Recipe For Making Perfect Icons

Jan 12, 2011   //   by JMonit   //   Blog, Graphics, Icons  //  No Comments
Icon Design 101

Icons today have evolved a lot for being simple 24 x 24 pixel icons to big 3D styled very realistic ones. Websites are coming up everyday with there own set of icons and they are no longer considered secondary, infact more focus is given towards detailed icons. So today we see what makes a great icon great.

What To Create

First and foremost you need to decide what icon to make. Once you get is clear what you want to do then comes the next step.

Sketch It Up

If you can get it on paper you can do it in real, if its difficult for you to visualize the object seek references of real world object. We live in a time where we don’t have to go through magazines or other sources for inspiration you can get almost anything from internet these days so finding a reference is pretty easy.

The Perspective

Our world is 3 dimensional so nothing is flat. So depending on what you want to make decide on an interesting angle so that the object captures the viewers interest. All you need is some basic Knowledge of perspective and ability to visualize the object in that view. Again you can seek references to get is spot on.

Color and Texture

Colors & Texture are very important when making icons. They decide the look and feel of the object. You can use bright shiny colors to give a plastic or a glass finish or you can have a grungy rough finish to mimic leather or Metal. This is very important step in modern icon design and sky is the limit on how much detail you can put in. Remember The Devil is In The Detail.

Light & Shadow

Light is what makes an object appear 3 Dimensional to us. We recognize an object by the way light creates shadows of it or bounces of from it. So there are basically two lights illuminating any object in Natural environment, one is the direct light other is the bounced light. Both create different effects and different kind of shadows. We discussing this here cause if you have a good understanding of light you can easily make your icon more realistic. That’s the main difference between a good icon and a great icon.


Icon design is an art-form and the more you practice it you will get better. Observation of real world object helps, the more you see things minutely the better your skill will be, same as when you learn how to sketch its taught to observe the model well before drawing. Once you get that right rest is easy and computer can help you with that. There are so many objects around you that you can try to make as icons so start making them today, also if you would like to share what you create you can do that in comments and I will be glad to see them. Also if you got queries drop us a line and let us know what you would like to learn from this blog. For more such great tutorials and articles stay tuned….

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