Agreed wholeheartedly. The redesign turned out to be one of the most ill-advised in the history of the internet. Rare is the case when a site redesign is not only wholly unnecessary, but a step back into another era of web design (grunge? seriously?) They invested at least three years into this redesign, and it's virtually destroyed the site. It's caused me to stop using newgrounds for the most part, honestly.
The level icons are symptomatic of that bad redesign. The anticipation and buildup surrounding the icons was immense. The expectation was that they would be another Great Leap Forward a la the 2007 redesign. When revealed to be tiny pixel-art rather than large, smooth vector art, it was pretty disappointing. Even more disappointing was crowding the forums with the shitty "user image" space that detracts attention from the level icons, not to mention the drippy grunge star.
Overall, a huge step backward.