Style Icons

Icons

Product icons Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

Product icons are the visual expression of a brand’s products, services, and tools. Simple, bold, and friendly, they communicate the core idea and intent of a product. While each product icon is visually distinct, all product icons for a given brand should be unified through concept and execution.

Product icons are an essential vehicle for communicating your brand. Using these guidelines as a starting point, make sure your product icon colors and other key elements reflect your brand identity.

Design approach

Product icon design is inspired by the tactile and physical quality of material. Each icon is cut, folded, and lit as paper would be, but represented by simple graphic elements. The quality of the material is sturdy, with clean folds and crisp edges. The matte-like finish interacts with light through subtle highlights and consistent shadows.

Physical prototype

Lighting study

Material prototype

Color study

Product icon grid

The product icon grid has been developed to facilitate consistency and establish a clear set of rules for the positioning of graphic elements. This standardization results in a flexible but coherent system.

Grid

Keylines

Keyline shapes

Keyline shapes are the foundation of the grid. By using these core shapes as guidelines, you can maintain a consistent visual proportion across related product icons.

Square

Height: 152dp
Width: 152dp

Circle

Diameter: 176dp

Vertical rectangle

Height: 176dp
Width: 128dp

Horizontal rectangle

Height:128dp
Width:176dp

DP unit grid

Android expects product icons to be provided at 48dp, with edges at 1dp. When you create the icon, maintain the 48-unit measure, but scale it to 400% at 192 x 192 dp (the edge becomes 4dp).

Any scaling done to the original will scale the image up or down proportionally. By maintaining the unit ratio, you preserve sharp edges and correct alignment when the scale is reduced.

1:1 Unit grid

4:1 Unit grid

Geometry

Preset standards have been determined for specific keylines: circle, square, rectangle, orthogonals, and diagonals. This small palette of universal and simple elements has been developed to unify product icons and systemize their placement on the grid.

Product icon anatomy

Product icon anatomy describes the graphic elements that make up a product icon. The consistency of these elements across icons for a given brand is critical in maintaining a shared visual language. Familiarity with these elements makes it easier to understand characteristics of each logo and subtle differences between them. It will also help educate your eye to recognize the underlying structure of logo designs.

1. Finish
2. Material background
3. Material foreground
4. Color
5. Shadow

Components

Each component is positioned on top of the previous one, always viewed from straight above.

Construction perspective

An exploded perspective example illustrating the context of each component of the logo construction.

Material background

The back-most material element.

Material foreground

A material element raised above, and casting a shadow upon, the material background.

Spot color

Color applied to a small portion of an element.

Flooding

Color applied to an entire element, edge-to-edge.

Tinted edge

The top edge of a material element. A tint is the mixture of a color with white, which lightens the original color.

Shaded edge

The bottom edge of a material element. Shade is the mixture of a color with a darker hue, which darkens the original color.

Contact shadow

A soft shadow around all edges of a raised material element.

Finish

A soft tint above all elements to provide surface lighting, fading from upper-left to lower-right.

Product icon metrics

Lighting

Within the material environment, virtual lights illuminate the scene and allow objects to cast shadows. A top light cast on material elements creates a contact shadow while highlighting the top and bottom edges. An angled light reinforces the sense of surface across the elements.

Top

45º angle

Shadows

For a product icon, the top light from above casts a soft shadow surrounding an element lightly on the top and left. The shadow is slightly heavier below and to the right. This shadow is always contained within the icon’s silhouette.

Drop shadow metrics

Mode: Normal
Opacity: 20%
X Offset: 0dp
Y Offset: 4dp
Blur: 4dp
Color: Refer to Tint, shade and shadow values

Edge tint and shade

The top and bottom edges of material elements provide a sense of depth and surface. Material elements have a standard 1dp thickness. All edge distances are measured from an element's interior edge.

Tint highlights the top edge of all elements. The left, right, and bottom edges do not have a tint applied.

Shade darkens the bottom edge of all elements. The left, right, and top edges do not have a shade applied.

