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Producing Standard Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps

When developing Android apps or designing graphics for mobile apps, it is essential to conform to srict guidelines. Re-using icons designed for other 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 Description: When designing Android apps or designing graphics for mobile apps, it is essential to follow certain guidelines. Using graphics designed for other operating systems, especially desktop-based, is not a good idea. Foreign graphics will look out of place at best, or will render your Android apps hardly recognizable at worst. Body: There exist strict guidelines available for designing standard-compliant Android icons. Different design guidelines are published for tab icons and menu images.

Android Icons for Navigation Toolbars

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

Android OS and Android apps can run on a wide range of hardware platforms using a wide range of hardware. In reference 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 provide 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 resolutions are defined as 24x24, 32x32, and 48x48 pixels. Inner dimensions 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 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, greyscale images. Just as tab icons, developers should not use 3D or isometric projections.

Pixel sizes for menu icons are described in a slightly more complex way as opposed to 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 larger depending on their shape. If a menu icon is square-shaped, its resolution 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 should be 22x22 pixels, while non-square icons should fit into a boundary box sized 24x24 dots. Similarly, mdpi icons should fit 30x30 and 32x32 pixel boundaries, while high-definition images should fit into 44x44 and 48x48 pixel boxes respectively.

Instead of designing your own icons conforming to these guidelines, Android developers have an option of obtaining stock icons from professional designers. As an example, Android Tab Icons by Aha-Soft include 112 unique tab images in both states and all standard resolutions. Should additional resolutions be required, developers can produce icons at any size 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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