How to Design an Iconset That Is Adaptive for All Projects


3 min read

Icons are small graphical elements that can convey meaning, functionality, or identity in a user interface. They can also enhance the aesthetic appeal and usability of a website, app, or product. However, designing an iconset that is consistent, scalable, and adaptable for different contexts and platforms can be challenging. In this post, we will share some tips and best practices on how to design an iconset that is adaptive for all projects.

Define your style

The first step in designing an iconset is to define your style. This means choosing a theme, a color palette, a shape language, and a level of detail that suits your project and audience. For example, you can opt for a minimalist style with simple geometric shapes and monochrome colors1, or a realistic style with detailed illustrations and gradients2. You can also mix and match different styles to create something unique3.

Some questions to ask yourself when defining your style are:

  • What is the purpose of your iconset? What message do you want to convey?

  • Who is your target audience? What are their preferences and expectations?

  • What are the technical constraints of your project? What platforms and devices will your icons be displayed on?

  • How will your icons interact with other elements on the screen? How will they contrast with the background?

Sketch your ideas

The next step in designing an iconset is to sketch your ideas. This means brainstorming different concepts and metaphors for each icon you need. You can use paper and pencil, digital tools, or both. The goal is to generate as many variations as possible without worrying about details or quality.

Some questions to ask yourself when sketching your ideas are:

  • What is the main function or meaning of each icon?

  • How can you represent it visually using simple shapes or symbols?

  • How can you make it clear and recognizable at different sizes?

  • How can you make it consistent with the rest of the iconset?

Refine your icons

The final step in designing an iconset is to refine your icons. This means selecting the best sketches from the previous step and polishing them into pixel-perfect icons. You can use vector graphics software such as Adobe Illustrator or Sketch45 to create smooth curves, crisp edges, and precise alignments. You can also use CSS properties such as font-size, font-weight, fill-opacity1 etc., if you are using icon fonts.

Some questions to ask yourself when refining your icons are:

  • Are your icons aligned to a grid system? Do they have consistent margins and padding?

  • Are your icons balanced in terms of visual weight? Do they have similar proportions and dimensions?

  • Are your icons scalable? Do they look good at different resolutions and zoom levels?

  • Are your icons adaptable? Do they work well with different colors schemes3, themes2, or modes (light/dark)?

Test your iconset

The last but not least step in designing an iconset is to test it. This means checking how it looks and works in real-world scenarios. You can use mockups4, prototypes5, or live demos etc., depending on what stage of development you are at.

Some questions to ask yourself when testing your iconset are:

  • Does it match the overall design of your project? Does it complement or clash with other elements?

  • Does it communicate effectively with users? Does it convey clear meanings or functions?

  • Does it enhance user experience? Does it improve navigation or interaction?

We hope this post has given you some useful insights on how to design an iconset that is adaptive for all projects. Remember that there is no one right way to do it; you can experiment with different styles, techniques, and tools until you find what works best for you and your project.