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Producing Standard Tab and Menu Icons for Android
When designing mobile apps or drawing graphics for Android apps, one must follow srict guidelines. Using icons made for different systems, especially desktop-based, is generally not a good idea. Foreign images will look out of place at best, or will make your Android apps appear hardly recognizable at worst.
Producing Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps
When developing mobile apps or drawing graphics for Android apps, one must conform to srict guidelines. Using graphics designed for different operating systems, especially desktop-based, is generally not a good idea. Foreign icons will look out of place at best, or will make your Android apps hardly recognizable at worst.
There are precise guidelines published in reference to Android icons. Different design guidelines are available for tab icons and menu graphics.
Tab icons are drawn in individual tabs in tabbed UI. Tab icons must be provided in two different states: selected and unselected. It is required that tab icons are designed as simple, flat shapes as opposed to icons shown in 3D or isometric projection.
Android OS and Android apps can run on a variety of hardware platforms using a wide range of hardware. In connection to icon graphics, those devices can have different display sizes, display resolutions, pixel dimensions and density. To accommodate the variety of screens, Android developers must supply all tab icons used in their apps in at least three resolutions to be shown on low, medium, and high density displays. Resolution-wise, the outer boundaries for the three resolutions are defined as 24x24, 32x32, and 48x48 pixels. The size of the shape itself should not exceed 22x22, 28x28, and 42x42 pixels respectively. By supplying all three standard sizes, designers can ensure that their apps will be shown properly on a variety of devices running the Android OS.
Menu icons are drawn in the "options" menu, and are shown to users when they press the Menu button. Similar to tab icons, menu icons are specified as flat, grayscale images. Like tab icons, developers cannot use 3D or isometric projections.
Screen sizes for menu icons are defined in a slightly more comprehensive way compared to tab icons. Instead of just two sizes described for tab graphics (inner shape and boundary box), the inner shape of menu icons can be smaller or larger depending on their shape. If a menu icon is square-shaped, its size should be smaller than for icons shaped otherwise. The reason for having two different sizes is to establish a consistent visual size across the two icon types.
The outer dimensions for ldpi, mdpi and hdpi icons are defined as 36x36, 48x48, and 72x72 pixels respectively. Inner shapes for square, low-definition icons should be 22x22 pixels, while non-square icons should fit into a boundary box sized 24x24 pixels. Similarly, mdpi icons should fit 30x30 and 32x32 pixel boundaries, while high-definition images should fit into 44x44 and 48x48 pixel boundaries respectively.
Instead of designing your own images matching these guidelines, Android developers have an option of obtaining ready-made icons from professional designers. As an example, Android Tab Icons by Aha-Soft offer 112 unique tab icons in selected and unselected states and all standard resolutions. Should additional resolutions be required, developers can render icons at any size by opening scalable vector sources. Android Tab Icons can be viewed and downloaded at http://www.aha-soft.com/stock-icons/android-tab-icons.htm.
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