May 9

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How To Use Iconography: 7 Effective Tips

By Will Robins

May 9, 2018


Iconography is an incredibly important web design element that takes up a very tiny portion of the screen and offers a quick representation of the current status of user action. It is also associated with logo design and several designers use iconography to create intuitive logos for businesses and corporations.

Iconography is also referred to as an art of creating attractive tiny visual symbols or images used for specifying some actions or objects without the use of text. It is impossible to deny that icons are a major component of UI Design. Well-designed and implemented icons also translate to a better User Experience (UX) too. The use of iconography in web design requires a creative mind.

How to Use Iconography in Web Design

If you are wondering about how to use iconography effectively in web design, all you need to do is follow the 7 tips provided below:

1. Use Simple Icons

Icons are used in web design to explain something so that you aren’t required to explain it using words. It is because of this reason that you should only use illustrations, shapes, or icons that are easy to understand. What the icons show should be obvious and viewers should be capable of understanding what they mean.

If you would like to know whether your icons are simple, take a section where you are using both words and icons and then take the words away. Are you able to decipher what the section is about by only looking at the icon? If you are unable to, you should rethink the icon that you are using. If you are able to, then you are good to go.

  1. Stick to a Specific Style

The illustrations, pictures, or fonts should match both the subject matter and tone of your web design project. It is also important to ensure that the icons you choose also match. It is always advisable to download a set of icons to make sure that they match so that you don’t end up with something mismatched.

If you fail to add consistency to your icons, it will result in a breakage in the flow of information. It is important to add a color theme that’s consistent to ensure a stable identity of your icons. People will see your website and remember it. It is also advisable to use the same shapes. You should also avoid styling your icons with borders since they affect the aesthetic and technical quality of the icons.

  1. Use Animations

Icons don’t have to be static elements. Animate your icons but don’t go too crazy. The ideal animations for your icons should relate to the content of the icon itself. Ensure that movements are not too fast since it can be somewhat unnerving. Movements should not be too slow either otherwise, users might miss them.

  1. Use Functional Icons

Icons should always have a function. The quality of your icons must never defeat their true purpose. It is quite tempting to “over enhance” the web design by using unnecessary icons. However, it is always important to use only what you need. Avoid being greedy. Less is more when it comes to iconography. The more the icons you add, the more the website becomes visually heavy. So be extra careful.

  1. Use Appealing and Readable Icons

Icons need to be visually appealing. They need to be beautifully designed and thus remembered by regular people. When you are either looking for or designing icons for your website, it is always important to remember that people only remember things for two reasons: either they are so beautiful that people commit them to memory or so bad that they cannot be forgotten. If you prefer the former, you should always choose the beautiful ones. Like Simply Thick.

  1. Test Your Icons

Icons should be handled with utmost care. So, always get them tested. Once you are used to an interface, it becomes very hard to see it with fresh eyes and tell whether the icons make intuitive sense. It is therefore important to see how actual first-time users interact with your UI since it helps you tell whether the icons are clear enough.

  1. Avoid Using Stock Images for Your Icons

The problem with stock images is that they are somewhat obvious. It is always important to be creative. A better option would be to use graphics, illustrations, or simple icons instead. If you are completely set on using images, choose carefully. You can even try niche websites that offer better quality images that look great.

The Bottom Line

Icons might be one of the least thought of web design elements, but they can be one of the most interesting. Great iconography can help pull together a web design project in a way that gives it some finesse and polish.

If you have been paying attention, you should by now have an idea of how to use iconography effectively. Iconography creation takes a lot of work. Go about it however you deem fit, but always ensure that the decisions you make are purposeful and fit the uses of the icons.

Will Robins

About the author

Husband and Father, Will focuses on family first under God. If you are searching for an engaged audience, the kind we all dream of, then you have found the right website. Will uses a personality with amazing salesmanship in his teaching. He focuses on how successful websites have grown their viewers and engagement.

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