Designing Icons for Windows Vista and Windows 7 Projects

Producing software or developing an online project? Ensure your project looks current and contemporary by checking the icons used against current standards. This article explains the newest trends in designing contemporary, good-looking icons for your off-line and Web projects.

With every new release of Windows, Microsoft refreshes guidelines for icon designers. If you want your product look consistent with the newest version of Windows, it is important to read and understand the guidelines.

Not going much into technical details, Microsoft points out that Vista-style graphics differ from previously used XP-style images in several ways. The style of the new icons becomes more realistic than cartoon-line XP icons, but still remains symbolic without becoming photorealistic. Microsoft also extends the icon format by defining the maximum size of the icons to PNG-compressed 256×256 pixel images, effectively ensuring that programs look detailed on modern high resolution displays. Finally, Microsoft recommends that toolbar icons are optimized for smaller sizes, and advises that toolbar images bear enough visual distinctiveness even in their lowest sizes. Toolbar graphics in Windows Vista have no extra details such as shadows, and are front-faced with no perspective.

Well-designed and carefully thought of images enhance the appearance of your software, making them more consistent with Windows and third-party software installed on the user’s PC. Great graphics improve usability and efficiency of products, making it simpler to learn and more intuitive through better communication of ideas through symbols. Good graphics make buttons and actions simpler to learn and to use day by day.

Vista Toolbar Icons

Vista Toolbar Icons are a set of ready-made application and toolbar icon images designed in the new Windows Vista/7 style. Strictly adhering to the latest guidelines, the graphics share common style, colors and gamma, and come in all standard resolutions, including the recently added 256×256 True Color format with semi-transparency. Vista Toolbar Icons can be used in programs designed for Windows Vista, as application or toolbar icons, on Web sites and on-line portals. Simply visit 777 icons to access full-size previews of Vista Toolbar Icons.

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