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7 Principles of Effective Icon Design

When it comes to creating extremely effective and professional looking icons there are a few key style rules you have to adhere to in order to make the most of your designs. We’ve picked out the 7 most important ones below that you can use to improve your projects.

Evaluate Your Icon Design as a Whole

The first and ideally the most important thing you need to consider when designing your icons is how its style fits with the rest of the items on your site. Obviously your icons can’t be identical as they’ll have to stand out from one-another, but you should always check that they’ll work together aesthetically.

Normally you should focus on this factor first before you start creating your icons because you’ll probably have to re-design it all from scratch otherwise, which canbe quite a waste of time.

Consider the Audience

This one is incredibly easy to make mistakes with as a lot of designers tend to make something that they’re familiar with.

It’s the same way you would approach website design to create something for one specific audience,like how PayPal-casinos.co has made their site mainly about PayPal casinos for example, make your icons fit the preferences of your audience.

You shouldalso consider where your audience is based and the types of symbols they are used to seeing in their culture.

Keep It to Scale

When designing your icon try to keep it to the scale of the screen it will be going on.

For example, something that you think looks great on a 512 pixel screen might look awful on a smaller 16 pixel monitor or vice versa. A good trick is to de-scale your icon regularly to make sure your design works across a number of sizes.

Less Is More

To repeat that old adage of ‘keep it simple stupid,’ having a more basic design can look better than one that has lots of bells and whistles. Consider the PayPal icon for example, they use a simple two tone blue matte colours and two large ‘P’ letters to create something that is instantly recognisable and almost iconic in its own right.

So try to take this approach of keeping a more basic style to your icons especially if it’s going on a small screen as an over-designed illustration can look like a blurred mess at lower resolutions.

Keep Your Light Source the Same

This rule is quite often overlooked but it’s extremely important to keep your icons looking realistic. When you’re designing your items have your light coming from one source at all times otherwise your icons might look mismatched or out of place, especially if you’re creating 3D objects.

Utilize Your Perspective

This one is similar to the rule of light sources; keep your perspective the same. For example, if you’re icons are viewed from above make sure they’re all seen from above and are correctly scaled with this in mind.

StyleSet Consistency Is Key

To top off our list we’ve got the most important rule, keep your style sets consistent. For example if you’re creating a sci-fi looking icon make sure everything you’re creating looks the same, this will then help to create a consistent theme throughout the site or page they’re going on.

When designing your icons for future projects just keep a few of these key facts in mind and you should create a professional and great looking set of icons for all of your clients projects.