All great icons are equally great, and all faild icons play a different game.
Like the vast majority of good design, the best and greatest icons are mostly…invisible.
The most well-known search icon, arguably perfect, is simple, recognizable, and everyone knows what it stands for.
If the icon design is wrong, we will definitely notice.
It’s hard to imagine that an icon of this quality actually came from a well-known company.
Design principles of good icons
So, what exactly makes a great icon?
Briefly summarize the principles of designing good icons:
- keep it simple
- A single icon needs to fit the context (the app and website it is in), and the icons are different from each other
It’s not easy to actually do this. There are tons of temptations for designers to make icon designs complicated, confusing, or even unrecognizable. The 6 temptations I mentioned next are the main reasons why designers ruin icons.
Temptation 1: Want to express all functions with icons
Recall that when we want to print a document, we will use the printing function in the software to achieve the goal, usually by clicking the icon of the document printing. At this time, you usually encounter a problem, the Cameroon Phone Number icons of printer settings, finding printers, adding printers are similar, and even the exact same printer icons. Cameroon Phone Number This case was recorded in the classic UI interaction design book “About Face 3”, and until today, this case is still so classic that you can’t forget it.
Maybe you think this problem can be explained clearly, but no matter how you review it or how to derive it, it is still difficult to explain it clearly. Even the simplest functional icon, when you see it, often doesn’t explain exactly what it really does.
Just like in the Office menu, the pile of envelope icons can’t clearly indicate their function (if you don’t look at the text label next to it).
In fact, the explanation is not clear, and there is no nee to force a complex function. To be clearly explaind with an icon during design.