4 Easy Icon Design Tips

You can follow a few simple guidelines to help create more effective icon designs. Well designed icons exhibit a handful of common attributes that make them both successful and compelling. While there’s plenty of ways to boost your icon design talent, here are four things to consider when designing icons.

Icon Design Tips

Think About Your Audience

Different designs are appropriate for different situations. It’s always important to consider where your icons will end up and who will see them. The design and aesthetic of your icons for a small local business might not translate to a large international company.

Some graphics may not be known internationally; a good example is the dollar sign ($) as money. While it may be extremely recognisable in most of North America, the rest of the world has different symbols for their currency. Learning about your audience and the application of your icons is the best way to avoid confusion among your viewers.

Keep It Simple

The best icons convey meaning to their audience with minimal graphic elements. Complex graphics can often be hard for the viewer to comprehend at first glance, which is never good. When you’re creating your icons, think about simple geometric shapes such as circles, squares, and triangles. Starting with a primary shape as your foundation is a great way to keep your icons simple and aesthetically cohesive.

Tips for Designing Icons

Make a Cohesive Aesthetic

If you’re creating multiple icons, it’s important to keep them all consistent in design. Some of the crucial elements you should keep in mind are square or rounded corners, line weights, colour palettes, and graphic styles. Repeating the aesthetic aspects of your designs will help make your icons visually cohesive as a set.

Quick Tip: Limit your icons to only two different line weights to keep things cohesive.

⚠️ Four Effective Icon Design Tips & Tricks 👁‍🗨

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Be Recognizable

Recognizability is ultimately what makes an icon good. Icon design is making sure the viewer can understand the action, object, or idea the icon illustrates. Being recognizable not only refers to the comprehension of the figure, but also the recognizability of your icon set to the brand or project.

Don’t be afraid to create unique icon designs which are suitable for both being recognizable and being aesthetically cohesive.

Designing Icon Tips

Screenshots from The Noun Project – thenounproject.com

Harlen Malkowich
Oct 11, 2018
By Harlen Malkowich

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