Use the right icons for web design with Cacoo’s new icon finder

Icons play an essential part in digital design. Initially, icons were graphical elements mainly used to break down text-heavy designs or express important directions and messages in a universal way. Now, after years of consistent use, many icons are instantly recognizable carriers of meaning that can easily replace words.

Using icons for web design to express the right message is an art. When it comes to choosing icons, you want your audience to easily understand what the icon is going to do for them. This means making sure the features of your icon are easily scannable and the image makes sense for its function or concept.

When it comes to creating a useful design tool for designers, that means creating a helpful icon finder that gives you exactly what you need and makes it simple to apply to your designs. That’s why we are introducing our new icon finder for Cacoo.

Choosing the right icons for web design

Used in the right context, icons can capture a familiar emotion your audience will immediately understand. For example, the heart icon is used internationally to express love and appreciation. It’s just a shape, but adding it to a menu, feature, or graphic immediately lets users know that the content must be related to expressing care.

It’s important to choose icons that aren’t just relevant but have a history of being used in a particular context.

Let’s say you were to use the image of a magnifying glass for a search feature. Users would instantly know they could use that area of the site to search for a specific topic or item. But what if you used a keyboard instead of a magnifying glass? While we may be able to understand what you meant in retrospect, it would likely create at least momentary confusion for your audience. And what if you were to use binoculars instead of a magnifying glass? Binoculars do suggest looking for something, but the magnifying glass is so widely used that it has become the default visual expression of search. Replacing it with something else isn’t necessarily bad design/UX, but it requires the user to do more mental work to understand. If you are going to challenge your user’s speed of understanding, you should do so sparingly and thoughtfully.

With Cacoo’s vast library of icons, you’ll be sure to find universally understood icons that enrich your user experience.

Designing standout icons

In both the digital and real world, icons have become essential to the user experience. They help guide people in various situations and make navigating a site or app easy with just a glance. 

But you may not realize beautifully designed icons can do much more than simply guide visitors. Over time and with the proper refinement, icons can become synonymous with a company’s brand. This should be the ultimate goal when brainstorming and developing icons.

Tips for standing out

Here are some tips for designing icons that stand out from the crowd.

Keep it simple

The simpler your icon, the easier it will be for users to decipher what it represents. A circle might seem like an obvious choice for representing a button, but try experimenting with different shapes before settling on your final design.

Use real images whenever possible

Don’t just draw something from scratch. Find an image that conveys what your icon represents and use it as inspiration for your design.

Give each icon a personality

Every icon deserves a unique style so that users can easily identify which one they need without having to read any text labels.

Use collaborative tools

With Cacoo, you can try out multiple icon styles to ensure that your icon choices fit your brand guidelines while communicating the right information. With in-app chat and video calls, you can brainstorm and discuss design decisions with your team right in your diagram. And you can easily share iterations with stakeholders for feedback with a link.

Using the new icon finder in Cacoo

Properly using icons for web design is like giving users an immediate cheat sheet to navigating your site: they will visually skim to find things faster, understand the meaning or function immediately, and cut down on the mental load they need to complete tasks; all great things for a positive user experience. 

Cacoo’s icon finder will help you choose the right icon, adjust it to express exactly what you need, place it in the right spot in the customer journey, and design it to fit your brand aesthetic.

Just navigate the side menu and choose the new icon finder today to start.

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