Few Tips for Good Icon Design

Posted by dwspriya on May 30th, 2011

For anyone who is trying to design a great icon, there are a few principles that must be adhered to if it is to be successful.  The icon should not only appeal to those who are going to use it, it should also be rather simple so that an uninformed audience will understand exactly what it is for.

When designing icons for the same system it is important that there be some sort of link between them.  Also, don’t forget that in some cultures, different designs will have very different meanings so some research must be done beforehand.

The same thing goes for when the illustrator is trying to scale the design of the icon also.  It is not necessary to make icons larger than necessary and some will actually blur if used blown up to a larger size.

Over designing an icon is also not always necessary since this should be just a small design anyway.  There is no need to be extremely detailed since this is often lost when the icon appears on the page.  Symbolism is more logical here and will cross cultural barriers effectively as long as they mean the same thing in each country that they will be used.

If some form of realism is to be used in the icon, like shadows for example, make sure that all the icons in the set have the same kind of ‘lighting’.  That is, if the shadow is falling to the left of the icon, keep all the shadows falling to the left too otherwise this could end up looking like amateur hour!

Likewise, if the icon is looked at from a certain perspective, either from the right or left for example, then keep them all the same.  Angles are very important so, if all else fails, just have them viewed head on so that this little glitch does not have to be sorted out.

Lastly, with icon design in particular, less is very definitely more.  Don’t go overboard when designing them since they are really only there to promote an action.  They are not meant to be works of art so don’t design them with too many fussy details which will probably be lost on the end user anyway.

In order to find out more on Icon Design and similar web design or webmaster related resources, check out Design Contest which is an online service where you can run a contest to get multiple designs for different services.

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Joined: April 18th, 2011
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