Well-designed icons give your website a polished, seamless look. Icons can be used on your menu, for navigation buttons, and to distinguish your website in your user’s web browser, in the case of favicons. Since they are often quite basic in nature, designing seamless website icons doesn’t require a lot of artistic skill, just a clear vision and a little effort.
Match Your Icons to Your Site Design
To create a truly seamless website design, you’ll want your icons to match your website design in both color and style. After you’ve got web hosting and have drawn up your basic sketch or idea of what your site will look like, all you need to do is hone in on a color scheme. Basic colors work well, but after choosing them you should look through variations on an HTML color chooser. Write down the HTML code that corresponds to all of your website’s colors and use these color codes when creating your icons for maximum design unity.
Matching the design style of your icons to your website can be a bit trickier, but will guarantee your website looks seamless. The best place to start is to use the same font you’ve used for your website’s logo, menu and other elements. Next, look at the borders of your website design elements, are they beveled, square or rounded? Use the same border type wherever possible for an instantly matching icon set.
Create an Icon Set
Determine how many icons your website will need before creating them. This way you can make an entire icon set for use throughout your site, without having to return to your graphic design program and lose any momentum later on.
Favicons are the familiar 16 x 16 or 32 x 32 pixel logos found in the browser tab while your website is open. The extremely limited resolution of these icons should be seen as a friendly challenge and opportunity for creativity, rather than an obstacle. You can upload your favicon to your web hosting package manually using the file manager. Make sure to delete or rename the existing favicon.ico file if one is present, to avoid errors while uploading.
Making Website Icons with Photoshop
The most popular program for creating web graphics and icons is Adobe Photoshop. To create seamless website icons in Photoshop simply open a new project using the dimensions of your icons. Favicon’s canvas size should be 32 x 32 pixels whereas navigation and menu icons should start out at 50 x 50 pixels. Either can be scaled down later without loss of quality using the Vector option in Photoshop. Choose the border type and create the background for your icon. The bubble and shape tools work well for this.
After create the background border for your icon, fill the background and foreground with your desired colors. If you don’t know the HTML color codes you can always screenshot your website and use the dropper-shaped color selector in Photoshop.
Save your file so that it can be reused on all similar icons in your new icon set. When choosing the file type consider compatibility and compression. PNG file types work well for web icons in general because they are compressed to load fast without losing quality. For places where icon files will be needed, such as favicons, simply save your project as a .ico file.
Select the font from your website or draw your chosen graphic on the newly saved canvas. Repeat for each icon in your set. Favicons may look pixelated when you’re working on them due to the small area their confined to, so zoom out to 100 percent view to see how it will look on your website.
Other ways to Make Seamless Website Icons
Of course there are online programs for making website icons as well. These include GIMP, Illustrator, and even Microsoft Paint. Icons aren’t usually very elaborate so even the most basic design program can produce quality buttons for your site. The process is the same for each program, just make sure to set the correct canvas size and save the project as your desired file type when finished.
Another great idea for creating seamless website icons is to download an existing icon set and modify the files to suit your needs. You can change the color and text on existing icons by opening them in Photoshop. Remember to save them using the original file type for continued compatibility.
Designing your website icons from scratch in Photoshop or other graphic design programs can be rewarding. There’s no better way to ensure that your icons are seamlessly integrated into your website’s design than to customize them from the beginning, yourself. Designing a good icon set for your website will bring unity to your overall web design efforts and give your site a professional, clean look.