Metaphor Toolbars Indicators Project

Metaphor is essential in any interface.

Metaphor is there for each icon (like Recycling Bin), any pictogram series (Recycling Bin Full/Empty) or the whole interface (Windows in most operating systems).

For ReGet we considered two main metaphors applying to downloads. The first image was inspired by an old computer game called Digger (Digger runs around the screen avoiding mosters and collecting emeralds). So, every download could be an emerald stone with the user being Digger himself, and spammers, hackers and the rest representing a crowd of mosters. The second idea was delivered to Roma Voronezhsky by Artemy Lebedev. It centered on a large metal barrel for transporting liquids.

We went for barrels. Clearly, downloads have more in common with liquids than with emeralds. Barrels can be loaded with something, while emeralds can not. And barrels can be visually filled:

This new metaphor needed to be settled, so we did everything to help it sink deeper into users’ minds:

  • There is a large barrel featured on the splash screen;
  • The first sidebar icon pictures three barrels and says Downloads;
  • The main toolbar icon Add Download is also a barrel.

METAPHOR [from Greek metapherein to transfer, change]: a figure of speech in which a word or a phrase denoting one kind of object or action is used in place of another to suggest a likeliness or analogy between them.
Webster’s Third New International Dictionary


Users come to draw parallels between liquid in barrels and downloads


Barrels on your desktop, on the taskbar and in the system tray


Splash screen barrel



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