Iconography Branch of Art History

Iconography – Branch of Art History

Iconography is everywhere. Everyday, we see icons around us. However, we hardly notice or give a thought to it but have you ever considered a world without icons? What would it be like? Hard to imagine, right! It is because we are so surrounded by icons that actually help in our daily life tasks. Drinking water sign, restroom icon, food and many more icons that we see everyday. However let’s understand the origin of the word- derived from Greek words ikon (meaning image) & graphe (meaning writing). Ikongraphe– meaning image- writing. An icon is a pictorial representation, a graphical image that represents an object, a particular function, or a sign whose form suggests its meaning. 

Iconography is basically a visual language without words. An icon is an illustration used to help users navigate through various digital products in which graphic designers are involved. Besides saving space, these tiny symbols assist users in establishing visual muscle memory and are instantly recognizable. Iconography can seem to be simple but it’s. It carries principles & types. Let’s dive into principles to understand iconography. 

The basic design principles of iconography

Before designing icons, one has to understand the principles, where the icons are used. 

Clarity: An icon should clearly communicate a concept. You only increase cognitive load if it’s ambiguous and users spend too much time figuring out the icon’s purpose. 

Readability: To increase the readability of an icon, leave enough space between label and the icon. No fine lines or decorative words. 

Alignment: The most important in icon design is the alignment. Right adjustment of the icon will impact the viewer more. 

Brevity: Brevity means to showcase a simpler concept for easy understanding of icon 

Consistency: Height, stroke, colors everything should be balanced.

Personality: Personality of icon depends on where the icon will be used. In hospitals, bus stands, airports, school or somewhere else. 

Ease of use: More than the design, one should clearly understand the ease of use of the icon. There are many places where icons are used, the size is well-documented, and tested before the implementation.

To Wrap

Icons are an essential part of design. Without icons, many things will be more complex to understand and as for designers, without using icons, more space will be used for small things. For example communicating if the edible product is non veg or veg or has egg in it. These can be communicated with icons  we usually see on the packaging. hence , iconography seems to be small and simple but is very important to the world. 

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