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Android Development
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Icon Design Guidelines

Creating a unified look and feel throughout a user interface adds value to your product. Streamlining the graphic style will also make the UI seem more professional to the user.

This document shows you how to create icons for various parts of your application’s user interface that fit the style set by the Android UI team. Following these guidelines will help you to create a polished and unified experience for the user.

To get started creating conforming icons more quickly, you can download the Android Icon Templates Pack. For more information, see Using the Android Icon Template Pack.

Launcher icon

A launcher icon is the graphic that represents your application on an Android device’s Home screen. It is a simplified 3D icon with a fixed perspective. The required perspective is shown in Figure 1.

Structure

  • The base of a launcher icon can face either the top view or the front view.
  • The majority of a launcher icon’s surface should be created using the launcher icon color palette. To add emphasis, use one or more bright accent colors to highlight specific characteristics.
  • All launcher icons must be created with rounded corners to make them look friendly and simple—as shown in Figure 2.
  • All dimensions specified are based on a 250x250 pixel artboard size in a vector graphics editor like Adobe Illustrator, where the icon fits within the artboard boundaries.
  • Final art must be scaled down and exported as a transparent 48x48 px PNG file using a raster image editor such as Adobe Photoshop.
  • Templates for creating launcher icons in Adobe Illustrator and Photoshop are available in the Icon Templates Pack.
A view of
launcher icon corners and perspective angles

Figure 1. Perspective angles for launcher icons (90° is vertical).

1.92°
2.92°
3.173°
4.171°
5.49°
6.171°
7.64°
8.97°
9.75°
10.93°
11.169°

Figure 2. Rounded corners for launcher icons.

Light, effects, and shadows

Launcher icons are simplified 3D icons using light and shadows for definition. A light source is placed slightly to the left in front of the icon, and therefore the shadow expands to the right and back.

A view of
light, effects, and shadows for launcher icons.

Figure 3. Light, effects, and shadows for launcher icons.

1.Edge highlight:white
2.Icon shadow:black | 20px blur
50% opacity | angle 67°
3.Front part:Use light gradient from color palette
4.Detail shadow:black | 10px blur
75% opacity
5. Side part:Use medium gradient from color palette

Launcher icon color palette

Color palette, white White
r 0 | g 0 | b 0
Used for highlights on edges.
Color palette, light gradient Light gradient
1:  r 0 | g 0 | b 0
2:  r 217 | g 217 | b 217
Used on the front (lit) part of the icon.
Color palette, medium gradien Medium gradient
1:  r 190 | g 190 | b 190
2:  r 115 | g 115 | b 115
Used on the side (shaded) part of the icon.
Color palette, dark gradient Dark gradient
1:  r 100 | g 100 | b 100
2:  r 25 | g 25 | b 25
Used on details and parts in the shade of the icon.
Color palette, black Black
r 255 | g 255 | b 255
Used as base color in shadows.

Step by step

  1. Create the basic shapes with a tool like Adobe Illustrator, using the angles described in Launcher icon: structure. The shapes and effects must fit within a 250x250 pixel artboard.
  2. Add depth to shapes by extruding them and create the rounded corners as described for the launcher icon structure.
  3. Add details and colors. Gradients should be treated as if there is a light source placed slightly to the left in front of the icon.
  4. Create the shadows with the correct angle and blur effect.
  5. Import the icon into a tool like Adobe Photoshop and scale to fit an image size of 48x48 px on a transparent background.
  6. Export the icon at 48x48 as a PNG file with transparency enabled.

Menu icons are graphical elements placed in the pop-up menu shown to users when they press the Menu button. They are drawn in a flat-front perspective. Elements in a menu icon must not be visualized in 3D or perspective.

Structure

  • In order to maintain consistency, all menu icons must use the same primary palette and the same effects. For more information, see the menu icon color palette.
  • Menu icons should include rounded corners, but only when logically appropriate. For example, in Figure 3 the logical place for rounded corners is the roof and not the rest of the building.
  • All dimensions specified on this page are based on a 48x48 pixel artboard size with a 6 pixel safeframe.
  • The menu icon effect (the outer glow) described in Light, effects, and shadows can overlap the 6px safeframe, but only when necessary. The base shape must always stay inside the safeframe.
  • Final art must be exported as a transparent PNG file.
  • Templates for creating menu icons in Adobe Photoshop are available in the Icon Templates Pack.
A view of menu
icon structure.

Figure 4. Safeframe and corner-rounding for menu icons. Icon size is 48x48.

Menu icons are flat and pictured face on. A slight deboss and some other effects, which are shown below, are used to create depth.

A view of light, effects, and shadows for launcher icons.

Figure 5. Light, effects, and shadows for launcher icons.

