Creating The Android Kit Kat Homage Desktop

Since the announcement that the next version of Android was going to be called "Kit Kat" instead of "Key Lime Pie" as everyone thought, there have been several attempts to mimic the Kit Kat logo and give it an Android twist. They were fine, but not what I was looking for personally.

I did a little research and... Wow! There are a lot of official logos.

Mainly I wanted to know which font was used (or something close). What I found first is that there are two main variations on the logo; a US and an International.

While the design of the International branding was simpler, I found I preferred the look of the US version. I found a reasonable facsimile of the font used. It is called Kitty Kat (clever!) and can be found online pretty easily.

Next, I sampled the main colors and created a Photoshop color swatch for all of the various components. (Feel free to grab it if you like.)

Let's just concentrate on the main text. This is what a Kit Kat wrapper looks like:

The colors are a bit off from what I wanted (just another variation), but it gives you a general feeling for the styling required. There are the letters (white), some internal shading (grey), an outer border (black in the version I like) and then a drop shadow (dark red).

But first, let's get the letters on the virtual canvas.

Yeah. You see it too, don't you? The kerning and baselines are all over the place! (It's never easy.)

I decided to create each letter on a separate layer so I could easily arrange them as I wished.

Because I really wanted to treat this as a single item and apply the same styles to each letter, I selected all of the layers and created a smart object. This would allow me to make adjustments later if necessary.

Here is the smart object in with all of the other components of the logo.

Let's add some style!

First, we need that grey internal shadow. Not surprisingly, I went with an Inner Shadow with the Choke set to 100% to get that solid edge rather than a blurry one normally associated with a shadow style.

That's not quite right, is it? The shadow in the actual logo does not meet the edges of the letters. We really can't change that with the Inner Shadow, but what we can do is create a Stroke on the inside of the letter and using the same color as the letter (white).

That worked out surprising well!

Next is the black edge on the outside of the letters. Normally I would use the Stroke style for that, but since we've already used it, let's go with an Outer Glow instead. The trick here is to change the Blend Mode to Normal (versus the default of Screen) and to set the Spread to 100%.

There is actually one issue here. The real logo has letter borders where the corners come to sharp points. What we have done is created rounded corners. I decided that I was OK with that difference.

Finally, the drop shadow where we'll use the Drop Shadow style. The only trick here is to once again set the Spread to 100% for that well defined edge.

And there you go.

If there is enough interest in the other components, I'll follow up with a part two and show you how I managed the ovals. That might be better suited to a video.

Some final notes.

The "Buttery Smooth" typeface I used is called "AdLib". It was the closest I could find to match the "Crisp Wafers" text of the original.

The Kit Kat Android came from Google's Android page.

Discordant Google Music

I love, love, love Google Play Music All Access (other than the name... heretofore, just "All Access"). For $10 a month ($8 for use early adopters) you get access to millions of songs as well as cloud storage for 20,000 of your own personal tracks in one handy location. Yes, there are plenty of other good options (if you live in the US), but this works well for me.

Therefore it is with great sadness that I take a few moments to complain.

The Google Play store existed already. My impression was that All Access was an extension of that ecosystem. It seems like a logical progression, however I've been increasingly frustrated by what appears to be an unnecessary separation between the it and the store.

You're probably saying, "Tom! Amigo! These things should be separate. One is a place where you buy  music and the other is a place you're allowed to listen to music you don't own." I guess that's a fair point.

Except I do own some of the music in my All Access library. In fact, if I buy something from Google Play, it automatically shows up in my library. So I'm not smelling what you're cooking.

Pictures being worth a thousand words, I thought a side-by-side comparison was in order. The following are my list of complaints:

The Logo

Google can't use the same assets for the logos? I know it's really picky of me, but a little consistency por favor!

Hide-And-Seek Options

Initially I thought that one could not buy or share from All Access, but if you hover over a track or album, you'll see a button with three dots arranged vertically. Clicking this gives you a menu of (less important?) options.

I understand that the AA user interface is geared more towards playing music (thus the controls at the bottom of the page), but a gesture and two clicks creates needless friction. An obvious option for one-click sharing would be a win-win. (Don't we just love "win-win's"?)

Anti-Social Behavior

Why can't I see ratings, recommendations and reviews from All Access? I want (nay, need!) this information. AA has a distinctly anti-social feel here.

You can get to that data by going to the Play store but, once again, the option to do so is hidden behind the triple dotted menu.

Don't see it? It's that "Buy" link.

Now I don't know about you, but I do not like to click links that say "buy" unless I'm planning on spending money. It turns out that this is relatively safe, because all the link really does is take you to the aforementioned Play store page as you see on the left in the comparison image above.

Let's look at things coming back the other way. If someone shares music from Google+ and I follow the link, I'm sent to the Play store where we only have the option to listen to a sample or buy. Even though I'm an All Access subscriber there is no easy path to AA from the store where I might listen to something in its entirety or add it to my library.

More friction.

And let's not even bring up the mobile apps!

Brave New World

None of these issues are deal-breakers. One could argue that Google will get there in time. One could also argue that these are only problems for me and that I need to get over it.

What do you think? Agree or disagree? Have I missed something? Let me know below!