Developing a consistent and cohesive icon collection is a difficult endeavor. Icon design is the process of creating graphic symbols that symbolize objects, activities, applications, and other things. Icons are everywhere; you’ve definitely seen them on road signs, on your phone, or on landing pages of websites. Typically, these designs adopt a flat style system, with sharp edges and rounded curves to facilitate readability at all sizes.
The primary function of an icon is to swiftly and clearly communicate a visual message. An excellent icon transcends language problems by providing global meaning to all observers. When you need to promote a certain behavior, such as traversing an airport or utilizing distinct instructions in a software interface, they are extremely necessary.
Utilizing icons consistently and cohesively might be difficult, especially when working with a huge number of icons. In this post, we will look at several best practices for utilizing icons in design.
Let’s dive in!
1. Choosing the right icon style:
The styles of icons range widely, and some examples include flat, material, and skeuomorphic designs. It’s essential to select a look that complements your brand and design philosophy. For instance, a flat icon style may be acceptable for a modern and streamlined design, but a skeuomorphic style may be more suited for a design that attempts to represent real-world items.
Consider the following while selecting an icon style:
- Is the icon style appropriate for your business and design aesthetic?
- Is the style of the icon compatible with other design components on your website or app?
- Will your users be able to identify the icon style?
2. Creating a consistent icon library:
To maintain a consistent design, it is essential to have a consistent icon library. This entails applying the same design language and aesthetic to all of your icons. The size, color, and positioning of your icons should also be taken into consideration.
Consider the following factors while creating an icon library:
- Make use of a grid system to guarantee that all icons are the same size and properly aligned.
- Select and keep to a limited color palette for your icons.
- Utilize a consistent stroke width for all icons.
- Avoid utilizing too much detail in your icons, as this might make them difficult to read at reduced sizes.
- Use consistent naming standards for your icons to make them easier to discover and utilize.
3. Use icons to establish hierarchy and emphasis:
Using icons in your design may help you establish attention and hierarchy. To do this, use larger or more noticeable icons to call attention to crucial information, or use several icons to differentiate between various sorts of content.
Consider the following when utilizing icons for hierarchy and emphasis:
- To bring attention to crucial information, use bigger or more noticeable icons.
- To differentiate between various categories of content, use different icons.
- Use icons sparingly and only when they provide value to the user experience.
- Users may become confused if you utilize too many different icons.
4. Keeping icons simple and clear:
Icons should be basic and clear in order for people to recognize them. This includes adopting basic forms and minimizing excessive detail or complication.
Consider the following while making icons:
- Use simple shapes that are easily recognizable.
- Avoid utilizing icons with excessive detail or complexity.
- All SVG icons should have the same stroke width.
- Make sure your icons are clearly identifiable at smaller sizes.
5. Testing icons with users:
In order to guarantee that your icons are useful and simple to grasp, it’s essential that you validate them with people. User testing or A/B testing can be used for this.
Consider the following when testing icons with users:
- Users should be asked to determine the meaning of various icons.
- Users should be asked to assess the clarity and efficacy of different icons.
- Improve your icon library by using user feedback.
Icons are a strong design tool that may assist improve user experience and establish a consistent design. To utilize symbols successfully, keep their purpose, context, and consistency in mind. Designers may develop aesthetically appealing and useful interfaces that help users quickly achieve their goals by following these principles of iconic consistency.
It is important to think about the meaning and context of icons while creating them. A well-designed icon should be instantly identifiable and understandable by the user, with no need for labels or explanations. Moreover, icons should be constant in their style, size, and form to avoid user confusion and to create a unified design.