1.Front part:Use fill gradient from primary color palette
2.Inner shadow:black | 20 % opacity
angle 90° | distance 2px
size 2px
3.Outer glow:white | 55% opacity
spread 10% | size 3px
5.Inner bevel:depth 1% | direction down size 0px
angle 90° | altitude 10°
highlight white 70% opacity
shadow black 25% opacity
Color palette, white White
r 0 | g 0 | b 0
Used for outer glow and bevel highlight.
Color palette, medium gradient Fill gradient
1:  r 163 | g 163 | b 163
2:  r 120 | g 120 | b 120
Used as color fill.
Color palette, black Black
r 255 | g 255 | b 255
Used for inner shadow and bevel shadow.
  1. Create the basic shapes using a tool like Adobe Illustrator.
  2. Import the shape into a tool like Adobe Photoshop and scale to fit an image of 48x48 px on a transparent background. Mind the safeframe.
  3. Add the effects seen as described in Figure 5.
  4. Export the icon at 48x48 as a PNG file with transparency enabled.

Status bar icon

Status bar icons are used to represent notifications from your application in the status bar. Graphically, they are very similar to menu icons, but are smaller and higher in contrast.

Structure

  • Rounded corners must always be applied to the base shape and to the details of a status bar icon shown Figure 7.
  • All dimensions specified are based on a 25x25 pixel artboard size with a 2 pixel safeframe.
  • Status bar icons can overlap the safeframe to the left and right when necessary, but must not overlap the safeframe at the top and bottom.
  • Final art must be exported as a transparent PNG file.
  • Templates for creating status bar icons using Adobe Photoshop are available in the Icon Templates Pack.
A view of
status bar icon structure.

Figure 6. Safeframe and corner-rounding for status bar icons. Icon size is 25x25.

Light, effects, and shadows

Status bar icons are slightly debossed, high in contrast, and pictured face-on to enhance clarity at small sizes.

A view of
light, effects, and shadows for launcher icons.

Figure 7. Light, effects, and shadows for launcher icons.

1.Front part:Use fill gradient from primary color palette
2.Inner bevel:depth 100% | direction down
size 0px | angle 90° |
altitude 30°
highlight white 75% opacity
shadow black 75% opacity
3.Detail:white
4.Disabled detail:grey gradient from palette
+ inner bevel: smooth | depth 1% | direction down | size 0px | angle 117° |
altitude 42° | highlight white 70% | no shadow

Only status bar icons related to the phone function use full color; all other status bar icons should remain monochromatic.

Color palette, white White
r 0 | g 0 | b 0
Used for details within the icons and bevel highlight.
Color palette, grey gradient Grey gradient
1:  r 169 | g 169 | b 169
2:  r 126 | g 126 | b 126
Used for disabled details within the icon.
Color palette, fill gradient Fill gradient
1:  1 r 105 | g 105 | b 105
2:  r 10 | g 10 | b 10
Used as color fill.
Color palette, black Black
r 255 | g 255 | b 255
Used for bevel shadow.
  1. In a tool like Adobe Photoshop, create the base shape within a 25x25 px image on a transparent background. Mind the safeframe, and keep the upper and lower 2 pixels free.
  2. Add rounded corners as specified in Figure 6.
  3. Add light, effects, and shadows as specified in Figure 7.
  4. Export the icon at 25x25 as a PNG file with transparency enabled.

Tab icon

Tab icons are graphical elements used to represent individual tabs in a multi-tab interface. Each tab icon has two states: unselected and selected.

Structure

  • Unselected tab icons have the same fill gradient and effects as menu icons, but with no outer glow.
  • Selected tab icons look just like unselected tab icons, but with a fainter inner shadow, and have the same front part gradient as dialog icons.
  • Tab icons have a 1 px safeframe which should only be overlapped for the edge of the anti-alias of a round shape.
  • All dimensions specified on this page are based on a 32x32 px artboard size. Keep 1 px of padding around the bounding box inside the Photoshop template.
  • Final art must be exported as a 32x32 px transparent PNG file.
  • Templates for creating tab icons in Adobe Photoshop are available in the Icon Templates Pack.
A view of
unselected tab icon structure.

Figure 8. Safeframe and fill gradient for unselected tab icons. Icon size is 32x32.

A view of
selected tab icon structure.

Figure 9. Safeframe and fill gradient for tab icons in selected state. Icon size is 32x32.

Unselected tab icon

Light, effects, and shadows

Unselected tab icons look just like the selected tab icons, but with a fainter inner shadow, and the same front part gradient as the dialog icons.

A view
of light, effects, and shadows for unselected tab icons.

Figure 10. Light, effects, and shadows for unselected tab icons.

1.Front part:gradient overlay | angle 90°
bottom color: r 223 | g 223 | b 223
top color: r 249 | g 249 | b 249
bottom color location: 0%
top color location: 75%
2.Inner shadow:black | 10 % opacity | angle 90° distance 2px | size 2px
3.Inner bevel:depth 1% | direction down | size 0px | angle 90° | altitude 10°
highlight white 70% opacity
shadow black 25% opacity
  1. Create the basic shapes using a tool like Adobe Illustrator.
  2. Import the shape to a tool like Adobe Photoshop and scale to fit an image of 32x32 px on a transparent background.
  3. Add the effects seen in Figure 10 for the unselected state filter.
  4. Export the icon at 32x32 as a PNG file with transparency enabled.

