There is arguably no better avenue to make a stronger brand presentation than to maintain consistent graphic elements throughout an interface. Icons are the ideal vehicle to deliver this consistent look and feel, and it can be surprising how much leverage they have in conveying the perspective of an entire website and help eliminate cognitive frictions within UI design.

Icon Design

Adding Custom Icons in Design Systems

Well-crafted and designed icons bring unification to a user experience and are a critical part of the web design process. Lending a great deal to the overall style of the design, they are essential in helping promote accessibility, usability and an intuitive experience. In fact, the most effective icons are the ones that go virtually unnoticed due to the fact that they blend so seamlessly within the design of the interface and work seamlessly with the brand design system.

UI Design and Use of Icons on the Web

Acting as a visual representation for content, icons are a component of visual storytelling – in its most basic form. Delivering core information to the user without the use of written content, icons within the interface must be functional first and aesthetically aligned to the brand, second. Providing users with somewhat of a compass, icons are also one of the most integral parts of navigation and architecture of the site.

While icons are widely available for purchase in kits or packs in their most generic form, this can be detrimental to a brand that is looking to differentiate itself and express its point of view. Custom icons are the most effective in transmitting an authentic and memorable tonality to the user throughout the experience. Matching colors, style and direction with an entire brand system is not hard to accomplish and the benefits are significant.

Current design trends that came from previously very popular skeuomorphic style in icon design include flat design and material design in complementary or secondary colors to the site’s design or brand. Characteristically simple, geometric shapes with little detail, icons follow basic shapes such as circles or squares. These shapes also allow ease of use when designing for mobile in instances of responsive web design interfaces. Precision is also important, ensuring the same angles and degrees for the icons to align on the page.

Icons shown in the Wireframe for  the User Interface Design

Statistics prove that the humble icon has one of the biggest jobs on the road to conversion. Icons are easy to comprehend and engage, direct and connect the users. No small feat considering they are the least dressed for the occasion. The ideal in form and function, well-designed icons will evoke emotion from the user, allowing them to move about the interface with ease and trust.