What Makes a Good Icon Design? (Part II)

Last time we talked a little bit about the mistakes that people often make in icon design. Yes, even art can contain mistakes—particularly in the field of icon design, where the whole point of a professional icon is to enhance functionality and the user experience.

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This week, we’ll continue our discussion of good icon design by focusing on what makes a design effective. This time our tips come from PSDTUTS.com, a blog/website that offers Photoshop tutorials. In “7 Principles of Effective Design,” Sean Hodge touches on some of the same ideas as the Turbomilk article, but he also notes the importance of using consistent lighting and a limited perspective. Read more of Sean’s tips here. To view a professionally produced icon library, visit www.professional-icons.com.

What Makes a Good Icon Design? (Part I)

Icon design is deceptively simple. Professional web icons translate well because they’ve specifically been designed to do so while still complementing the user interface. An effective icon is, among other things, clear, sized appropriately, and consistent with other icons.

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Turbomilk, a Russian visual interface design company, has posted “10 Mistakes in Icon Design” on its eponymous blog. Number one is, of course, not enough differentiation between icons, even stock icons. Due to the small size, it’s easy to confuse similar icons for one another, which can frustrate the user’s experience. Other interesting observations include overcrowding icons with too many images, adding unnecessary perspective and shadows, and not accounting for national/cultural differences in objects (such as a mailbox). To read the full article, click here.