Designing Icons – Important Elements To Consider!
Web icons are an important element in today’s web design, especially as web design becomes increasingly smaller and more mobile. Icons serve many purposes in both desktop and mobile design; however, in order for them to be useful, they must be well created. As web design has gone responsive for easy viewing on a variety of devices, the methods used to create web icons has become even more important. To create the best web icons, today’s designers must consider three main elements that will help ensure their icons are recognizable and usable.
Basic Icon Form and Structure
Web icons are very small digital designs that are used to help guide user function, create recognition, and add character to a web page. Yet they can be quite tricky to design as they are so tiny, making clarity and recognition a definite concern. Common icon sizes are less than 100 px, so simplicity and only as much detail as is necessary to be recognizable is key. Therefore, the easiest way to get this simplicity is to use simple form to create the base icon structure. By using simple shapes, like circles, squares, rectangles, and triangles, an icon can be reduced to its most basic form, then built up from there. Using the idea of creating design from these basic shapes aids in keeping the design as simple as possible and in keeping balance within the design itself.
Aesthetic Unity Within Icon Sets
When creating icons for a web page, uniformity to the web design itself and within a set of icons is another crucial element. Icon design should be appropriate for the website where it will be used; this design must carry through the entire set of icons that is created for a particular use. Icon form and size, the colors used, and the general look and feel of the design must be the same throughout. This ensure that there is no doubt if a set of icons is actually a set and belong together within a web design. This type of aesthetic unity ties the icons together and provides important visual unity for the entire web design.
Most importantly, after considering basic form and icon structure and ensuring that any set of icons exhibits uniformity in design and style, icons must be recognizable. This is usually the most challenging part of the process. Icons must be simple and reflect the qualities of the web design and brand for which they are designed; however, they must still be recognizable as to what they are intended to represent. Recognition relates to more than just the icon itself; it also relates to the brand being represented. Creating a design that is understood and recognized as the item it is and related to the specific website or brand is the goal. Additionally, this design must be recognizable on any device, especially a mobile one, so it must view well in multiple resolutions. If the icon cannot be recognized or the design pixelates, breaks apart, or blends together depending on screen size, recognition will be reduced.
Designing high quality, recognizable icons for a web page can be challenging. To create the best icons for use on a web design, it is important to start out with a simple basic form, then improve from there. Icon designers must keep the idea of recognition – as an object, and a recognizable brand – in mind while conceptualizing the design, as well. In addition, icons designed for use as a set within a web design must be uniform. They must carry the same visual and design qualities so they are all understood to be part of the same whole. By basing icon design on these three important ideas, designers can successfully create icons that are appropriate and useable in their web design, and recognizable on any device!