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Making Standard Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps

When designing Android apps or drawing graphics for Android apps, it is essential to conform to certain guidelines. Using images made for other operating systems, especially desktop-based, is not a good idea. Foreign images will look weird at best, or will render your Android apps appear hardly recognizable at worst.

Making Tab and Menu Icons for Android Description: When developing mobile apps or designing graphics for mobile apps, it is essential to follow certain guidelines. Re-using images made for other operating systems, especially desktop-based, is not a good idea. Foreign images will look weird at best, or will make your Android apps appear 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 icons.

Android Icons for Navigation Toolbars

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

Android OS and Android apps can run on a variety of different platforms employing a wide range of hardware. In connection to icon graphics, those devices can have different screen sizes, screen resolutions, pixel dimensions and density. To accommodate the variety 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 screens. Pixel-wise, the outer boundaries for the three resolutions are defined as 24x24, 32x32, and 48x48 pixels. Inner dimensions should not exceed 22x22, 28x28, and 42x42 pixels respectively. By supplying all three standard sizes, developers 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 cannot use 3D or isometric projections.

Screen sizes for menu icons are defined in a slightly more complex way compared to tab icons. Instead of just two resolutions defined 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 size limits 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 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 rectangles respectively.

Instead of designing your own graphics matching these guidelines, Android developers have an option of obtaining stock images from professional designers. For example, Android Tab Icons by Aha-Soft offer 112 unique tab graphics in selected and unselected states and all standard resolutions. If an additional size is needed, developers can render images at any resolution by opening 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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