Tips on Choosing Good Icons
As there are numerous websites that offer icons, you have to pick up the right website that offers quality icons. The touchstone method to identify a quality icon producer is the website itself.
Browse through as many number of website as you can and select a few website that visually impressed you and that offer the kind of icons you need. Then check for the quality of the website in terms of aesthetics, design, usability, language standards, payment modes, years of experience, client reviews, etc. As most of the client reviews are made up ones look for reviews outside the site. Or you can try contacting the so called clients to make sure the testimonials are true. If these are genuine, then you can proceed further. Else the website is either spam or has substandard products.
Cost is one other thing to be noticed when buying quality icons. Although there exists a though competition in the field of designing, quality icon designers can only charge reasonably because of the labor involved. If the websites offer their products for a trivial price then you got to think twice as the products may be of low quality or they may be outdated. After narrowing down the number of website to two or three, you can start examining the icons for their quality. Most of the quality websites offer free download of icons for the clients to examine.
Once you have downloaded the free icons you can have a closer look to check if it fulfills the criteria mentioned in the touchstone method. The touchstone method includes the following tests. Check if the icons are provided in all file extensions, such as formats .png, .ico, icns so that you can choose the icons according to your operating system. While .PNG is suitable for Windows applications, toolbars, mobile phone applications, Linux applications, and websites, .ICO is for Windows applications and .ICNS is for Macintosh applications.
For technical perfection, check if
1) the colors in icons are rich and complementary, 2) angle and perspective provide a dynamic energy to the icons, 3) edges and corners of elements are soft and slightly rounded, 4) light source comes from the upper left-hand corner with additional ambient light illuminating other parts of the icon, 5) the use of gradients provide dimension and give the icon a rich look, 6) drop shadows provide required contrast and dimension, and 7) finally if the outlines provide definition.
Regarding aesthetics and allusions behind the icons check if 1) established concepts are used, 2) the icon will be suitable in the context of your user interface, 3) the icons are generic and do not have any cultural impact, and 4) finally check if the images are clear when size is scaled down.
The above mentions check list will ensure if you are buying quality icons from a quality icon designer. Other things to consider include the business ethics as required for any other business and the punctuality in delivering custom free icons.
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