Icons, pictograms, smileys, dingbats – call them what you like – visual language is a fascinating area of design.
Yes, varieties of visual language has been used for years, with varying degrees of success, and it’s likely that icons will one day be relegated to the “naf bin”.
For now, thought, there are a range of icons out there that can really spice up your website, infographic or presentation
But use with care – here are my 10 tips:
- Don’t use them for the sake of it
- Use logical icons – don’t make the reader work out what you’re trying to say
- Do use them to break up lots of text
- Don’t use them to fill up space – get more content or make your infographic smaller
- Avoid using icons from radically different sets – try to keep the same theme throughout
- Use them if your audience may not understand the text (ie young, international)
- Consider using an icon OR a word, not both – i.e. avoid EMAIL word and an EMAIL logo
- Use an icon to illustrate a long header/paragraph
- Try to use icons appropriate to the audience – classy for business, cute for children. Why do we still use the traditional “telephone” symbol for phone, when no phones look like that any more?
- Don’t be naf/cliche – bored of “toilet man”? Try using a different style character
If you want to find some good handy icons, give these font based ones a go (by sharing these links I’m not vouching for safety of anything you download – virus scan folks!)