HipChat to Apple: ‘the new Messages logo looks a little…familiar’

HipChat to Apple: ‘the new Messages logo looks a little…familiar’

With all of the excitement happening surrounding Apple’s surprise release of its latest OS to developers, not everyone is stoked about Mountain Lion’s new features, specifically Messages.

One company that’s not-so-pleased about the new Messages app is HipChat, which has an iOS app by the same name for instant messaging on iDevices and desktops. It’s not that the company is worried about Apple competing with its features so much as it was surprised by Apple’s choice of icons for the desktop app.

Here’s what HipChat had to say in a blog post entitled “They may just be chat bubbles, but they’re our chat bubbles” today:

We were excited to see Apple’s announcement of OS X 10.8 Mountain Lion this morning, especially the new iChat (now called Messages). The consumer chat space has been in serious need of innovation so we were hoping for some big changes. There might even be a few things that would inspire future HipChat releases. Unfortunately, it looks like they were the ones that got a little inspiration. As many of our users noticed, the new Messages logo looks a little…familiar.

How similar are the icons? Decide for yourself:

I’d say there’s a slightly familiar feel to the two approaches in visuals. At the end of the day though, the company is trying to take the similarity as a compliment and even takes it as a challenge to create new and better features than Apple has:

Brands are hard to create, and apparently easy to crush. We know that the spirit of what we’ve created is far greater than just our logo. To people that say “whatever man, they’re just chat bubbles”, I don’t disagree with you. It’s a common logo concept, even for services that have nothing to do with chat. They may just be chat bubbles, but they’re our chat bubbles. They’re on our products, the banner hanging in our office, and the t-shirts we wear every day. But to be honest, I look forward to the challenge of creating something new that will make them think “I wish we’d thought of that”.

Since I’m not a designer I don’t know how it feels to see something I’ve created be copied, but as a content creator I do. It doesn’t feel so hot, and while I’m sure that Apple’s designers just went for the best possible look for the Messages icon, it must sting HipChat just a bit.

The company says this has caused confusion for users, and HipChat does have a desktop version of its app, so I can see where the company is coming from with that argument. As the company laid out in its post, its options are to “Do nothing”, “Sue the bastards!”, or “Change our icon and move on”. It appears as if the company will choose the latter. It’ll be interesting to see what they come up with.

Do you think Apple purposely copied HipChat’s icon and what should be done about it? Tell us in the comments.

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