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Producing Standard Tab and Menu Icons for Android

When designing Android apps or designing graphics for Android apps, one must follow srict guidelines. Re-using icons designed for other systems, especially desktop-based, is not a good idea. Foreign icons will look out of place at best, or will make your Android apps hardly recognizable at worst.

Making Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps Description: When developing Android apps or designing graphics for mobile apps, one must conform to srict guidelines. Re-using graphics designed for other systems, especially desktop-based, is not a good idea. Foreign graphics will look out of place at best, or will make your Android apps appear hardly recognizable at worst. Body: There exist strict guidelines published for designing standard-compliant Android icons. Different design guidelines are published for tab icons and menu graphics.

Android Icons for Navigation Tab Bars

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

Android OS and Android apps are used on a variety of different platforms employing a wide range of hardware. In connection to icon graphics, those platforms can have different display 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 displayed 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 resolutions, designers can ensure that their apps will display properly on a variety of platforms running the Android OS.

Menu icons are drawn in the "options" menu, and are displayed to users when they press the Menu button. Similar to tab icons, menu icons should be flat, grayscale images. Just as tab icons, developers should not use 3D or isometric projections.

Screen resolutions for menu icons are defined in a slightly more complex way as opposed to to tab icons. Instead of two resolutions described for tab graphics (inner shape and boundary box), the inner shape of menu icons can be smaller or bigger 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 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 boxes, 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 obtaining stock images from professional designers. As an example, Android Tab Icons by Aha-Soft include 112 unique tab images in selected and unselected states and all three standard resolutions. If an additional size is needed, developers can render graphics 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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