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General principles of icon design


1. Approach Icon Design Holistically
Icons act inside the graphic systems. Whether they are created for desktop software or Web sites, an icon is one of a variety of visual elements that need to work together harmoniously. Carry this logic across icon sets as well. Icons can contribute to the project by their original visual appearance, but they don't work alone. Evaluate your icons relative to the graphic interface you're using them in. Be sure that each icon is different from it's neighboring icons, while still acting together as a whole.

2. Remember About the Audience
You will have various considerations if you're creating an intranet for a private company, rather then fora product that may be sold worldwide. When creating icons, cultural considerations are vital. Symbols may vary for typical objects you way want to use for your designs.

3. Design for the Size the Icon will be Used At
If you go vector and draw your icon in Illustrator, there is strong temptation to scale the image, and try to use it at all the sizes. This doesn't work with icons. What looks good at 512px looks like a messy smear at 16px. Icons should have a base idea that is used as a starting point, but each output size needs to contain its own optimized design.

4. Keep Icons Simple and Iconic
With operating systems now promoting icons that scale to large sizes (512px by 512px is extra large for an icon), the temptation grows to get creative with your images. While a certain degree of photographism can add character to your icon, it should not supersede its ability to function clearly and effectively.

5. Use Consistent [Lighting, Reflections, and Shadows]
It's vital that the photographism you put into your images all function in the same way. If you use a light source coming from one corner then stick with it. Or you risk losing the consistent design of your icons. Also consider the light source of the design your icons will be used in. If the light source of your icons is contradictory with the Web site or application design you're using them in, then the whole picture will be amateurish.

6. Utilize a Limited Perspective
The range of perspective within your icon pack should work together. If you picture icons being looked at from straight ahead then keep this concept. If you locate one at a specific angle, then be sure all the icons function that way. Imagine a camera being placed at a constant viewing point and looking at all the objects from the same perspective. This helps to maintain consistency in your icon set.

7. Design Similar Icon Set Styles
Lighting and Perspective definitely contribute to the style of an icon, but there are lots other factors to consider as well. If you're trying to fit your icon into a grunge-style Web site design, you'll likely be adding texture to the style of the icon's design.



 Standard Toolbar Icons

Standard Toolbar Icons

 Science Toolbar Icons

Science Toolbar Icons


Icon editor ArtIcons Pro can find, extract, edit and create Windows icons in color depths up to 16 million colors. Import and export icon images, create and handle icon libraries. It supports the new icon format introduced in Windows XP (8-bit transparency). Download it

XP Icon editor IconXP can edit and create Windows icons in color depths up to 32-bit True Color. It supports the new icon format introduced in Windows XP (8-bit transparency). You can customize desktop and folder icons. Download it

Icon converter Any to Icon allows you to convert multiple BMP, JPEG, GIF, PNG, WBMP and WMF images to Windows icons in one action. It also breaks down entire icon libraries into individual icons. You can change color resolution and size to create customized icons. Download it

Icon editor and builder IconUtils is a complete icon and cursor solution. IconUtils package can edit icons and cursors, manage icon and cursor libraries, convert icons into images (in various graphic formats) and vice versa, customize Windows desktop and folder icons. Download it

Icon converter Icon to Any allows you to convert Windows icons and cursors into BMP, JPG, PNG, GIF, ICO, CUR, WBMP and RC formats. It has a wizard interface. It's simple to process multiple files at once. You can find icons and make images for use on Web pages. Download it

Cursor editor ArtCursors allows you to edit Windows cursors in color depths up to 16 million colors. You also can search files and folders for cursors, import and export cursor images and create cursor libraries for better and more efficient storage. Download it

Viewer AhaView supports all popular graphic formats, including JPEG, GIF, PNG, BMP, ICO, CUR, ANI, WBMP. You can browse images in thumbnail mode, view pictures full screen with zooming features, convert images to JPEG, PNG, BMP formats and manage files. Download it

Customize desktop icons CustomIcons is an ultimate tool for customizing the icons on you desktop, in Windows Start menu and many other locations. Using CustomIcons you can easily replace default Windows icons with the ones to your choice. Download it

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