What is an Icon Design?
Icon design is the method of creating graphic symbols to represent some real or abstract entities, motives, or actions. In other words, icon design gives a pictorial representation for objects, which is important for visual identity.
An icon design can be very simple with a normal drawing or very complex with several graphic designs using 3-D images, radial colours, forecasted shadows and shades, etc. An icon design can be categorised as a pictogram.
Information on Icon Design
In 1973, there was no digital design technology. Everything was created through drawings and paintings. Xerox Alto was the first graphical user interface or GUI computing system. Later, Apple Lisa was developed in 1978, and this was influenced by the Xerox computers. Today, the world of icon design has evolved and is hyper-rendered using isometric representations of various office items.
Icon design procedure involves two main processes, which are defining a pictogram and making the illustration or final design. There are three essential approaches to define a pictogram. The primary icon design practice is to use conventional drawings or images. A designer can also use literal images or metaphorical images like those that express an emotion. Once the pictogram has been defined, it must be checked for conflicting usage.
Icon design for a tool bar and other usages might require different pictogram definitions. Similarly, for a website icon design a mascot or logotype work best.
Various sizes of icon designs are used for computer applications and this involves creating sample artwork in the largest size and developing smaller sizes from the original one. It’s recommended that you follow the pattern of the icon design set and use the same colour palettes, renderings, and perspectives.
Creation of Icon Design
The process of creating an icon is very time-consuming and expensive. There are various tools available on the Internet to create these with ease; however, with these tools, you could run the risk of creating something that already exists.
The creation of icon design has evolved since its beginning and now features various effects such as sharpening, glossy, softening, edging, drop shadows, and much more. There are icon editors that redo the original image to the depth of colour and resolution needed for an icon. The editors also feature extraction of icons from .exe files, saving these images and creating icon libraries.
Why use an Icon Design?
Icon design adds a visual element to your web pages to capture the attention of a visitor. The different designs can be used in the table of contents, page header, product lists, and in bullet points, which brings charm to the context along with highlighting essential points.
Icon design also plays a huge role in promoting a website by giving it a professional look to attract customers; however, these icons must have relevance to the products, services, or content of the website.
Basic Icon Design Styles
There are two different icon design styles you can choose from.
Concrete Icon Design Style: Concrete icons are close representations or pictures of the operations they represent.
Abstract Icon Design Style: These take abstract ideas and form an image that represents it in the best way.
Both concrete and abstract icon design styles can be created for a specific set of operations; however, it is necessary to identify the apt style of icon according to the application.
Computer Icon Designs
There are standard icon design sets found on mobiles and computers in different professions representing different functionalities of the profession. Another set of icon designs are developed to denote various physical objects that are common to an office environment such as folders, files, trashcans, etc. A third icon design set is the brand icon, which represents commercial programs, and these serve as the functional keys to the data of the concerned software companies.
Modern Icon Design Varieties
There are many applications of icon designs.
Application Icon Design: Application icons are one of the most sought after and popular in the current market. There are hundreds of application icons for Mac OS, Windows, Android, Blackberry, etc. A user becomes familiar with any program using icons.
Website Icon Design: Other than general applications, icon design plays a huge role in website headers, as these headers reflect the professional appeal along with the service content. This helps in increasing the traffic to a website by reducing bounce rate.
Menu and Toolbar Icon Design: Menu and toolbar icons are the primary mode of interaction between the user and the application. Hence, the icon design becomes important to provide toolbars and menu that are easily identified and thereby provide customers with best experience. These must be modern as well as attractive.
Brand Icons: A brand icon design represents a software company programs and the set of icons are installed on a computer with the concerned software and entire functionalities. This icon represents the company and products and hence a brand icon is designed with utmost care and professionalism.
A good icon design brings out the clarity of thoughts, graphic ability, artistic skill, and every other innate principle of design. It ultimately gives visibility along with aesthetics.