Whether you’re coming up with a brand new website or redesigning an old one, icon design is an important step that many people tend to leave out. In fact, icons are just as important as content and custom website design. They’re a fundamental part of user experience (UX) that makes websites easier to navigate while also giving you the opportunity to play around with designs and show a little bit of your personality in the process.
What Is Good Icon Design?
While it’s impossible to standardize what is and isn’t a good icon, there are a few things to remember when creating icons for your website. For starters, they should be relevant. Homepages are houses for a reason, and imagine how confusing people would be if we changed the favorite icon from a heart to a tree. Ultimately, your goal is to use simple imagery to communicate to readers what action each icon performs.
Icons are supposed to draw attention
While you don’t want your icon to be too flashy and complicated, it shouldn’t also be so plain that it blends into your website and goes unnoticed. After all, most icons serve a purpose and should attract attention to the visitor. Think about how much easier it is to notice the ratings of products on a website like Amazon when the products have an accompanying five-star icon next to their names.
Icons boost readability
Icons aren’t just for navigation, they can also help separate plain text and add some much-needed flair to your content. Just like how we salt and pepper newspaper and magazine articles with pictures, we can also add icons to help break up large, boring blocks of text and make things easier to read and understand. One popular way that websites use this is by adding lists with icons instead of your standard bullet points.
Icon Design and Visual Hierarchy
You probably already know that the better your website looks, the more likely you are to turn those leads into sales. Visual hierarchy is the science behind building aesthetic websites that boost traffic and conversion rates. This web design principle can be used with icon design by seeing how the size, color scheme, and placement of icons influence the look and feel of the website.
For people who don’t have any experience with visual hierarchy, this can be a challenge. Too many icons make it difficult to read, but too few icons make the site bare and boring. Just look at how unappealing Facebook looks when you take away its icons. However, when done properly with research and an understanding of visual hierarchy, icons can really make your website stand out.