TL; DR: Good design plays a massive role in the digital experience. It makes applications engaging, the user interface smooth, and the user experience enjoyable. Iconfactory knows a thing or two about making visually appealing and engaging designs. With more than 25 years in the development industry, Iconfactory has created and launched various apps for design, entertainment, and productivity. The team also provides web design services to help clients with their applications. Iconfactory recently reached a huge milestone: the 20th anniversary of its design app, xScope.
“Necessity is the mother of invention.” This English proverb was born from the famous quote “our need will be the real creator” by the ancient Greek philosopher Plato. These two statements perfectly encapsulate the meaning and inspiration behind our greatest inventions.
Almost every product was made to respond to a need or simplify a process. Necessity awakens in us a drive to innovate and find solutions to make life easier. Without this drive to solve problems, humankind probably wouldn’t have advanced as far as it has. This can also be said for the team at Iconfactory.
“Invention was a necessity. Our tools were tools the team needed and didn’t have access to. And that’s what I think sparks some of the best products we’ve created,” said Cheryl Cicha, Director of Design Services at Iconfactory.
Iconfactory has created and launched a variety of design and development solutions over its 25-year existence, with some of its apps even going on to win Apple awards. The team is no stranger to innovation and success. In fact, Iconfactory is celebrating the 20th anniversary of its app xScope, which was inspired by a need within the team.
“We knew there would be designers and developers who could benefit from xScope because it was something we needed ourselves. We continue to use xScope in our daily work and engage with xScope users to better understand how the product should continue to evolve,” said Cheryl.
Users can find xScope and Iconfactory’s collection of apps on the App Store, Arcade, or its website.
Iconfactory Celebrates 20 Years of xScope App
In 1996, Iconfactory got its start as an icon design website. Today, the team develops apps, provides web design services, and continues its legacy of icon design. Recently, Iconfactory reached a significant milestone, celebrating the 20th anniversary of xScope, one of its first design applications.
“The app has changed a lot since it was first introduced in 2003. It’s used by 10s of 1000s of designers and developers all over the world. They love it. It’s one of those tools that once you use it, it becomes part of your workflow because it helps you do your job,” said Gedeon Maheux, Co-founder and Principal Designer of Iconfactory.
xScope equips users with a robust set of tools to help them measure, inspect, and test on-screen graphics and layouts. It enables teams to visualize their designs in real time and make adjustments on the fly, making it an ideal solution for design studios.
“xScope can show interfaces you’re developing on a Macintosh screen on an iPhone directly. So that you can instantly see in real time what it looks like on the device without having to build on the device. And that was how the mirror feature in xScope came about,” said Gedeon.
Gedeon told us the Iconfactory team uses xScope in-house for day-to-day work. Because team members use xScope so often, they can keep it fresh and updated for users by fixing issues they see while using it. Iconfactory is currently working on a new version of xScope for Sonoma.
“We’re adding a lot of compatibility requirements because Mac OS is the thing that has changed the most since xScope was first released. We’re still able to do the things that the app needs to do. But it needs to adapt with those security fixes,” said Gedeon.
The Team Responds With Real Human Solutions
Iconfactory brings real human solutions to the market. An example of these solutions is its Linea Sketch application. Linea Sketch was a response to a pain point the Iconfactory team was experiencing in-house. Gedeon said he needed a tool that was a cross between Apple Notes and Procreate at the time.
“I wanted an in-between app with the ease of pencil sketching and a couple of layers on top. The impetus for the Linea was to keep it as simple as Apple Notes but with a little more power. And that resonated with a lot of people,” said Gedeon.
Linea Sketch allows users to pick up their mobile devices, draw and sketch, and get ideas down at the drop of a hat. There’s no complexity. It focuses solely on the drawing process. This capability and ease of use didn’t exist before Linea Sketch.
Iconfactory also communicates with its users to improve applications. Gedeon said people reach out to the team through social media, email, and Iconfactory’s knowledge base with feature requests.
“If suggestions are good and valid and we like them ourselves, we will seriously consider adding them. We use our apps in day-to-day work. So if there’s something that we need an app to do and it doesn’t, then we know there’s an additional part of a feature that we should consider,” said Gedeon.
The Iconfactory team is currently working on incorporating more accessibility features into its applications, including xScope. Gedeon said it’s due time for the development industry to focus on accessibility inclusion. “For a long time, it wasn’t a focus. But now, most companies consider accessibility to be very important in user interface and user experience design, which is great, because it is important,” said Gedeon.
What’s New: App Updates for Linea Sketch and Frenzic
Iconfactory continues to build out its products to meet customer requests and increase value. Gedeon said the team has a lot in the works. Iconfactory plans on dropping a major update for its entertainment app, Frenzic Overtime, which is available only on Apple Arcade. That update will be released in the spring of 2024.
The team also recently released an update for Linea Sketch. “We just added textured drawing, and that was fun. A lot of people have written feedback about how they love it. We try to do a major update to Linea once a year,” said Gedeon.
In addition to its apps, Iconfactory provides web design services to help clients through their development journey. The service is complete with consultation and assistance with app design, UI design, accessibility, and icon design. Beyond its services, Iconfactory sets out to improve its products to benefit its customers and team.
“The future of Iconfactory is to continue to evolve the products we have not just to get new releases out, but to refine or add features that create value for people because it creates value for us,” said Cheryl.