visual languages of the host macOS version. The old one was wonderfully fussy and detailed; the new one is the opposite extreme.

Bonus points for the hidden ‘D’ in the new icon. Assuming it is, and I can mention it.

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Hmm, now that you mention it, yes of course it was fully intentional :grin: