All you Need to Know About Iconography

Saurabh Tiwary | 26th December 2016

Iconography is an art and a very useful graphic design element that takes up a very small segment of the screen and provides a quick representation of the user action or the current status of the activity. Iconography is also associated with logo design and a number of designers use iconography to create the intuitive logo design for business or corporate.


Iconography can also be referred to as an art of creating attractive tiny visual images or symbols often used to specify some objects or actions without using text.

No denying the fact that icons are also the major component of web and mobile UI Design. Well-designed icons when incorporated using micro-interaction yields a better User Experience as well(UX). The application of icons in the design project demands a creative and expert mind.


How to Design Better Icons for Apps?

While designing icons for your Android or iOS app, it is essential to note that your app may be installed on a variety of devices by different manufacturers. While iOS has only a few smartphone variants, Android devices might offer a range of pixel densities.

The challenge is to make your icons look appealing on all the device types.  This can be attained by creating every icon in varying sizes. When the app runs, OS looks into the characteristics of the device screen and accordingly loads the device-specific assets.

Suggested Read: Does Your Logo Pass Piccolino Test?

Having known the objectives of the Icon Design, here are some effective practices to be imparted into the icon design process.


While designing icons, coming up with a unique design is often a need. While a large number of professional logos exist, the uniqueness is the main key to the icon design.

  • Do not get inspired by your competitors. Study their design only to learn and create an out of the box design.
  • Color with different variations can help you come up with unique icons. Keep on experimenting different variations using glyphs.



As discussed earlier, adaptability of icons is a prime concern. So, to create an icon which is scalable, follow these approaches.

  • Designing through the high resolution might be tricky. Test your icons in different context and sizes.
  • Be simple in your approach and focus on a single entity.
  • Test your app icon against a variety of backgrounds


Do not use Images or text

Use of images in icon design is considered as a poor practice.

  • The purpose of the icon is not to set up visual aesthetics but to make your app or action recognizable.
  • However, a good way to go is to use one of the alphabets or numbers to design some innovative icons. Consider Facebook or Pinterest’s favicon.

Suggested Read, What Is Favicon Design? And Why Do You Need It?

Test your Icons

The icon you create must serve the purpose of your design. To achieve this, you need to test its appearance in different scenarios viz. Color Backgrounds, wallpapers etc. This is the best way to ensure that icons look appealing in all the applications.


Commonly Used Tools

Adobe Photoshop is an all-round design tool and can also be used to create intuitive icons. However, if you are a beginner, online icon makers should be the best way to go. You can find a bunch of online tools on the web for creating icons.

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Saurabh Tiwary

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