The Power of icons

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Graphic designer, Andy Fuller talks about icons.What icons are and where they come from. He will also talk about an area of his particular specialism which is the use of icons in interfaces, apps and …

Graphic designer, Andy Fuller talks about icons.What icons are and where they come from. He will also talk about an area of his particular specialism which is the use of icons in interfaces, apps and mobile platforms. What makes a good icon? What makes a bad icon? How do you go about developing iconography for your, or your Client's brand?

Andy Fuller runs Designbull, a graphic design agency working for small and large organisations. They specialise in brand identities, icon design, UI design and advertising. He studied Graphic Design with Business Studies and Lettering, Calligraphy and Heraldic Design. He worked with a number of design and advertising agency's before setting up Designbull. Brands he's worked on include Digital River, Going-there.com, Microsoft, NHS, RolandDG and Canon.

More in: Design , Spiritual , Technology
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  • 1. hello... 1
  • 2. The Power of Icons A brief talk on what icons are, where they come from and how to develop iconography to your clients’ brand. by Andy Fuller : Designbull 2 Thanks for having me. My name is Andy Fuller - Designbull - Creativity in Business Branding Not often I get asked to talk about one of the things I love designing, Icons! Iʼll go through what icons are and where do they come from? Use of icons in interfaces, apps and mobile platforms and How do you go about developing iconography for your or your clients brand?
  • 3. “Trying to capture the essence of an object or idea with only a few lines and at the same time maintaining its elegance – is pretty much design in a nutshell.That’s what’s so great about icons, they’re tiny poems.” Kyle Tezak, The Four Icon Challenge 3 Before I talk about Icons, Iʼll briefly tell you about what I do and how I work.
  • 4. “Trying to capture the essence of an object or idea with only a few lines and at the same time maintaining its elegance – is pretty much design in a nutshell.That’s what’s so great about icons, they’re tiny poems.” Kyle Tezak, The Four Icon Challenge 3 Before I talk about Icons, Iʼll briefly tell you about what I do and how I work.
  • 5. What do I do...? 4 What do I do?
  • 6. Brand identities Web design UI/UX Advertising 5 Iʼm a design consultant - I help clients cut through the ʻbullʼ and get straight to the point I have an office in Bath with my partner specialising in branding, logo identities, web design and user interfaces and also creating advertising campaigns. I often work with associates (PR, marketer, copywriter, web developers, photographers and illustrators) to offer clients a full agency service.
  • 7. Graphic Design Lettering Heraldry & Calligraphy 6 My history - I went to college for two years studying Graphic Design and Business Studies, then 2 years studying Heraldic Design and Lettering, Signmaking and Calligraphy. Then worked in a number of design and advertising agencyʼs for 10 years before going ʻofficialʼ in 2006.
  • 8. What is an icon and where do they come from? 7
  • 9. “A thing regarded as a representative symbol of something” I•CON 8 When you Google it - “A thing regarded as a representative symbol of something”
  • 10. Greek word: εἰκών (eikōn) meaning likeness or image 9 The word itself comes from the Greek word εἰκών (eikōn), which has two meanings: likeness or image, both of which apply to icons. It covers a wide range of image types from simple play and pause buttons to detailed, full-colour icons that identify an application.
  • 11. 10 Toilet icon… Ideogram - abstract idea How do we know this is a toilet - if you had just come out of the jungle and were dying for the toilet would you see this as the toilet? No! This is learnt through convention. No smoking Pictogram - picture of actual object or action Most icons today are ideograms or abstractions
  • 12. 10 Toilet icon… Ideogram - abstract idea How do we know this is a toilet - if you had just come out of the jungle and were dying for the toilet would you see this as the toilet? No! This is learnt through convention. No smoking Pictogram - picture of actual object or action Most icons today are ideograms or abstractions
  • 13. Ideogram 10 Toilet icon… Ideogram - abstract idea How do we know this is a toilet - if you had just come out of the jungle and were dying for the toilet would you see this as the toilet? No! This is learnt through convention. No smoking Pictogram - picture of actual object or action Most icons today are ideograms or abstractions
  • 14. Ideogram 10 Toilet icon… Ideogram - abstract idea How do we know this is a toilet - if you had just come out of the jungle and were dying for the toilet would you see this as the toilet? No! This is learnt through convention. No smoking Pictogram - picture of actual object or action Most icons today are ideograms or abstractions
  • 15. Ideogram Pictogram 10 Toilet icon… Ideogram - abstract idea How do we know this is a toilet - if you had just come out of the jungle and were dying for the toilet would you see this as the toilet? No! This is learnt through convention. No smoking Pictogram - picture of actual object or action Most icons today are ideograms or abstractions
  • 16. Pictograms 100,000 years ago 11 100,000 years ago Pictograms - Cave paintings from Argentina reveals that weʼve been telling stories through pictures for a millenia. The simplest icon of all - the circle, was used to represent the sun, but developed over time to covey more abstract concepts of heat and light.
