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According to the dictionary, an icon is just a pictorial representation of something.
by Andy Attiliis
However, for those who are asked to find or create designs that will take the place of words, the search can be daunting. The reason being that true icons are objects that can be seen, but not all words or word combinations are so qualified. Which means the temptation to include so-called icons on Web pages for their ability to load quickly, or on traditional pages because they're readily available, can be less than fruitful. Seldom do all members of a group, such as might be suggested for a family of Web links, entirely satisfy the individual requirement of having an image that can fully transmit its own meaning. Here's how it sometimes goes: apple, pear, banana, peach (ok,so far) and vegetable. Can't draw "vegetable", so let's add a word, which generally means all of them will need words for the sake of consistency
A better approach is to recognize the pitfalls early in the process to ensure that icons, or maybe illustrated titles, really are the best solutions.
Andy Attiliis has served as art director for three advertising agencies. Since becoming an independent professional in 1981, he has been hired by nearly every type of business organization. With focused concentration on improving the continuity of a message’s concept and quality, he has often performed multiple creative functions on a single project. His additional experience as a creative director, designer, illustrator and writer have made him an extremely efficient single source art director/creative provider. The kinds of communications for which he has provided art direction range from ads to newsletters, brandings to Web sites.
Copyright 2001 Andy Attiliis. All rights reserved.