Samsung gives the “obsolete” floppy disc save icon a facelift for the 2020s

In collaboration with Edelman, the updated icon now incorporates design elements from SD cards, SSDs and download iconography, devised as part of the campaign for Samsung Memory.

15 June 2021


Samsung has worked with public relations and marketing consultancy firm Edelman in producing a new design for the save icon, as part of the global campaign for Samsung Memory, the tech giant’s flash data storage unit. The new icon is placed at the centre of the campaign and has been updated to suit the modern world – switching from the floppy disc and incorporating design elements from SD cards, SSDs and download iconography.

Briefed to create a campaign that reaches a global audience, the Edelman team were challenged to talk about using a word that “transcends language”, says PJ Forester, copywriter at Edelman. The word ‘save’ has multiple meanings, and this set some benchmarks as to how the icon could take shape. “We considered using the skeuomorphic save icon from the 80s – which created its own list of problems,” Forester tells It's Nice That. “While disc technology itself has been obsolete for well over a decade, the icon is the hieroglyph that dwells within our collective conscience, much like a handset receiver still represents a phone and people use the circular hand crank motion to symbolise rolling down a car window.”

“There was doubt among the team whether or not the floppy disc was even recognisable to our younger audience,” adds Forester. “On one hand, it is still used in many programs to symbolise the act of saving, but we wondered how long that would be true. And that’s what led us to giving the icon a facelift for the 2020s.”

In this case, updating the now “obsolete” icon was a “no-brainer”, says Ronnie Allman, content director at Edelman. “Modern iconography should contain movement, action and embody intention.” By referencing such a known term like ‘save’, the team saw that when using memory, people are “not only saving, but also protesting preserving, creating and enabling progress”. As such, the term has many different meanings, and the new icon needed to stand in for a word that has no universal equivalent. “It acts as a pillar to prop up all functional and emotional things people want from fast and reliable memory.” Ronnie adds: “The end result was an icon built to hopefully withstand another 30 years of usage.”

Along with the campaign, Samsung also commissioned K-pop band NCT 127 to create a custom track and music video that features the redesign of the save icon.

Samsung x Edelman: Samsung Memory (Copyright © Samsung, 2021)

GallerySamsung x Edelman: Samsung Memory (Copyright © Samsung, 2021)

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Samsung x Edelman: Samsung Memory (Copyright © Samsung, 2021)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla is a London-based freelance writer, editor and consultant specialising in art, photography, design and culture. After joining It’s Nice That in 2017 as editorial assistant, she was interim online editor in 2022/2023 and continues to work with us on a freelance basis. She has written for i-D, Dazed, AnOther, WePresent, Port, Elephant and more, and she is also the managing editor of design magazine Anima. 

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