  • 17. Hieroglyphs 5,000 years ago 12 5,000 years ago. Egyptian Hieroglyphs - logogram - pictorial alphabet. Water was a wavy or jagged line...
  • 18. Heraldic (Symbolic pictograms) 500 years ago 13 500 years ago Heraldry - Symbolic pictograms. Icons throughout history were not only art - they recorded events, telling stories of food and shelter, and to distinguish participants in combat when their faces were hidden by iron helmets. Using symbols, shapes and colours were easier to understand and conveyed repeated themes.
  • 19. Informational 40 years ago 14 40 years ago Information Icons. Originally designed in 1974 for the US Department of Transport - they are still in use today http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/symbol-signs
  • 20. 35 years ago 15 35 years ago In 1981 the arrival of the graphical UI (for the Xerox Star) was where the term 'icon' was coined (reusing the term taken from a Russian orthodox church. ʻTo be holy - to be veneratedʼ) The classic document icon with the folded down right corner, calculator and printer are still the convention today.
  • 21. 35 years ago 15 35 years ago In 1981 the arrival of the graphical UI (for the Xerox Star) was where the term 'icon' was coined (reusing the term taken from a Russian orthodox church. ʻTo be holy - to be veneratedʼ) The classic document icon with the folded down right corner, calculator and printer are still the convention today.
  • 22. 16 Icons are everywhere today and have to transcend language barriers.
  • 23. Icons are everywhere 16 Icons are everywhere today and have to transcend language barriers.
  • 24. 17 From food labeling. McDonalds nutritional icons
  • 25. 18 Sky television menu screen Movies - Ticket stub Padlock - Parental lock Spanner - settings (adjust) IDEOGRAMS
  • 26. 19 Clothing label icons.
  • 27. 20 Convention in icon design. but sometimes may cause confusion... Push Button. Receive bacon.
  • 28. 20 Convention in icon design. but sometimes may cause confusion... Push Button. Receive bacon.
  • 29. 20 Convention in icon design. but sometimes may cause confusion... Push Button. Receive bacon.
  • 30. 21 What is the convention in icon design? A comparative test of Public Symbols Which Icon symbol was the most recognisable? A lowercase i is accepted for information
  • 31. 21 What is the convention in icon design? A comparative test of Public Symbols Which Icon symbol was the most recognisable? A lowercase i is accepted for information
  • 32. 22 Olympic icons are a good example of convention. Following a strict grid systems, angles and also a core brand identity
  • 33. 23 Important in keeping consistency in each icon as a complete set design. Although this icon confused me for a while before I worked it out... A difficult balance between the convention and style of the brand identity. (form and function...)
  • 34. 23 Important in keeping consistency in each icon as a complete set design. Although this icon confused me for a while before I worked it out... A difficult balance between the convention and style of the brand identity. (form and function...)
  • 35. Icons in interfaces, apps and mobile platforms 24 Use of icons in interfaces, apps and mobile platforms. Weʼre so used to them - we donʼt need to think much. Theyʼre visual cues - to aid interaction and save you time...!
  • 36. 25 As an example - Logbook app - the most important icons stand out (red price tag, download arrow and padlock) pushes the content forward.
  • 37. 25 As an example - Logbook app - the most important icons stand out (red price tag, download arrow and padlock) pushes the content forward.
  • 38. 26 They help a user understand quicker to navigate. Without icons I would not have known that Brejeiro was a group shared folder.
  • 39. 26 They help a user understand quicker to navigate. Without icons I would not have known that Brejeiro was a group shared folder.
  • 40. 26 They help a user understand quicker to navigate. Without icons I would not have known that Brejeiro was a group shared folder.
  • 41. 26 They help a user understand quicker to navigate. Without icons I would not have known that Brejeiro was a group shared folder.
  • 42. 27 Gadget website dropdown navigation menu with icons removed - it becomes harder to scan the categories.
  • 43. 28 Simple, clean isons follow convention. Unclutters a busy interface design. Hightlights services descriptions. Ranking/product position icon
  • 44. 28 Simple, clean isons follow convention. Unclutters a busy interface design. Hightlights services descriptions. Ranking/product position icon
  • 45. 29 Digital River - payment processor. Icons used to help break up the information and visualise benefits on this landing page and throughout an advertising campaign.
  • 46. 30 Digital River - payment processor. This animated banner shows the classic icon of the sun for this summer offer in the advertising campaign.
  • 47. Source: 10 Mistakes in Icon Design Denis Kortunov 31 but can have the exact opposite effect. bloated icons in Microsoft Windows 8 do not work in smaller sizes. An icon should be easy to read. The fewer elements it has, the better. Database icons: At first glance everything looks alright. But if this application (or a separate toolbar) deals only with databases, we can remove the unnecessary part.
  • 48. Source: 10 Mistakes in Icon Design Denis Kortunov 31 but can have the exact opposite effect. bloated icons in Microsoft Windows 8 do not work in smaller sizes. An icon should be easy to read. The fewer elements it has, the better. Database icons: At first glance everything looks alright. But if this application (or a separate toolbar) deals only with databases, we can remove the unnecessary part.
