Icon Design in 2023: The Key Trends

Icon Design in 2023: The Key Trends

Icons is perhaps some of the vital – and underrated – examples of design in your portfolio. Here’s a take a look at icon design with some inspiring examples.

Icon parts are proven virtually in all places, however generally get produced as an afterthought. That shouldn’t be the case. Great icon design might be distinctive and add finesse and aptitude to a mission.

Let’s check out what’s new, and what’s sizzling in icon design!

Thick Line Icons

icon design

Line icons have been a giant pattern for fairly a while. It’s one thing you see virtually every day when looking the net. The new tackle this design pattern is line icons with thick traces, versus the skinny kinds which were dominant.

Thick line icons are slightly large trickier to work with as a result of they want some house and dimension to render nicely. You can use them as a single shade design ingredient or crammed with shade and for nearly any kind of design want.

Thick line icons are most likely finest suited to outsized use and generally is a enjoyable theme possibility for a design mission.

3D Icons

icon design

Everywhere you look, there are large, daring bubble-style three-dimensional icons in net tasks. We like this icon pattern as a result of it’s a number of enjoyable and contains quite a lot of persona.

You can create 3D icons in virtually any type, however the illustrated bubbles are those which are drawing a number of consideration as a design pattern that we anticipate to see much more of.

These icons might be virtually any dimension – from small to large – and embrace animation (or not). What’s nice about icons in this 3D type is that they’re fairly versatile and might combine with the remainder of your deliberate design scheme.

The one factor to maintain in thoughts is that this type has a lightweight really feel, so it may not work with tremendous severe content material.

Google-Style Icons

icon design

You most likely acknowledge the feel and appear of icons utilizing major colours and easy shapes as being lots just like the icons for Google’s household of merchandise. And that type is trending for different tasks as nicely.

These icons function a flat type with a definite shade household that’s used all through the icon set. Most icons use a couple of colours, though some are single shade.

This icon type works for any dimension ingredient, however is definitely only for smaller icons as a result of the design generally is a little flat – actually – in outsized utilization.

Fully-Illustrated Icons

icon design

Icons have been fairly easy for probably the most half for some time, however extra designers are experimenting with fully-illustrated icon kinds which are lovely and interesting. These extra complicated icon parts are sometimes used at bigger sizes and contribute much more to the general story of a design.

As with the instance above, this type is ideal for a design with a extra childlike tone or for icon parts that may present extra of a inventive aptitude.

Color, scale, dimension, and design consistency are vital to maintain in thoughts with this type in order that your icon set seems to be like it’s ought to go collectively.

Icon Doodles

icon design

Those stray doodles in the nook of your pocket book may simply be your subsequent neat icon set. Doodle-style icons which have imperfect kinds really feel genuine and fascinating and are an ideal accent for a mission akin to a private portfolio.

The enjoyable factor about doodle icons is that they will make a design really feel slightly extra distinctive. Just the visible ingredient of a doodle implies spontaneity and individuality. Use these ideas to your benefit when eager about easy methods to use this type finest.

Don’t overlook to play with colours and delicate changes between icons as nicely to essentially play up the distinctive, individualized nature of this design pattern.

Pop-Art Style Icons

icon design

On the opposite finish of the icon design spectrum is pop-art type icons, that are colourful, elaborate, and slightly over-the-top.

Pop-art parts are a number of enjoyable and might inject loads of persona right into a mission. The trickiest factor right here is to not let shade overwhelm the icon set individually or collectively. These icons can work finest in a design with out a number of different dramatic shade or results.

The different trick to utilizing this type of icon is to contemplate outsized utilization with loads of house round them. Let the artwork of every icon shine by way of.

Hand Drawn Icons

icon design

Hand drawn icons aren’t solely a stylish type, however in addition they create a extra intimate, genuine really feel for a design mission. Styles for these icons can fluctuate broadly, from easy shapes and features to full-color icons.

The finest a part of hand drawn kinds is that you simply don’t even have to attract them your self. There are loads of hand drawn icon units obtainable so you will discover simply the suitable type, even for those who aren’t feeling overly creative.

Icons with Depth

icon design

Creating depth in icon design is considerably tough, however extra designers are utilizing this pattern with outsized icon units. Using shadows and geometry to create simply the suitable form combos with a component that provides an virtually three-dimensional impact.

These kinds are fairly enjoyable and generally use hints of developments which have come and gone akin to lengthy shadows.

These icons are typically on the extra complicated aspect and are finest suited to use the place the icons are pretty giant or work in mixture with one other ingredient, akin to textual content for a brand.

Icons with Hover States

icon design

When it involves icons for the net, some of the well-liked strategies is to pair a set of icons in such a method that creates a hover state or animation. This may embrace utilizing an icon that with a shade fill after which not or virtually making a button round an icon.

If you propose to make use of some kind of hover state with an icon, you will need to take into consideration this in the icon design part. Not all icons or icon units are optimized for this method. Look for a whole icon set with variations that make making a hover state that a lot simpler.

