Echo is currently a new set of icons proposed for inclusion in Fedora. Designed with a dynamic perspective, Echo icons aim to appear more realistic while still maintaining a clean and simple design by utilzing high contrast and spots of vibrant colors. The following are general guidelines to creating icons in the Echo look and feel. To view and post icons, please visit the EchoDevelopmentGallery .
- Utilizes grays and gradients to provide a clean, yet detailed look. High contrast and spots of vibrant colors further define clean and simple designs.
- Dynamic perspective with corresponding lighting and drop shadow.
- Gradient outlines to provide subtle and versatile definition.
Each icon is created in a vector program (Inkscape/Illustrator) and often finalized in GIMP/Photoshop. The used output is currently a .png with tansparent background. For OpenSource purposes, please also upload your vector file in .svg format so that others may derive and/or more easily create additional icons. Upload icons EchoDevelopmentGallery or post to Fedora-art-list for discussion and feedback.
Listed below are the various icon sizes and where they are used. For now Echo will focus on the 3 commonly used sizes of 16 (appearing in the corner of window borders), 24 (used in the menu), and 48 (as icons on the desktop).
- 16x16 - menu icons "gtk-menu"
- 18x18 - toolbar icons "gtk-small-toolbar"
- 24x24 - toolbar icons "gtk-large-toolbar"
- 20x20 - button icons "gtk-button"
- 32x32 - dnd icons "gtk-dnd"
- 48x48 - dialogue icons "gtk-dialog"
Note that the smaller icons are not merely scaled versions of the larger icons. Due to the limitation of space in the smaller sizes, there usually is a need for a bit of simplification and tweaking. Take the time to rework the icon if needed. Make sure the image is distinguishable and not muddy. With this said, keep in mind that any new icon/logo you design will have to work (or look similar) at 16x16.
|#00578E Logo BG|
|#0084C8 Logo Light|
|#00BBFF Echo Main|
|#666666 Dark Gray|
|#CCCCCC Light Gray|
|#0E232E Dark Metal|
|#9EABB0 Light Metal01|
|#BDCDD4 Light Metal02|
|#BB0000 Dark Red|
|#996600 Dark Brown|
|#009900 Dark Green|
|#0000BB Dark Blue|
Echo employs the use of three (3) types of perspective:
|straight (or head-on) SVG||slightly tilted table SVG||most defining being the isometric grid SVG|
|to be used in creating 16x16 pixel icons||to be used in creating "Action" icons
case-by-case basis (please discuss prior to implementing)...can also be used in creating icons of other groups that are difficult to render in smaller sizes (< 48x48 pixels)
|to be used in the creation of all icons not covered by the previous two grids|
Lighting + Shadows
The light source is located slightly to the left and in front of the object...not directly overhead. Highlight is located primarily in the front corner, along the left edge and a bit on the front of the right face of an object.
The shadow is formed by lines from the isometric grid. It is appears primarily behind the object; as well as a bit in front of and under the object. Do not to use black, as it is too harsh and does not scale well...dark gray is acceptable.
|to be used in creating 16x16 pixel icons
Notice... Slight shading effect from the light (if at all) but no shadow for a cleaner 16x16 icon.
|to be used in creating "Action" icons
Notice...Shading effect from the light and shadow below object. If the objects were closer, there would be a slight shadow projected from the circle on to the square.
|to be used in the creation of all icons not covered by the previous two|
Notice... Location and shape of highlights from the light and angle of the shadow cast by the shapes. Also note a slight hint of shadow appearing in front of the object as well as to the side.
Making a Shadow - MartinSourada
Shadows for icons can be created in Inkscape (using the blur effect). Here are some basic values.
Amount of blur: from about 12 to about 20.
- Create a basic shape for the shadow to start with (for most action icons an ellipse is good)
- Extend the shape to better fit the icon
- Add gradient if needed (in this example I used a linear gradient with the colors of: $2d2d2da0 -> 2d2d2db9 -> 2d2d2d32)
- Apply blur effect (in the example I set 12,4)
Challenge: Something I'd like to try and and challenge this set to do is to create slightly tinted shadows. From painting experience...object of any given color will cast a shadow tinged with that of its complementary color and tinting neighboring colors. Juxtaposing complementary colors will also add higher contrast to the icon. Example: a blueish object will therefore cast an orangish shadow, while a reddish object will cast a greenish shadow. (See below.) The coloring is very subtle but I think that this could be one of the small things which could make Echo stand out.
If this is too involved, please use the standard dark gray instead.
Outlines help define the shape of an icon. At smaller sizes, the outline should help users recognize the icon by presenting an identifiable shape. A well designed outline should also add to the discernability of an icon on light and dark backgrounds.
I did not want the outline to be a mere line which evelops the icon. The outline should add more to the icon...to be a shadow when it's on a light background, and a highlight when it's on a dark background. During my icon research I came across iconfactory.com , whose contests section contained Underwater - by Yegor Gilyov (shown below). The outline used here was not just an uniform solid line. Note its various widths (the outline towards the right and bottom are wider than the upper right), colors (the outlines are comprised of several colors cooresponding to the part it covered, there's even the use of gradients to add to the icons overall shape and shading), and overlap (the outline doesn't just exist on the outside, some flow inside to help define the shape of the icon). I incorporated this concept into the Echo icon design (see Echo sample icons below).
|File:Artwork EchoIconGuidelines outlineUnderwater.jpg|
|File:Artwork EchoIconGuidelines outlineEcho.png|
|Comparison of icon border against dark and light backgrounds.|
|File:Artwork EchoIconGuidelines outlineBW.png|
|Above, is the same Microphone Icon on both the left and right. Note how the outline adds to defining the icons shape by appearing as highlight against the dark background and shadow on the light background.|
At 16x16 pixels, please use a 1 pixel #364E59 border.
Echo Icons in Grids
Pluses and Stars - MartinSourada
Plus SVG is used for action icons (thus often forward facing) symbolizing the creation of something new by the user. An example is the creation of a new contact in an address book. Such things are created by clicking on a button with a representative icon; whose icon name usually ends with "-new."
Star SVG should be used to note something that is new or upcoming in time. More generally, it symbolizes a state of being rather than the action of making it so (as the + would denote). Examples are such icons as mail-marked-unread and appointment-soon.
An attach point is a location (x,y) on the icon that can be used as an anchor point for attaching emblems or overlays. If no points are specified, then default positions will be used.
Attach Points is a list of points, separated by "|". The points are pixel coordinates from the top left corner of the icon, except for SVG files, where they are specified in a 1000x1000 coordinate space that is scaled to the final rendered size of the icon. For additional technical information written by Alex Larsson.
- OSXHI Guidelines - Apple Human Interface Guidelines doc section on Icons.
- Windows XP Icon Guidelines - windows XP icon guidelines from MSDN
- Icon Factory HowTo Article: Copeland - This article provides a good overview of isometric icon creation, with the specific goal of making 'Copeland' or old-school-Mac-style icons.
- Icon Factory HowTo Make Icons - This is the set of howto articles the Copeland article originated from - an interesting read for icon creators.
- One Thousand Square Pixels of Canvas - an interesting overview of computer icons from the Xerox Star to OSX.
- GUIdebook Icon Gallery - Nice gallery of cross-platform icons, includes Bluecurve.
- Tango Project - Tango Project Page
- Designing Effective Icons - Section from the Gnome HIG
- Icon Design: Bitmap vs Vector - Explaination about bitmap and vectorial image
- Icon Design: Sizing - This article explains how to properly size an icon from large to small