  • 49. Source: 10 Mistakes in Icon Design Denis Kortunov 31 but can have the exact opposite effect. bloated icons in Microsoft Windows 8 do not work in smaller sizes. An icon should be easy to read. The fewer elements it has, the better. Database icons: At first glance everything looks alright. But if this application (or a separate toolbar) deals only with databases, we can remove the unnecessary part.
  • 50. Source: 10 Mistakes in Icon Design Denis Kortunov 31 but can have the exact opposite effect. bloated icons in Microsoft Windows 8 do not work in smaller sizes. An icon should be easy to read. The fewer elements it has, the better. Database icons: At first glance everything looks alright. But if this application (or a separate toolbar) deals only with databases, we can remove the unnecessary part.
  • 51. 32 OS 7 Good or Bad icon design? When it was first unveiled a year ago there was a lot of negative criticism on the new interface design. But it started the trend towards flat design, and today, we have become accustomed to it. It has become the convention within icon design.
  • 52. How do you go about developing iconography? 33 How do you go about developing iconography for your or your clients brand?
  • 53. 34 Bekumo logo design was created on behalf of tecgenie, for an iPad business enterprise app called ‘Bekumo’ (Japanese translation as ‘hazy cloud.’). As soon as I had digested all the information from the briefing, I spent some time researching the market (there’s a lot of ‘cloud’ logos out there!).
  • 54. 35 The first idea I came up with was turning the ‘B’ of Bekumo onto its side, creating the cloud icon – which was an important factor in this logo mark. the ‘big idea’ – can come down to either a few days or a few weeks.
  • 55. 36 I showed the client the ‘B’ turning into a cloud icon from my first idea and they loved it, so I set to work on working up a selection of ideas based around this.
  • 56. 37 The final logo and icon was approved and I produced a set of logo files, a one page logo guidelines
  • 57. 38 additional icon sets, and app icon files for the iPhone and iPad devices.
  • 58. 39 Property Document Vault is an online cloud storage application designed specifically for property owners and landlords. It is based on the SharePoint platform.  From the initial sketches, initial logo options were shown to the client which included using the well-known ‘cloud’ icon, and combining this with ideas using a safe lock and a paper clip in the shape of a house
  • 59. 40 The commercial property aspect was not obvious in the previous icons, so we looked at using building shapes in or around the cloud – and also a more recognisible padlock icon
  • 60. 41 The final logo and icon. We provided the logo and icon saved into various formats for web and print and the client has used this to help in their new sofware.
  • 61. 42 Software tech company, docfacto.com develops tools for developers that take the “too hard” out of documentation and helps businesses eliminate documentation debt. Target market was developers, so after a meeting and discussion with docfacto, a quirkybrand character, logo and icon that was ‘different’ from what is expected.
  • 62. 43 Icons created a fun, light-hearted feel to what is a detailed, technical product.
  • 63. 44 Additional software add-ons each had to have their own icon that was consistent with the main brand and also describe the product. GRABIT is a screenshot app - holding a frame
  • 64. 44 Additional software add-ons each had to have their own icon that was consistent with the main brand and also describe the product. GRABIT is a screenshot app - holding a frame
  • 65. GLOBAL DESTINATION SERVICES YOUR MOBILE CITY TOOL 45 Going-there.com provide specialist on-the-ground services for employees relocating around the globe. in addition to their new corp site, we’re working on a website app for them called ‘gt2go’. designed for mobiles first and will offer detailed city guides for relocation companies.
  • 66. 46 It’s a responsive website app, which required an icon to represent each service they provide. Thought was taken for scalability and consistency.
  • 67. 46 It’s a responsive website app, which required an icon to represent each service they provide. Thought was taken for scalability and consistency.
  • 68. 47 Still in the UI mockup stage Sketching helps to show how elements work and where icons work. Questions box hints at speech bubbles Planner timeline scrolls with points and dates Map pins on Google map shows places clearly
  • 69. 48 The user interface needs to work responsively on different screen sizes. I then take pics and put it into a preview app (Marvelapp.com) and client can also test it out for usability.
  • 70. 49 Mockup design of how it may look on a large screen.
  • 71. 50 Mockup design of how it may look on a mobile screen.
  • 72. To sum up Keep it simple and memorable If there is a convention - use it Don't be abstract, or too detailed 51 Keep it simple and memorable If there is a convention - use it Don't be abstract, or too detailed
  • 73. To sum up Reduce the number of colours and icons Be consistent - don't design icons in isolation - follow a brand identity or representation of app. 52 Reduce the number of colours and icons Be consistent - don't design icons in isolation - follow a brand identity and representation.
  • 74. The Power of Icons Andy Fuller : Designbull Reference and sources from: 10 Mistakes in Icon Design by Denis Kortunov | Icon Design Handbook by Jon Hicks | Let's Talk Icons by Michael Flarup 53 Thanks for having me. My name is Andy Fuller - Designbull - Creativity in Business Branding