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Investing in Professional Icons

Using Icons in C#

Most, if not all, commercial applications have extensive use of professional application icons. Icons are a way to make a user friendly interface, making the application easy and fast to use.

Using good quality applications icons in your C# programs is vital. Good quality application icons set apart a professional piece of software. Look atthe difference adding icons can make:

application icons

Designing Your Own Icons

It is quite possible to draw your own icons to use in C# programs. Graphic applications such as Photoshop make it very easy to create stunning icons in all sizes. Constantly improving compression algorithms that are standard with professional graphic applications make it easy to create icons that are rich in color without having a huge filesize.

If you decide to make the application icons yourself, there are a few things to remember.

First of all, keep the theme consistent. It is easy to get carried away when designing a single application icon and forget the overall look of the icons. Establish from the beginning the tone of colors, direction of drop shadows, etc. If you look at professional icon catalogs you will notice they are sold in packs named Vista-Style, Super Vista, XP-Style, Glamor, etc. Basically icons should be a set and each individual icon must look like it belongs to the set.

Second of all remember simplicity is best. Sure some applications may require really big icons, but more often than not, icons are meant to be no more than 36 by 36 pixels. Since that is not much room to work with try to keep the elements in each application icon clear. Don't clutter it with too many things.

Also try to be innovative, but within check. For example, users are used to the fact that a blank page icon represents "New Document" or something similar. If you are designing your own "New Document" icon, try to stick with the blank page and be innovative upon that. The reason being that those sorts of icons have been around for a long long time and changing the standard might not always be a good thing.

Buying Professional Icons

Sometimes it is just best to go ahead and buy a set of professional application icons. A quick google search reveals a plethora of companies that specialize in rendering out thousands of sets of professional application icons in all price ranges. For example, IconExperience is a good icon company. However the price of the really good ones can be a bit hefty.

The important thing to remember is that you will most likey not use all the icons in a set on your current software project. Meaning you can re-use the same icon set over and over in the future. It would be a waste of money to purchase a set of icons to be exclusive to a single application. (Unless of course it's a really huge application or something).

In other words think of it as a one time investment that helps your applications now and in the future. Just remember two things while shopping for a professional icons set: Make sure they are royalty-free (most icons are), and be sure to check out the entire catalog before deciding anything.

Custom Professional Icons

Lastly if you can't find a set of professional icons that fits the particular needs of your application, search around for a company the offers the service of custom application icons. What they'll do is they will make icons from scratch based on your concept specifications. (In fact they take your concepts and do a number of drafts to make sure the final icons will be exactly what you want).

These services are more expensive than buying pre-made application icons, but the results are impressive.

Whichever you decide, using icons in C# program is vital towards creating professional applications. Similar to professional icons are also high-resolution stock images.

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