“…The web is full of inspired and beautiful icons, all competing for our attention like puppies in a pound.
Some icons are more recognisable than others: the ubiquitous Twitter bird, the ”f” in Facebook or the arcs of an RSS feed.
So what are icons trying to tell us?
Looking at icons is like looking at book covers, says the director of app-development company Outware Mobile, Daniel Gorog.
”People can feel the richness of an app through the icon,” he says.
”If it’s just a boring, white icon with the name of the product, then that’s usually an indication of what’s in the app.
A high-quality icon probably means it’s a high-quality app, in the user’s mind.”
But when we look for apps, we’re like wayward puppies: we don’t really know what we want and we need help.
Icons aren’t just pretty pictures designed to capture our attention.
They have become our standard shorthand for accessing information, from websites to apps.
People wouldn’t even know what a web-directory tree is any more.
And why would we want to know – when we can just click a pretty little button to take us where we want to go?
Good design is also about squeezing that brilliant idea into a tiny space.
”The icon is the first thing the user sees, so it has to convey a message – and that’s hard to do within a 57-by-57 pixel box,” Gorog says.
Don’t assume you can use a logo as an icon.
Logos are often seen in a large size – so it’s hard to make them work as an icon, says art director Jesse West, of games developer Firemint.
”They can lose detail, which detracts from the quality,” he says. ‘
‘An icon is smaller than your thumbnail … Icons can range from 57, 72 to 114 pixels and many other sizes but they are all a similar physical size on the screen.”
The best icons look great, small or large, says the director and lead designer at app development company Bjango, Marc Edwards. ‘
‘Icons should be simple and recognisable at small sizes but very detailed at larger sizes,” he says. ‘
‘It’s a fine art to get the balance between simplicity and detail…”
(ed:..didn’t chris knox do well…?
he made me one that looks good both small and big…
..and is instantly recognisable..
and..(ahem..!..)..when i monetise this beast whoar…
..there is cheque with his name on it..eh..?
..brcause this fine man did it for me as a favour…
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