And don’t attempt to get too difficult right here. An elaborate icon can get misplaced with a hover state. This works finest for easy icon pairs.

Simplified Icons

icon design

Even web sites and designs that beforehand featured complicated icon kinds are transferring to extra stripped down and simplified icons.

What’s good about them is that every icon portrays an identifiable factor, however the illustration isn’t all the time 100% literal. Icon designers might take liberty with shapes or traces to create icon shapes which are the most straightforward model of the merchandise it represents.

Line Icons with Color Shapes

icon design

Line icons are all the time a well-liked selection, because of a flexible type that appears good with virtually some other design ingredient. The pattern provides just a bit extra visible curiosity with a pop of shade, typically in the type of a circle or sq., behind the road icon.

The shade form may fill part of the road icon design, however as a rule it’s simply floating in the background. This tiny little bit of visible curiosity can tie an icon set collectively, emphasize a model shade, or simply clean up an older web site of line icons.

The tough a part of the icon design is placement and dimension of the colour form ingredient. If it’s too large or too shiny in shade, it may possibly take away from the icon. If the form is just too small, you danger it trying like a mistake.

While there’s no good dimension, a lot of the icons utilizing this pattern preserve the colour form to about one-quarter of the total dimension of the icon.

Abstract Icon Shapes

icon design

Not certain what icon represents your content material? An summary icon form is perhaps the reply.

More designers are creating summary type icons to be used throughout web sites. The good factor about this type – and pattern in normal – is that summary kinds create a way of caprice and surprise that matches among the greater general developments in design.

The key to working with summary shapes is to ensure you aren’t replicating one thing by mistake and that icons really are summary. (Don’t attempt to create icons which are much like your brand, for instance, they may simply appear to be errors.) For one thing that basically matches, use the identical shade palette for icons and model supplies.

Icons with Background Icons

icon design

Some trending icons have icons of their very own. Seriously!

For extra elaborate makes use of of icons – we’re not taking tiny favicons right here – icons might be stacked and layered to create extra of an artwork ingredient.

This pattern typically makes use of shade and shading to distinguish between the principle focal icon and background icons. The major icon is usually full shade or a stuffed icon. The background icons are virtually all the time line type and might need gentle shade palettes.

You can create this impact with many premade icon kits by mixing and matching icons in other ways. Create depth and visible curiosity with icons of the same theme and stick with only a handful of parts to maintain the scene from getting too busy. Don’t be afraid to make use of and reuse parts and use the identical icons (alternating line and stuffed) in backgrounds and foregrounds.

Two-Color Icons

icon design

Another icon design pattern that builds on well-liked line icon kinds is to create two-color parts.

Two-color icons can construct in your present shade palette or model colours or mix virtually some other shade pair. When designing utilizing the icon pattern, search for shade pairs that may stand out from the background on which you propose to make use of them.

When it involves the design, choose a major shade for a lot of the icon. Use a secondary shade to accent a component of the icon. (Think of utilizing the first shade for 70% to 80% of the design and the secondary shade for the remainder.)

This creates an accent in the icon design that may assist draw the attention into the design ingredient, and hopefully, surrounding content material as nicely.

Bright Color

icon design

Bright shade decisions have been a giant deal in all facets of design. That isn’t any totally different with icons. A shiny shade is an attractive method to attract the attention to the icon.

Color is getting used in a couple of other ways on the subject of the icon design pattern:

  • As a background with a white or black line-style icon
  • For full shade icon parts with a extra life like look
  • For icon parts with a extra flat, gradient or super-bright design

Popular shade decisions in the intense household embrace yellows, blues, greens, and purples. These colours are typically on the intense aspect and crafting a shade palette with three to 5 hues for an icon set is well-liked.

Not certain the place to begin? Material Palette showcases colours which are a giant half if the colour icon design pattern.

Icons in Logos

icon design

Take be aware of what number of logos function icons. Once you begin eager about it, not seeing all of the little icons in brand design might be powerful.

What’s good about an icon in a brand is that it really works with the model title, and with a while and model fairness can stand alone. Think in regards to the instance above, Spotify. Even although the music supplier hasn’t been round all that lengthy (in the scope of manufacturers), the circle with three traces is extremely identifiable.

The icon works in shade and with out – a key of a robust icon – and might stand alone or with lettering. This versatility makes it straightforward to see why icons are a well-liked ingredient in brand design.


icon design

Circles are some of the harmonious shapes. And on the subject of icon design, they’re slightly well-liked. From icons which are contained inside a sphere to circles inside objects, making a design mark utilizing circles can set up simply the suitable really feel for customers.

(Want to know extra about circles in design? We’ve bought that right here.)

Part of the affect of circle in icon design may join again to among the tips set forth by Google with Material Design. All these round buttons are good for tapping on cell phones. And that very same philosophy applies to icon design. (Just suppose how typically an icon is a touchable or clickable ingredient.)

