Published on January 24, 2008
These are not toilets This is not a country This is not a company These are not flowers This is not a refreshing drink This is not a cow This is not food This is not a face This is not law This is not a sound These are not ideas
This is not Jude Robinson
For the purposes of this presentation I’m using the word icon to mean any image used to represent a person, place, thing or idea .
Symbols A B C 2 3 ? ! * £ % @ Pictures Language
A B C
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A B C 2 3 ? ! * £ % @ In the non-pictorial icons meaning is fixed and absolute. Appearance doesn’t effect meaning.
A B C
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In pictures meaning is fluid and variable according to appearance.
Somewhat more abstract but we still easily recognise it.
Without the iconic pose is this image still recognisable as Marilyn Monroe?
Amplification through simplification
WHAT ARE YOU REALLY SEEING?
We see ourselves in everything
FACE 2 eyes 1 nose 1 mouth Thy youth’s proud livery so gazed on now pictures language realism abstraction
This could be you This is not you
If who I am matters less maybe what I say will matter more.
We experience a similar level of non- visual awareness when we interact with inanimate objects.
Our identities and awareness are invested in many inanimate objects every day.
Concept Senses By de-emphasizing the appearance of the physical world in favour of the idea of form, the icon places itself in the world of concepts.
Icon design is metaphor design.
Metaphors map the known onto the unknown and give us a conceptual framework. They solve the question of how we can grasp new knowledge when we have no old knowledge on which to graft it.
Good metaphor design 1. Use universal imagery that people will easily recognise
Good metaphor design 2. Because there’s no such thing as universal imagery ALWAYS label your icons.
Good metaphor design 3. Strive for simplicity. Use a basic single object that captures the icon’s action. Nouns are better than verbs.
Good metaphor design 3. Avoid using interface elements they can be confused for real interfaces
Good metaphor design 4. Don’t reuse system icons. It’s confusing seeing the same icon used in different ways.
Good metaphor design 5. Only use icons with links. Don’t confuse their purpose. Use distinctly different styles for icons and illustrations.
Mac OSX Aqua Icons – A Case Story Aqua offers a photo-illustrative icon style - it approaches the realism of photography but uses the features of illustrations to convey a lot in a small space.
Mac OSX Aqua Icons – A Case Story There are two genres of icons 1. Application icons 2. Utility icons
Mac OSX Aqua Icons – A Case Story Aqua icons can also help users identify files associated with an application.
Mac OSX Aqua Icons – A Case Story Application icons should be vibrant and inviting, and should immediately convey the application’s purpose. Application icons should display the media the application creates or views. If appropriate, the icon should also contain a tool that communicates the type of task the application allows the user to accomplish. Utility applications convey a more serious tone than those for user applications. Color in these icons is de-saturated, predominantly gray, and added only when necessary to clearly communicate what the applications do.
Mac OSX Aqua Icons – A Case Story Icon perspectives – Application icons The angles and shadows used for depicting various kinds of icons are intended to reflect how the objects would appear in reality.
Mac OSX Aqua Icons – A Case Story Icon perspectives – Utility icons Flat objects appear as if there were a wall behind them with an appropriate shadow behind them.
Mac OSX Aqua Icons – A Case Story Icon perspectives – 3D objects & toolbar 3D objects and toolbar icons would be more realistically seen sitting on the ground.
Mac OSX Aqua Icons – A Case Story Materials and transparency Icons that represent actual objects should look as though they are made of real materials. Use transparency only when it is convincing and when it helps complete the story the icon is telling.
Why use icons? “ In general I believe that icons should work a bit like traffic signs; they should convey information without distracting the user, without competing with the data in an application. Ideally, they should suggest something about the functionality. If it is not completely evident, then the function should be easy to remember if the user is told only once.” Susan Kair
“ In general I believe that icons should work a bit like traffic signs; they should convey information without distracting the user, without competing with the data in an application. Ideally, they should suggest something about the functionality. If it is not completely evident, then the function should be easy to remember if the user is told only once.” Susan Kair
Why use icons? “ The Windows XP icon style is all about fun, color, and energy—and, as there are now 32-bit versions of the icons, smooth edges . ” Creating Windows XP Icons, Microsoft corporation
“ The Windows XP icon style is all about fun, color, and energy—and, as there are now 32-bit versions of the icons, smooth edges . ” Creating Windows XP Icons, Microsoft corporation
Why use icons? Icons teach
Why use icons? Icons teach Icons help
Why use icons? Icons teach Icons help Icons inform
Why use icons? Icons teach Icons help Icons inform Icons remind
Why use icons? Icons teach Icons help Icons inform Icons remind Icons sort
Increasingly we are choosing and designing icons as representations of ourselves…
A universe of icons to choose from
There is no life here except what you give to it.
... The Treachery of Images (Ceci n'est pas une pipe), 1929 (LACMA) ... (Ceci n’est pas une pipe) Conservation | René Magritte, "The Portrait," 1935.
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The treachery of images (This is not a pipe), 1948 by Rene Magritte, Vache Period. Surrealism. symbolic painting. Private Collection
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