The app icon has become a massively important part of a designer’s career these days. With more and more companies out there trying to tap into the digital market, the app icon is a key feature in their arsenal to increase clients and drive traffic to a particular app. In this article we are going to… Read more »
From the obscure and niche – to the bold and popular, app icon inspiration can come from a variety of places. The beauty of designing an app icon, is that you have some room to play with and unlike other icon designs – you’re given greater freedom to explore and experiment. As it’s one of… Read more »
Creative Freedom has become increasingly aware of how quickly some of the biggest brands out there today keep changing their logos. From subtle tweaks, to full blown redesigns – has our fast paced, consumer driven world now reached such speed that brands need to continually rethink their entire aesthetic, as well as the services they’re… Read more »
As we’ve explored multiple times in the past, icons are an increasingly universal – and extremely effective – feature of many mobile games. They’re an incredibly quick way of getting a message across (“we process visual information 60,000 times faster than text”, so the saying goes), and ultimately help keep the user experience seamless and… Read more »
Ever since the birth of the Google Maps app, map interface designers have relied heavily on icons to help their users navigate both the app and the world around them. Its popularity was huge, and it has laid the groundwork for many navigation-based apps (including Pokemon Go and Ingress) since. However, this has been a… Read more »
Now that the dust has finally settled around Instagram’s controversial new app icon, it’s time to take a relatively level-headed look at the changes the company made to both their app icon and interface. Many users were shocked and outraged at the new icon. Instagram themselves describe it as: “inspired by the previous app icon,… Read more »
We’ve explored the use of icons in mobile games before from a design perspective. Game UIs are an extremely important aspect of game functionality, and need to maximise options and information for users without distracting from the content of the actual game. With new games constantly hitting the market, there’s more and more solutions to… Read more »
It’s often easy to generalise about aesthetics. We’ve spoken about app icon trends in the past in terms of there being three-dimensional, flat, and almost-flat icons, but this doesn’t really tell the whole story. There are many, many other ways to play with perspective and dimension using a simple design—like an app icon—and obtain some… Read more »
In our last post in this series, we introduced three iterations of Android and their app icons: the vanilla OS, Samsung’s S-series, and LG. Weirdly, Google’s stock Android icons have stood out the most so far, probably thanks to the company’s coherent and unified design philosophy—something that others are lacking. LG’s app icons, however, are… Read more »
Google’s Android OS is famed for its near-limitless customisation options, open-source framework, and general versatility. Through third-party launchers like Nova, users are given a huge variety of options when it comes to the look and feel of their smartphone—especially launcher app icons. With thousands of innovative icon designers out there, you’d be forgiven for thinking… Read more »
An important element of developing an application is conveying usability through the interface for users of the product. Users need to feel that the application has been developed to meet their needs through extensive market research, as well as finding it simple and straightforward to use.
Too often, however, developers go overboard from a design point of view, concentrating on making their interface designs artistic masterpieces with an array of colours, rather than consider a practical design process. A good application can often be interpreted without the use of instruction manuals, simply from the icons used in interface design. The design should be as intuitive as possible. This can help to reduce costs in the long run, as well as increase the application’s popularity.
Items or icons that have a logical connection should be grouped together on the interface to show users that they are connected or have features in common. It helps to familiarise between the icons and not mistake one function for another. You can use several methods, including boxing groups together or a simple use of white space.
It is not a good idea to create busy user interfaces. While it can be tempting to show off everything that your application can do, crowded screens are difficult to understand and negotiate. A rule of thumb is not to increase the overall density of a single screen by 40 per cent. You can go up to 60 per cent when grouping a “local” set of icons together.
Making your application work in a uniform way is extremely important: if, for example, when you click on one item in a set of icons, a certain function appears, then something similar should occur in another set of icons.
The application’s coIour scheme is of prime importance. The different colours in the icons should “go” well together. This includes the colours of any wording and labelling in or around the icons.
You may want to consider making your application suitable for colour-blind users as well. Using colour in your application means you should be aware of the contrast rule. It is an obvious rule, but one that can cause disaster if not followed. Your application should be readable, so use dark text on light backgrounds and dark on light. There is enough contrast between blue and white to make it readable; blue and red, on the other hand, can end up merging into purple-looking blurs.
Users of the application should be able to interpret icons in a manner that is relevant to the spoken and written language they are familiar with. People of some cultures, notably Western language users, read from left to right, and top to bottom, but this is not necessarily the case for every language.
There is probably not a generic format you can use, but it is worth considering some variations, or even tweaking the final interface design to make it accessible on an international level.