Tinted edge

Height: 1dp
Opacity: 20%
Color: White (#FFFFFF)

Shaded edge

Height: 1dp
Opacity: 20%
Color: Refer to Tint, shade and shadow values

Finish

The finish layer is a result of the virtual 45º light source. It extends from the top-left corner to the exterior edge of the icon’s silhouette. The finish is always contained within these boundaries.

Gradient metrics

Type: Radial
Angle: 45º
Color: White (#FFFFFF)
Midpoint Location: 33%

Slider 1
Opacity: 10%
Location: 0%

Slider 2
Opacity: 0%
Location: 100%

Tint, shade, and shadow values

Each color reacts differently when tints and shades are added. The color of every edge tint, edge shade, and shadow needs to be adjusted for each color that lies behind it. To ensure color harmony, follow the appropriate value for each.

Product icon patterns

Influenced by the behavior of physical material, simple conventions provide a sense of surface and tactility. The interactions of material and color allow for numerous unique compositions.

Color

Color elements are flush to the paper’s surface.

Don’t embellish color elements with any edges or shadows.

Do.
Don't.

Layer

Layered paper elements create depth, having edges and shadows.

Be cautious with the quantity of overlapping surfaces. Having too many complicates the icon and lacks focus.

Do.
Don't.

Elevate

Elevating a key material element atop a simple background silhouette focuses attention to the center.

Don’t crop elevated material elements within another shape.

Do.

Score

Scored material elements have the illusion of depth without losing their geometric form. Scores should be centered on symmetrical shapes.

Don’t use multiple scores, or position a score off-center.

Do.
Don't.

Fold

Folded material elements are skewed, having greater dimension. Spot colors should be avoided, so as to avoid altering or misrepresenting key elements.

Do.
Don't.

Overlap

Overlapped material elements create unique silhouettes. All elements, edges, and shadows are confined to the interior of the silhouette.

Don’t exceed more than two overlaps. Having too many complicates the icon and lacks focus.

Do.
Don't.

Accordion

Accordion folded material elements are adjoined by a connecting fold, used to add dimension to a single material element.

Don’t exceed more than two accordion folds. Having too many complicates the icon and lacks focus.

Do.
Don't.

Distort

Product icons should never be distorted or transformed. Elements should remain in their geometric form, and not be skewed, rotated, bowed, warped, or bent.

Don't.
Don't.

Human iconography

The below guidelines and examples illustrate best practices for incorporating human iconography into your UI.

Form

Construction

Keyline alignment

Keyline shapes

Square

Circle

Vertical rectangle

Horizontal rectangle

Paper vs color

Paper

Color

Gestures

Construction

Composition

Human icon rules

Do.

Do use simple shapes for background silhouettes.

Don't.

Don’t use complicated shapes for background silhouettes.

Do.

Do use the correct and consistent human form at all times.

Don't.

Don’t use an incorrect human form or add complex details.

Do.

Do use curved and straight edges for visual balance.

Don't.

Don’t use circular arm terminals nor cropped arms.

System icons Expand and collapse content An arrow that points down when collapsed and points up when expanded.

A system icon, or UI icon, symbolizes a command, file, device, or directory. System icons are also used to represent common actions like trash, print, and save.

The design of system icons is simple, modern, friendly, and sometimes quirky. Each icon is reduced to its minimal form, with every idea edited to its essence. The designs ensure readability and clarity even at small sizes.

Design principles

Shapes are bold and geometric.

Symmetry and consistency of shapes give the icons a unique quality, while keeping them simple and bold.

Simple

Intuitive

Actionable

Consistent

Grid, proportion, and size

DP unit grid

System icons are displayed at 24dp. When creating icons, it’s important to design at 100% scale for pixel-accuracy, while zooming in for precision.

100% scale

800% scale

Icon grid

The icon grid has been developed to facilitate consistency and establish a clear set of rules for the positioning of graphic elements. This standardization results in a flexible but coherent system.

Grid

Keylines

Content area

The content of an icon should remain inside of the live area. Content should only extend into the trim area if additional visual weight is needed. Do not place any part of the icon outside of the trim area.