The half that may be slightly trick about this icon pattern is meshing circles in all of the locations the place different shapes are used. App icons are typically sq.; social media profiles are round (and sq.).

When making a spherical icon, be sure that the content material of the icon design is straightforward to grasp at small sizes, since you should shrink it typically to suit in different locations.

Line Style Icon Design

icon design

Line type icons appear to be the pattern that by no means will get previous.

Part of the reason being that this icon type can work virtually wherever on any background kind. Many of the favored, downloadable icon packs typically embrace a line type design due to this versatility.

It’s straightforward to see this in the instance above. Each icon is straightforward to see and perceive at virtually any dimension.

Simple Elements and Representations

icon design

As with most different design developments in 2023, simplicity is a part of icon design as nicely. Simple shapes and geography mix to create virtually over simplistic representations for icons.

The result’s a fairly an suave design that makes customers look.

In the instance utilizing meals icons above, every icon makes use of the frequent thread of a circle in the icon. This might be the general form of the icon itself or part of the icon design. This form connects every icon to 1 one other in the mission.

Icons with Gradients

icon design

The gradient shade pattern that has turn out to be one of many dominant themes of 2019 is an element in icon design as nicely. From easy gradients in line strokes (akin to the instance above) to full gradient coloring to white icons on a gradient background, this shade scheme is well-liked.

That is perhaps what’s so interesting about using gradients in icons (and general) – there are such a lot of other ways to make use of the pattern. You can add a gradient and nonetheless not have a mission that appears similar to one thing else.

Focus on Simple Coloring

icon design

Icon designers are taking the other method with shade as nicely and sticking to easy, extra restricted, extra primary shade palettes for these small design parts.

Using a restricted palette is a good thought. With a design that’s so small, an excessive amount of shade or element can overwhelm the house shortly and trigger pressure on the attention.

You don’t need customers to have to consider what the icon is or what shade means. Limiting the quantity of element – together with elaborate coloring – could make every particular person icon slightly simpler to see and perceive. This is most vital with icons that might be used on the smallest sizes.

Everything App Style

icon design

One of the explanations that icons have grown in recognition a lot is that we’re already designing them for nearly every thing. From app icons to app-style icons for favicons or desktop icons, this type is virtually in all places.

App-style icons have a definite type virtually of their very own. This contains:

  • Square in form
  • Rounded edges
  • Colored background (often one shade)
  • Simple form inside icon
  • Plenty of distinction between icon and background shade
  • No textual content or lettering

Thick, Uniform Strokes

icon design

Not solely are line-style icons well-liked, however icons with thick line strokes are particularly well-liked.

Designed typically for single-color purposes, these icons are often used in white or black on high of shade or picture backgrounds.

Icons with thick, uniform strokes are most often used on their very own, akin to a cart icon or contact icon. They aren’t typically used in a set of icons.

icon design

While a lot of the laborious give attention to flat design has evaporated, icon design remains to be fairly flat (or not less than virtually flat).

This is probably going because of the super-simple nature of flat design and the concept that this look can combine with numerous different kinds pretty simply.

Even among the icon design examples and developments featured right here, you’ll see that lots of them are flat. (Line type icons are virtually all the time flat, for instance.)

Emoji Icons

icon design

Emojis have virtually turn out to be their very own language – a extra visible type of communication that’s getting extra usually accepted on a regular basis.

Icons design can be taking over an emoji-esque aptitude. These icons are identifiable due to a give attention to the pinnacle form of an individual or creature. (The Star Wars-inspired emoji icons above are an ideal instance of easy methods to have enjoyable with icon design.)

This type of the icon might work nice for a contact web page or for representing folks or personas in a design.

How to Design a Better Icon

Crafting a superb icon or set of icons is extra than simply hopping on to among the newest developments in icon design. Because of the small dimension of icons, consideration to element and precision are an vital a part of the design course of.

Simple guidelines nonetheless maintain true for icon design in 2019. Pair these tips with among the trending concepts above to create one thing you’ll love:

  • Start with a grid
  • Build with geometry
  • Create a singular form
  • Give icons loads of room
  • Stick to your model colours
  • Use constant divots
  • Design for the smallest dimension you want
  • Don’t embellish
  • Icon Design Guidelines

    icon design

    A great way to maintain up with what’s “in” is by graphics requirements and magnificence guides. Each time Apple or Google modifications their method so does everybody else. Partially as a result of they need to and partially as a result of the brand new type is usually reflective of the instances and developments in icon design.

    You can discover tips right here:


    Icons are a helpful design instrument. From use as app icons to web site marks or favicons to divots that can be utilized in a brand or all through a design mission, the icon is a mark that’s right here to remain.

    Approach icon design in the identical method you’ll virtually some other mission, however actually take into consideration simplicity and dimension. Icons are made to take a look at shortly and are sometimes small. This can have an ideal affect on the design.