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Producing Tab and Menu Icons for Android

When developing mobile apps or drawing graphics for Android apps, one must conform to srict guidelines. Using icons designed for different operating systems, especially desktop-based, is not a good idea. Foreign images will look weird at best, or will make your Android apps hardly recognizable at worst.

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

Android Icons for Navigation Bars

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

Android OS and Android apps are used on a multitude of different platforms employing a wide range of hardware. In reference to icon graphics, those devices can have different display sizes, display resolutions, pixel density and dimensions. To accommodate the wide range of displays, Android developers should provide 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. The size of the shape itself should not exceed 22x22, 28x28, and 42x42 pixels respectively. By including all three standard resolutions, designers can ensure that their apps will be shown properly on a wide range of devices running the Android OS.

Menu icons are displayed 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 sizes for menu icons are described in a slightly more complex way as opposed to to tab icons. Instead of just two sizes described for tab icons (inner shape and boundary box), the inner shape of menu icons can be smaller or bigger depending on whether they are square-shaped or not. If a menu icon is square-shaped, its size should be smaller than for icons with different shapes. The reason for specifying two different sizes is to establish a consistent visual size across the two icon types.

The outer dimensions for low, medium, and high resolution icons are defined as 36x36, 48x48, and 72x72 pixels respectively. Inner shapes for square, low-definition icons is 22x22 pixels, while non-square icons should fit into a boundary box sized 24x24 dots. Similarly, medium-definition icons should fit 30x30 and 32x32 pixel boundaries, while high-definition images should fit into 44x44 and 48x48 pixel boxes respectively.

Instead of drawing your own graphics conforming to these guidelines, Android developers have an option of getting stock icons from professional designers. As an example, Android Tab Icons by Aha-Soft include 112 unique tab images in both states and all three standard resolutions. If an additional size is needed, developers can produce graphics at any size by accessing scalable vector sources. Android Tab Icons can be previewed and downloaded at http://www.aha-soft.com/stock-icons/android-tab-icons.htm.

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