Bits & PCs... The Birth of an Icon

Thursday 14 March 2002 (National Science Week)


Richard N P Hodgkinson, User Technologies, IBM UK Ltd, Hursley Park

Room HC024, Southampton Institute, East Park Terrace, Southampton

When creating icons for computer software there are many factors that the designer should consider from the standpoint of both the user and the software.

In addition, there are many valuable resources currently available to assist the icon designer. This presentation addresses many of these considerations and identifies some of these resources that icon designers can draw upon to assist them in creating successful icons:

  • Considering the user (metaphors, knowledge levels and environments)
  • Design process (developing and presenting concepts)
  • Technical requirements (cell sizes, colour palettes, file types)
  • Platform styles and conventions (Windows, Java, Apple, UNIX/AIX/Linux, OS/2)
  • Cultural and language considerations (Dos and Don'ts)
  • International standards (for icons and symbols)
  • Legal situation (copyright vs. patenting vs. registering)
  • Reference sources (published books and guidelines)
  • Online resources (icon clip art via the Web)