Windows IconsWindows ICO Specification You can view all the Windows icon sizes within the file explorer Windows icons can be more complicated than you might think As with all the other software platforms that support icons files, Icons for Windows have there very own set of sizes and specifications. Icons for Windows use a Windows… Read more »
Microsoft does provide a lot of information to Windows Phone App developers about the Windows 8 and 8.1 User Interface, but they don’t tell you how big your icons should be or where exactly they should be placed within the tiles to match Microsoft’s own Application Tiles. This guide provides those answers so you can… Read more »
Although a good proportion of the icon design projects we work on follow an established icon style, such as those found in mobile Apps like iOS and Android or desktop software icons like Microsoft Office and Windows 7, the greatest demand is generally for custom icons in a unique style. Despite the shift in popularity… Read more »
*UPDATE* 11/11/13 Check out our new Windows 8.1 Icon Tile size guide. Never being one to make life easy, Microsoft have released some fairly ambiguous information to Windows 8.1 App developers. From the information I have had access to, I have put together this brief guide to the Windows 8.1 App launcher & Tile Icon… Read more »
Icon design is ever evolving. As new platforms embrace the use of icons, new terms and references are dreamt up and older terms fall out of favour. This glossary is an ongoing project to document the icon design lexicon. Contributions are very welcome. 16×16 Pixel Icons This icon size has its own entry here because… Read more »
A look back at some of our historical Desktop Icon projects Before the advent of mobile devices a desktop icon was either a Windows application icon or a Mac application icon, both being used as graphical short-cuts to launch a software application or utility. Nowadays we have a plethora of mobile devices, tablets and other… Read more »
The evolution of the flat icon, to the ‘Almost Flat’ Icon Style OK, it’s time to nail my colours to the wall. Sorry, but I don’t like the flat icon style. I think they are boring and bland. When they first started appearing and even worse started becoming popular, I did get a little worried… Read more »
We have added another lovely set of free icons to our site. These gorgeous Windows Icons were designed by Maryna. Free Windows IconsI am really pleased with this set and hope to eventually produce a much larger set we can sell on the site. Despite the recent shift in trend towards flat icons, I hope… Read more »
This is a common problem on Windows for as far back as I remember. For some reason Windows decides not to generate thumbnails for some of the images on your network drive. This shouldn’t be confused with a much more common issue where NO thumbnails are displayed on any images. I am often creating image… Read more »
When someone asks me for a ‘set of application icons to cover all platforms’ they are usually shocked by just how many different sizes and formats are required. In fact, this is something that seems to evolve and increase every few months. There is some overlap across legacy platforms but most newer mobile platforms choose… Read more »
Creating a single effective icon takes careful consideration and hard work. Designing an entire set of icons which function both individually and as a group is quite another undertaking. Each icon must go through a rigorous design process to make it attractive and distinguishable, but also functional as part of a larger overall concept.
A simple example is the iOS game Year Walk, which comprises the main gaming app and another companion app which offers information and guidance. The two icons have the same bold design with colours inverted. Though this is a very simple technique which might not work for a larger set of icons, in this case it is an effective way of distinguishing between the apps whilst making it clear they are two parts of a set. Rather than overcomplicating the design process by creating totally different icons, changing a single feature of an overall design idea creates contrast between the icons whilst retaining the fluidity of the set.
Fluidity in a set of icons is particularly important within applications where each icon denotes a specific action. Let’s take as an example two applications which we use frequently, Microsoft Word (2011) and Sibelius 6. Though the two applications have different purposes and have many specialised icons, the “home” set of icons is very similar.
: Microsoft Word
Whilst Word’s icons may look more stylish, as a set they do not add to the coherence and accessibility of the application. Many of the other icons in the application are coloured and overall the toolbar can feel cluttered, making it difficult to find the function you require. Sibelius’s icons, on the other hand, are more traditional but still clearly denote their purpose. The rest of the icons in Sibelius are largely black with some spots of colour which do not distract from the purpose of the application. As a result, the simplicity of the icons adds to the overall fluidity of the application as they are functional without being overly complex. Word’s icons would be just as functional without the unnecessary colour which makes the home set of icons feel incoherent. Sibelius’s icons may be less sophisticated but work better as a set.
The Year Walk icons we looked at earlier are similarly simple and coherent. This is not to say that colour shouldn’t be used but that its purpose should be carefully considered as it can also detract from the fluidity of a set of icons. Particularly at smaller sizes, as icons within applications tend to be, simplicity is best and overly complex designs can detract from the application as a whole.
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