Icons are used almost everywhere, great icons can be unique and add personality to a website or a drink menu. They can help to engage users, make information easier to digest, and help first-time visitors navigate websites. Icons will strengthen your brand communication and make your brand recognizable. And who doesn’t want that? As a marketing or brand manager that’s your job. And we want to make your job easier. That’s why we have compiled everything you need to know about icons and how you can create icons for your brand.
Why you should consider using icons as part of your marketing communication
Icons make it easier to identify and locate items and have more effective communication. Icons should be easy to understand and grab the attention of the user. They break down the language barrier, strengthen content, and are more memorable than just text alone.
Unless the icon is well-understood, text will be needed so the user easily can recognize what the icon does or means. Well-designed icons in combination with text will enhance usability and readability.
With icons, you can add the brand’s personality and create a style that fits with the brand.
Simple icon principles to follow as a marketing manager
The main goal of an icon is to communicate a concept quickly. A great icon is easy to understand for everyone. Stick to basic design elements, too many elements can make the icon appear heavy and difficult to understand. Focus on simplicity and minimalism. Some icons include text to ensure that communication is clear. The main goal is to create clarity.
Icons should be readable. Meaning the reader immediately grasps the meaning of the icon.
If the icon consist of various shapes, leave sufficient space between them. Enough whitespace in your icon design is important to give the icons breathing space.
Multiple thinner strokes will make the icon appear cluttered and hard to read. Less is more, try to avoid too many details. If the details are not crucial to understand the icon, you should leave it out.
To make sure that there is consistency in the icon set make sure that you use the same stylistic methods for all the icons. The icons should all have the same visual weight, this implies that their height and width have similar size throughout the icon set.
Choosing a color style for icons is essential. Follow your existing guidelines or create a custom color palette for your icon set. This ensures that all of your icons are visually alike, cohesive, and increases brand awareness. All icons should be consistent across every media, consistency is key.
Each brand has a unique voice or personality that they should maintain. Hence, all icons should match your brand. Consider what your icons will be used for and your target audience. Ensure that your brand voice is represented. Adding some personality to the icons will make them more recognizable and unique.
Recommended next steps to get your own icons
If you have read this far you must believe in the full value icons can create for your company and marketing. Awesome! The next step would be to get your icons designed on-brand. And here you have a couple of opportunities. Let me break them down for you.
Stock icons are pre-designed icons that you can find on different website marketplaces. These can be downloaded and used right away without doing any adjustments. You will find both free and paid stock icons.
We have created a list of online marketplaces offering free to use icons. A good solution if you don’t have the budget to create something unique and on-brand. Check out our recommended list of icon marketplaces here and a quick intro to the different providers.
Customizing stock icons
Rather than just using stock icons, you can get help from a designer or illustrator to redesign and customize a pre-designed icon set to make it on-brand. This doesn’t need to be an expensive investment, but it will definitely help you stand out from your competitors (that perhaps have used the same free icons?). This is something we in Graphiq can help you with, by using one of our amazing creative talents.
Custom designed icons
Custom designed icons are unique, on-brand, and more strategic thought of. They can visualize exactly what you need to communicate and are designed at your request. This is something an in-house illustrator/graphic designer or freelancer can help you with. If interested, feel free to get in touch with us and our specialist.
Now you should be ready to take your marketing to the next level with on-brand icons no matter what your budget is. As always feel free to reach out if you want to discuss the opportunities here.