What size are Android App Icons? It is a simple question but even Android, who provide better icon documentation than most, seem to want to make you work a little for the answer. Fear not, I have compiled a simple Android icon size guide for you! There are two types of Android icons, those that… Read more »
How good are free icon maker tools? These programs let you select the format, size or even add some simple effects. How cool, is that? App icon generators are really helpful. They work like some kind of magic. Import an image, let the software scale it to the sizes you need & export the correct… Read more »
Basic Principles of User Interface Design Well-designed icons serve to inform users of the purpose of an app, and encourage them to download or open that app. Great icon design is important because icons frequently create the entire first impression and can affect a user’s decision to download an app or not. A badly-designed icon… Read more »
What to consider when designing Icon Colour Schemes We have looked at accessible icons and discussed the importance of colour for establishing an icon’s meaning and purpose. Although our earlier article focused mostly on design for visually impaired users, the basic concept can be extended to all users of icons. Colour is a key identifying… Read more »
Accessible Icons Technology has, without a doubt, improved the lives of millions around the globe. Both specialist devices, such as refreshable Braille displays and speech synthesisers, and general devices, like smartphones with voice recognition software, enable quick, efficient communication and aid the disabled with everyday tasks. Yet accessibility isn’t always an obvious concern when it… Read more »
Technology is forever being used in new and exciting ways. That’s why it’s important that you consider all sorts of different target audiences in your design work. This includes children. Programs and operating systems are increasingly being designed with kids in mind. For example, with the launch of the Windows 8 operating system for Windows… Read more »
I don’t do many ‘icon deconstruction’ rants but this one has really got on my wick recently. I must confess I don’t eBay a great deal but recently I have been after some Noise Cancelling Headphones for an upcoming long-haul flight (I am not great on planes so anything that will help!) I have been… Read more »
There are some simple, basic methods of good icon design which can yield great results if they are followed. Sometimes some designers stray too far from the basics by trying to be too original. Originality is important, but it’s also important to remember the basics. Here we outline some easy, memorable keys to effective icon… Read more »
Flat icons and what we’ve termed “almost flat” icons are currently carrying a certain level of vogue with them in the world of software. However, that’s not to say that 3D-style icons aren’t as effective or innovative. In fact, in the current climate, if 3D icons are designed well enough, they can go above and… Read more »
What information do you need to quote on the Icon Design project? This is the minimum information we require: How many Icons do you need? Is it one App Icon or a set of Menu or UI icons? What Style do you want? Please provide examples of icon designs you like. Which Sizes and File… Read more »
This week our guest writer contributes the first of a series of articles on creativity tools – to get you out of a pickle and generating ideas for your icon projects.
Brainstorming is one of the more commonly used creativity tools that can come in handy when developing an icons project. So flexible is this tool that it can be used at the beginning of a project when you are facing the blank page, with or without clear directives from the client as to exactly what they want, or in the middle of a project when you want to generate specific solutions to issues that have cropped up.
In corporate settings brainstorming is often done in teams, but it can also be done solo. Sometimes the term mindstorming is used when it’s a single person at work. Whatever you choose to call it, brainstorming begins with a pad and pen, or for some a tablet and stylus. The idea is to let your mind float freely to generate as many ideas as possible, one or more of which may give you a clear direction as to where to go next with your project.
A few ways in which you can make your brainstorming sessions more productive:
The first stage of the brainstorming process is to just get the creative juices flowing and to generate lots of ideas within a short period of time. Don’t judge any ideas that come up at the beginning stages. Whether they seem serious or playful, wacky or conventional, write them down. Play around with variations on the same idea: sizes, colours, moods and expressions, as well as counter-intuitive ideas. Some of the ideas may later be judged to be no good at all, but the brainstorming process would have delivered one or two ideas that may turn out to be just the exact solution you need.
This is a stage of brainstorming when you dig deeper or think specifics, where you’re getting clearer as to the next stages of development of a particular project. By now, you have a theme and a direction you’re going. So you generate lots of ideas which address the problem you want to solve. Take a situation such as developing icons for a Geographic Information Systems (GIS) software like Creative Freedom did for a client a while ago: once you’re into the project and clear about the specifics in the program to be represented by icons, your brainstorming sessions can focus on developing variations of landscapes, trees, houses, mountains, roads, cliffs, etc. until you get the details that would go into the final package you would deliver to the client.
Thinking with a team
If you do have a team of one or a few colleagues, brainstorming as a team can yield wondrous results. The effect of different ideas colliding can lead to totally different solutions that each individual alone may never have thought of.
The thing about brainstorming is that it is easy to either take it for granted or think about it in the head rather than seeing it in practical terms – and engaging with it as a process. In other words, it is a tool that yields results only when it is used. As all of us creatives know all too well, once you get the engines revved up and get started, you usually do get somewhere. And somewhere other than sitting in your garage and complaining about your vehicle is progress. Once you’re in motion, the solutions come. So play with this tool and you’ll be amazed at how it can work for you to be more productive and to generate solutions and ideas for your projects.