Tips for Designing Icons That Don’t Suck

02 May 2017

Use of icons is essential part of app design process. It is used to represent the app on the screen of mobile device. A well designed icon can help apps to gain popularity therefore designing a great icon is much more than just putting a logo in the box. A good icon can help your app to stand out among all other apps out there.


  • Make it easy to read


You icon should be easy to read, it`s not about text but its about visual elements. It should be recognizable with just one look it should convey message to users about it. You can have an example of icons on your computer desktop with just icon you can easily figure out what that application or folder is for. You should also consider branding of your products many companies have their logos that are well recognized by customers. However doing same can be little difficult for the newer brands , designer can make use of different visual elements to make it attractive and recognizable for customers


  • Think Icon, Not Image


Icon is not a simple image that is placed in a box, it is a combination of text and logo and trademark that should be highly recognizable it should clearly represent the brand or an idea. In just small size an image can lot difficult to read can easily get lost among other so many apps icon if it does not have any different ion in it.


  • Avoid Using Words


One thing icons can’t have and that is text it’s because there not enough space for an icon to have some stuff to read. Therefore as a rule of thumb you should avoid using words or any other form of text all together. Only exception to this rule can be the text that is integrated into your logo. Even if this is the case you should be extra careful while using t in primary logo design. Your icon should be able to create unique identify without use of any words.


  • Use Vibrant Color Scheme


The colors you use in your icon helps a lot in helping your icon to stand out from the rest. You should be making choice of vibrant and bold colors will help you grab attention of users. Secondly you must consider not using the colors that most people use for example sky blue is the color that is used extensively by designers so better avoid it, if you have your logo already designed in this color then try blending it with some other colors.


  • Develop a Symbol or Simple Logo


You may already have a logo for your brand but when it comes to icon, designing a symbol is also important. A symbol may be a simple graphic representation of company. It should be designed in sharp way while customers should be able to memorize it easily. Many of the companies are incorporating symbols in their logos and brand names as it helps them to create a connection between small icons and larger designs of logos etc. for example have look on Snap chat icon it has the ghost symbol with unique colors, that highly recognizable by everyone who use online chat applications. This is how symbols works.


  • Use Vector Format


Scale and size is important format consideration while designing an icon. It should be developed using vector based design. Use of vector based design will give you freedom to make changes and save the icon for variety of devices, sizes, and view ports without needing to create number of images to be used for this purpose. In real you will need your icon in verity of sizes to be used at different places. Use of vector format will provide you enough flexibility.


  • Think Outside the Box


Recently, the use of single color scheme backgrounds with white icon, flat design techniques and long shadows has become popular among designers. Although these design trends are popular you should not get stuck inside the design box. You should be thinking out of the box to have better response from users.

You do not need to be following the industry trends but consider something better and unique. Don’t think you must be doing what everyone else is doing.


  • Use Square Frames


You must be careful designing that if your logo or symbol fits into square frame then your icon should also need to fit squarely. This does not mean that it should be completely fit into square shape design but the basic aspect ratio should be equal height and width according to square frame. In case you have image that is vertical or horizontal, you will need to fill a space around it so that it does not get lost in background.

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