Live area

Trim area

Keyline shapes

Keyline shapes are the foundation of the grid. By using these core shapes as guidelines, you can maintain a consistent visual proportion throughout the system icons.

Square

Height: 18dp
Width: 18dp

Circle

Diameter: 20dp

Vertical rectangle

Height: 20dp
Width: 16dp

Horizontal rectangle

Height: 16dp
Width: 20dp

Geometry

Preset standards have been determined for specific keylines: circle, square, rectangle, orthogonals, and diagonals. This small palette of universal and simple elements has been developed to unify Google system icons and systemize their placement on the icon grid.

Construction

Composition

System icon anatomy

1. Stroke terminal
2. Corner
3. Counter area
4. Stroke
5. Counter stroke
6. Bounding area

Corners

Consistent corner radiuses are key to unifying the overall system icon family. A 2dp corner radius is used on the silhouette form of the icon. Do not round the corners of strokes (shapes 2dp wide or less).

Interior corners should be square. Do not round the corners of interior shapes.

Exterior corners

Interior corners

Strokes

Consistent stroke weights are key to unifying the overall system icon family. Maintain a 2dp width for all stroke instances, including curves, angles, and both interior and exterior strokes.

Consistency

Curves and angles

Stroke terminal

Counter stroke

Optical corrections

Extreme scenarios that call for subtle tweaks add to the legibility of an icon. Instances where complex details are unavoidable require adjusting metrics.

If optical corrections are necessary, only use the consistent geometric forms on which all other icons are based. Don’t skew or distort the forms.

Complex

Small scale

Clearance

Adequate space around the icon is needed to allow for legibility and touch.

Clearance area

Placement

Best practices

Consistency aids user comprehension of icons. Use the existing system icons whenever possible and across different applications.

Do.

Do use consistent stroke weights and squared stroke terminals.

Don't.

Don’t use inconsistent stroke weights or rounded stroke terminals.

Do.

Do make icons appear front-facing and sturdy.

Don't.

Don’t tilt, rotate, or make icons appear dimensional.

Do.

Do simplify icons for greater clarity and legibility.

Don't.

Don’t be overly literal. Avoid complex icons.

Do.

Do make icons graphic and bold.

Don't.

Don’t use delicate, thin stroke weights.

Do.

Do use geometric, consistent shapes.

Don't.

Don’t use gestural or loose organic shapes.

Do.

Do position icons “on pixel”—meaning the X and Y coordinates are integers and do not contain decimals.

Icons should have equal width and height (e.g. 24x24) to avoid distorting the icon.

Don't.

Don’t place the icon on coordinate that is not “on pixel”.

Don’t distort the icon by having unequal width and height values.

Human iconography

Human icon anatomy

1. Head
2. Neck
3. Upper body
4. Arm
5. Leg

Full body
Upper body

Form

Full body example
Upper body example
Cropped example
Detailed parts example

Full body

Full body examples
Visual Alignment

Upper body

Upper body examples
Visual Alignment

Contained

Cropped examples

Detailed parts

Detailed part examples

Human icon rules

Do.

Do use consistent stroke weights and squared arm/leg terminals.

Don't.

Don’t use inconsistent stroke weights nor rounded arms/legs.

Do.

Do align elements to simplify silhouette for clarity.

Don't.

Don’t crop portions of arms/legs.

Do.

Do fully embed elements within a shape when contained.

Don't.

Don’t break the container’s boundary with elements.

Do.

Do add human elements when they help amplify the meaning of an icon.

Don't.

Don’t add human elements when they increase the complexity of an icon.

Do.

Do use the most simple shapes to represent human characteristics.

Don't.

Don’t apply human characteristics to inanimate objects.

Color

The standard opacity for an active icon on a light background is 54% (#000000). An inactive icon, which is lower in the visual hierarchy, should have an opacity of 26% (#000000).

The standard opacity for an active icon on a dark background is 100% (#FFFFFF). An inactive icon, which is lower in the visual hierarchy, should have an opacity of 30% (#FFFFFF).