Icon Design and Digital Media

May 18th 2015

Apple has most definitely impacted design, not only for mobile experience but throughout the digital landscape. As apps became popular, design shifted from realism and photography to icon based design. Icons have many advantages over traditional images. Let’s take a look at how icons can be used to boost your digital design.

1. Icons are vector

Responsive design is an important part of your digital strategy. With screen sizes varying from 320px to over 2000px you need a design that can scale, rotate and conform to all types of devices. Icons can be vectorized through svg, canvas and other html5 technologies, allowing them to transform to whatever size viewport you need.

2. Icons can be used across all media

A lot of times you want to use your designs across all types of media. Whether it’s a mobile phone, desktop,print trifold or t-shirt, you want to be able to translate your designs to other mediums. Icons make it easy to keep your digital and print designs congruent and easily transition your designs back and forth.

3. Icons are symbolic

Just as people relate a hexagon to a stop sign, icons can be used to symbolize user interaction, a product or a definition. An icon may not be worth a thousand words, but even if it’s worth 50 it can still save a lot of space in your designs! Most of the time icons are international as well, so they are universally recognized no matter what audience is viewing your design.

4. Save space (especially on mobile when real estate is scarce)

Icons pack a big punch in a small design. They allow you to optimize real estate (especially when real estate is valuable). If you look at the UIs of major applications (Gmail, facebook, twitter, Instagram) you will notice that the designs revolve around icons instead of words. It’s no wonder why icon design is so important to your design, when you can do so much with so little.