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Producing Standard Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps

When developing mobile apps or designing graphics for Android apps, one must conform to certain guidelines. Re-using graphics made for other systems, especially desktop-based, is not a good idea. Foreign images will look out of place at best, or will render your Android apps hardly recognizable at worst.

Making Standard Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps Description: When developing Android apps or designing graphics for mobile apps, one must conform to certain guidelines. Using graphics designed for different operating systems, especially desktop-based, is generally not a good idea. Foreign graphics will look weird at best, or will render your Android apps appear hardly recognizable at worst. Body: There are strict guidelines available in reference to Android icons. Different design guidelines are available for tab icons and menu images.

Android Icons for Navigation Toolbars

Tab icons are drawn in individual tabs in tabbed interface. Tab icons should be provided in two distinct states: unselected and selected. It is recommended that tab icons are created as simple, flat shapes as opposed to images shown in 3D or isometric projection.

Android OS and Android apps are used on a wide range of hardware platforms employing a wide range of hardware. In connection to icon images, those devices can have different screen sizes, display resolutions, pixel dimensions and density. To accommodate the variety of displays, Android developers should supply all tab icons used in their apps in at least three resolutions to be drawn on low, medium, and high density displays. Resolution-wise, the outer boundaries for the three sizes are defined as 24x24, 32x32, and 48x48 pixels. Inner dimensions should not exceed 22x22, 28x28, and 42x42 pixels respectively. By providing all three standard resolutions, developers can ensure that their apps will be shown properly on a variety of platforms running the Android OS.

Menu icons are used in the "options" menu, and are displayed to the user when they press the Menu button. Similar to tab icons, menu icons are specified as flat, grayscale images. Just as tab icons, developers cannot use 3D or isometric projections.

Screen sizes for menu icons are defined in a slightly more comprehensive way as opposed to to tab icons. Instead of two resolutions described for tab icons (inner shape and boundary box), the inner shape of menu icons can be smaller or larger depending on whether they are square-shaped or not. If a menu icon is square-shaped, its dimensions should be smaller than for icons shaped otherwise. The reason for specifying 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 described 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, medium-definition icons should fit 30x30 and 32x32 pixel boundaries, while high-definition images should fit into 44x44 and 48x48 pixel boundaries respectively.

Instead of drawing your own graphics conforming to these guidelines, Android developers have an option of ordering ready-made icons from professional designers. For example, Android Tab Icons by Aha-Soft include 112 unique tab icons in both states and all three standard resolutions. If an additional size is needed, developers can render images at any resolution by accessing 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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