In the modern competitive world, design is no longer limited to functionality. Nowadays, sleekness of presentation and user-friendliness are significant factors in how a product or service is perceived. In a world where designer labels are all the rage, much of design is about lifestyle, elegance and panache. This reality applies as much to the icons on your website or integrated into your product as to the suit you’re wearing or the stylish chair you’re sitting on.

If you decide to have a new icons package designed for your website or product, or go for an icon make-over for an existing brand, you may as well go for the best package – one that incorporates all the qualities that top products have to display to be a winner in a competitive market place. One useful way to approach an icon-design package is to think of your icons as elements in a presentation you are giving to a set of discerning consumers: all the elements of a great presentation have to be there.

Here are a few guidelines to ensure that your icons package comes out a winner on all fronts:

1. CLARITY: Your icons should be neat and clear cut. After all, icons are like little keys to big doorways within a virtual environment. An icon to open the application needs to be distinct from one that will close it or delete something.

2. FUNCTIONALITY: The icons should do what they are there to do, which is to act as effective aids to navigating a program or website. As a total package, your set of icons should be wide enough in range to cover all the functions of the application or program in which they appear, but not so numerous as to cause confusion.

3. INTEGRATED LOOK: A good design package will ensure that the individual pieces make sense and go together in appearance, as though belonging to the same family, when assembled into a package. This will lend a great overall feel to the application or package in which the icons appear.

4. AESTHETICALLY PLEASING: Unless you are being deliberately provocative or counter-intuitive for some good reason, you will want your icons to be aesthetically appropriate to the context in which they will appear. Icons on the iphone, for example, have to be as “sleek” as the iphone or they will look badly out of place.

5. USER-FRIENDLY: Well designed icons will be user-friendly, so that regular users of an application can make almost instinctive use of them. Users will not have to refer to a big fat manual to be able to get started with a program or product.

Whether you are creating a new product or website that requires icons, or enhancing an already existing brand, commissioning an icons design package can be of great help in accomplishing the result you want. You can start this process by putting yourself in the shoes of the end user, giving attention to a few guidelines and then approaching a design company to come up with the goods. That way, your icons package is sure to come out a winner.

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