"Immediate identification as well as visual definition…" (p.18)
Thomas defines 10 points to adhere to:
- Visibility: will stand out - quick and memorable
- Application: must withstand numerous technical applications
- Distinctiveness: distinguish itself from competition (maybe not as relevant to icons as it is to logos)
- Simplicity: don’t overwork or underwork drawing. Think about cultural and religious connotations.
- Retention: if too easy to read, viewer feels no sense of discovery. (feel this is not relevant to icons. Icons should be clear to read as efficiency is important in UI)
- Descriptiveness: reveal to some extent nature of what represents. Not an exact literal translation. (I disagree with this, maybe for logo’s this is better, but Icons need to represent a literal translation where possible)
- Timeliness: current trends have life expectancy.
- Modularity: Adaptable, can be used in conjunction with other graphic and typographic elements without the icon being watered down.
- Equity: age, use and recognition considered.
Three types of mark:
- descriptive: illustrative
- symbolic: symbol representing aspect or object
Thomas, G. (2000). How to design logos, symbols and icons. Cincinnati: North Light Books.