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Making Standard Tab and Menu Icons for Android

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

Making Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps Description: When designing Android apps or drawing graphics for mobile apps, it is essential to conform to certain guidelines. Re-using graphics made for other systems, especially desktop-based, is not a good idea. Foreign graphics will look weird at best, or will render your Android apps hardly recognizable at worst. Body: There are strict guidelines available for designing standard-compliant Android icons. Different design guidelines are published for tab icons and menu icons.

Android Icons for Navigation Bars

Tab icons represent individual tabs in tabbed interface. Tab icons must be provided in two different states: unselected and selected. It is recommended that tab icons are designed as simple, flat shapes as opposed to graphics 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 images, those devices 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. Pixel-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 supplying all three standard resolutions, designers 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 users when they press the Menu button. Similar to tab icons, menu icons should be flat, grayscale images. Like tab icons, developers should not use 3D or isometric projections.

Screen resolutions for menu icons are defined in a slightly more comprehensive way compared 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 larger depending on whether they are square-shaped or not. If a menu icon is square-shaped, its resolution should be smaller than for icons with different shapes. The reason for specifying two different size limits is to establish a consistent visual weight 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 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 designing your own icons matching these guidelines, Android developers have an option of ordering stock graphics from professional designers. For example, Android Tab Icons by Aha-Soft include 112 unique tab icons in both states and all standard sizes. Should additional resolutions be required, developers can render icons at any resolution 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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