The following article shares some icon design tips and guidelines on creating your own icons.
Designing icons is an enjoyable and fun task that can positively impact the user experience and communicate a clear purpose.
Icons play a vital role in the success of User Interface(UI).
When you start designing a set of icons from scratch, it’s important to keep in mind some basic guidelines that will ensure that your icons are credible, consistent and user-friendly.
In this guide, I’ve listed key attributes of great icon design so that you can start designing icons from scrath.
One of the key pieces to creating your own icon is using context. Without context, it’s hard to create an appropriate and clear icon. Many times, people include irrelevant details for their icons, and the result is them having something completely inappropriate.
In the creation of icons, it is easiest to start with a context. To design an icon for a mobile app, design software or system tray icons, be sure to understand the context.
A good icon can last a long time, sometimes even outlasting its original reference point.
Floppy discs are long gone, but we still use them as a “save” button in icons.
A very important icon design tip is to focus on shapes / forms. No matter how detailed the icon is, it is created from simple shapes such as squares, circles, ellipses, and triangles. These shapes are the foundation of the icon design.
In accordance with the text, one should consider the powerful effects of icons, and how this may affect the user psychologically. The shape can elicit psychological responses, so it is important to take these factors into account when creating the icon.
UX designers utilize stability and safety to convey meaning through the use of squares and rectangles.
Circles are one of the simplest shapes found in nature. They can communicate things such as health, vitality, and relationships.
The triangle is a shape associated with stability, power, science and movement. The triangle’s use for the “play” button in icon design is exemplary of the universal appeal.
Icons used to be simple illustrations, which were pixelated due to the resolution back in the day.
Designers of pixel art icons use as few design elements as possible to grab the audience’s attention.
These days, pixel art icons are considered very popular since they are a powerful nostalgia trigger.
Thanks to the software and tools, designers can put in the detail and revamp the style with more colours and depth.
The Atari 520ST computer and the change in pixel art it brought about, created what is now known as the isometric icon.
This allowed for new levels of depth and three-dimensional look.
Line Icons are one of the most popular styles used today, they portray powerful imagery with the use of simple lines and shapes.
Computer technology has changed the style of logos and designers use curved lines, rounded corners, and a variety of line weights in their work. Color adds even more visual weight to the work and attracts attention without burdening the design with detail.
Glyphs are hieroglyphic symbols. These glyphs use simpler monochromatic shapes and symbols with an emphasis to simplicity.
With the new visual language Metro, the flat icons become extremely popular because they are void of plenty of details, and essentially a minimalist style with clean lines. These are icons with bare essentials.
These are advanced forms of Flat icons. Google has also created an extensive guide on the colour styles and material properties to help designers.
It is an excellent step forward from the flat design seen in most interfaces today.
The dimensional style uses perspective in design to introduce depth. It provides both the front and side view of an object. It combines the elements of both, line icons and isometric icons.
Creative 3D Icons
3D icons creates a better representation of their interface than just a flat icon. The three-dimensional design approach gives designers the ability to provide a user with more information about their product.
Designers use their creativity in full potential to create beautiful 3D designs, but it’s important not to get carried away so that the icons remain simple.
Hand-drawn logos and icons offer a more personal touch to the design, but it’s not used widely, as brands view them as too playful.
The use of grids allows for balanced and flawless designs. To avoid blurry edges, make sure icons fit within the grid. Grids should not be seen as limitations but rather effective ways to achieve precision.
What are the four basic types of grids?
When you create a grid, the best practice is to make it 24 by 24 pixels so everything will be clear and visible. You can scale it up or down by making sure that it is divisible by 8.
Scalability of icons is critical. You need your icon to look great in any situation, so it can be seen on phone screens and large tv displays. Test out different size icons before deciding on one to make sure it
always looks great.
One of the best known icon design tips is stick to minimalism. Designers should avoid including complex concepts and elements when designing icons.
Create the first draft of an icon and then think about what you can remove from the design without affecting its meaning. The most simple design is probably the best one.
Icons communicate visually, like any verbal language, some elements carry universal meanings.
Symbols are essential for digital communication. They allow people to quickly understand what the icon is communicating. When the icon is an envelope, you need a mere millisecond to connect it as an email. When the triangle is stylized, even if it’s an abstraction, you will probably understand that it means “play the media.”
Icons can communicate new concepts and ideas, making them a perfect tool for navigation. When done well, they can help your product stand out from the crowd.
Use these simple icon design tips and guidelines when creating your own icons so your clients, users and customers stay happy. However, don’t forget that sometimes you can break the rules and create outside-the-box designs. Hopefully, the above mentioned icon design tips would help you with your icon creating efforts.
Alternatively, our Custom icon designers can take your idea and draw it into a simple, elegant icon to back up your headings or copy.
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