We all remember the epic slugfest between Russia’s Siberian Express and the USA’s Italian Stallion. Two fictional heavyweights beating each other to a bloody pulp in a rivalry bout that mirrored the geo-political tension of the cold war and decades of legendary Olympic sport showdowns.

We’ve been brewing up a similar rivalry in the world of app icon design pitting the world’s preeminent icon design firm, Russian based SoftFacade, vs our own home grown design swiss army knife, Joe Dearman.

The Backstory

With Coach’s Eye, TechSmith set out to create a state-of-the-art app that would challenge assumptions about what was possible on mobile devices. We assembled an ultra talented team of engineers and designers and started building a meaty application that could record, annotate, time remap and composite audio / video.

However we quickly realized that icon design for iOS apps was a specialty we didn’t yet have the chops to pull off. We turned to, SoftFacade, the “Ivan Drago” of app icon design, looking for something magical that could capture the attention of coaches, athletes and parents in the AppStore’s paid sports category.

After looking at several low fidelity concepts we selected a sports cap with a camera lens and turned the SoftFacade team loose. What they came back with was a jaw dropping icon that blew us, and the design community on Dribble, away. The gauntlet had indeed been thrown down.

The Championship Rounds

Since our launch in November of 2011 the team has been moving incredibly fast. We’ve released six updates to the app, have a seventh queued up waiting for Apple approval and are busy working on version 2.0 of the app codenamed Operation Sistine Chapel (holy cow are we excited to get this version out to our customers).

Operation Sistine Chapel will be a gigantic leap forward for Coach’s Eye on both functional and aesthetic fronts. We realized the icon too would need to up its game. We peeled off one of our amazing designers, Joe Dearman, and gave him the mandate to bring the fun and make the icon sizzle.

Joe quickly made some changes. He increased the size of the lens because we wanted to really emphasize the amazing video capabilities of Coach’s Eye. He also began playing with the idea of making the icon relevant to various sporting events that have so much cultural relevance to our target audience. We want to fight back against the AppStore churn these events cause and tap into the media coverage and subconscious thoughts of our target audience.

We’ve been working on Sistine Chapel in parallel to the last several 1.x updates of the Coach’s Eye and after seeing some of Joe’s amazing prototypes we decided to release some limited edition icons with each update.

First up, we decided to honor the NCAA basketball tournament. Joe blistered the screen and melted our minds with his “March into Madness” icon which we released with version 1.4 of the app. We haven’t heard anything but positive feedback from our customers and the new icon actually caused spikes in usage over the first five days of its release.

Next up, in honor of the Masters golf tournament is a tour de force of pixel dominance we’ve christened the “Amen Corner” icon. This limited edition icon will be released with version 1.5 of our app which is currently submitted to Apple and waiting for review. Note the homage to the Masters green jacket and the beautiful dimple pattern on the crown.

Currently, our Italian Stallion of design, is prototyping ideas for Operation Sistine Chapel. So far, our favorite is a return to the classic fabric sports cap with a gorgeous two-tone bill and crown. It really pops off the screen and, we hope, conveys how our instant video analysis app is changing the game.

We’re biased, but based a stunning performance in the championship rounds we think Joe has KO’d the seemingly indomitable Siberian Express. Let us know what you think.