Selected tab icon

The selected tab icons have the same fill gradient and effects as the menu icon, but with no outer glow.

A view of
light, effects, and shadows for selected tab icons.

Figure 11. Light, effects, and shadows for selected tab icons.

1.Front part:Use fill gradient from color palette.
2.Inner shadow:black | 20% opacity |
angle 90° | distance 2px |
size 2px
3.Inner bevel:depth 1% | direction down | size 0px | angle 90° |
altitude 10°
highlight white 70% opacity
shadow black 25% opacity
Color palette, fill gradient Fill gradient
1:  r 163 | g 163 | b 163
2:  r 120 | g 120 | b 120
Used as color fill on unselected tab icons.
  1. Create the basic shape using a tool like Adobe Illustrator.
  2. Import the shape into a tool like Adobe Photoshop and scale to fit a 32x32 px artboard with a transparent background.
  3. Add the effects seen in Figure 11 for the selected state filter.
  4. Export the icon at 32x32 as a PNG file with transparency enabled.

Dialog icon

Dialog icons are shown in pop-up dialog boxes that prompt the user for interaction. They use a light gradient and inner shadow in order to stand out against a dark background.

Structure

  • Dialog icons have a 1 pixel safeframe. The base shape must fit within the safeframe, but the anti-alias of a round shape can overlap the safeframe.
  • All dimensions specified on this page are based on a 32x32 pixel artboard size in Adobe Photoshop. Keep 1 pixel of padding around the bounding box inside the Photoshop template.
  • Final art must be exported as a transparent PNG file.
  • Templates for creating dialog icons in Adobe Photoshop are available in the Icon Templates Pack.
A view of dialog
icon structure.

Figure 12. Safeframe and fill gradient for dialog icons. Icon size is 32x32.

Light, effects, and shadows

Dialog icons are flat and pictured face-on. In order to stand out against a dark background, they are built up using a light gradient and inner shadow.

A view of light,
effects, and shadows for dialog icons.

Figure 13. Light, effects, and shadows for dialog icons.

1.Front part:gradient overlay | angle 90°
bottom: r 223 | g 223 | b 223
top: r 249 | g 249 | b 249
bottom color location: 0%
top color location: 75%
2.Inner shadow:black | 25% opacity |
angle -90° | distance 1px | size 0px
  1. Create the basic shapes using a tool like Adobe Illustrator.
  2. Import the shape into a tool like Adobe Photoshop and scale to fit an image of 32x32 px on a transparent background.
  3. Add the effects seen in Figure 13 for the proper filter.
  4. Export the icon at 32x32 as a PNG file with transparency enabled.

List view icon

List view icons look a lot like dialog icons, but they use an inner shadow effect where the light source is above the object. They are also designed to be used only in a list view. Examples include the Android Market application home screen and the driving directions screen in the Maps application.

Structure

  • A list view icon normally has a 1 px safeframe, but it is OK to use the safeframe area for the edge of the anti-alias of a round shape.
  • All dimensions specified are based on a 32x32 pixel artboard size in Photoshop. Keep 1 pixel of padding around the bounding box inside the template.
  • Final art must be exported as a transparent PNG file.
  • Templates for creating list view icons in Adobe Photoshop are available in the Icon Templates Pack.
A view of list
view icon structure.

Figure 14. Safeframe and fill gradient for list view icons. Icon size is 32x32.

Light, effects, and shadows

List view icons are flat and pictured face-on with an inner shadow. Built up by a light gradient and inner shadow, they stand out well on a dark background.

A view
of light, effects, and shadows for list view icons.

Figure 15. Light, effects, and shadows for list view icons.

1.Inner shadow:black | 57 % opacity | angle 120° | blend mode normal | distance 1px | size 1px
2.Background:black | standard system color
These icons are displayed in list views only.
Note: The list view icon sits on 32x32 px artboard in Photoshop, without a safeframe.
  1. Add the effects seen in Figure 15 for the proper filter.
  2. Export the icon at 32x32 as a PNG file with transparency enabled.
  3. Create the basic shapes using a tool like Adobe Illustrator.
  4. Import the shape into a tool like Adobe Photoshop and scale to fit an image of 32x32 px on a transparent background.

General guidelines

Below are some "do and don't" guidelines to consider when creating icons for your application. By following the guidelines, you can ensure that your icons will work well with other parts of the Android platform UI and will meet the expectations of your application's users.

Do...

  • Use a normal perspective. The depth of an object should be realistic.
  • Keep it simple! By overdoing an icon, it loses it purpose and readability.
  • Use colors only when necessary. Mind that the base of a launcher icon should be grey and feel solid.
  • Use the correct angles for the specific icon types.

Don’t...

  • Use open elements like text alone as icons. Instead place those elements on a base shape.
  • Use colors for your status bar notifications. Those are reserved for specific phone-only functions.
Side-by-side examples
of good/bad icon design.

Using the Android Icon Templates Pack

The Android Icon Templates Pack is a collection of template designs, filters, and settings that make it easier for you to create icons that conform to the general specifications given in this document. We recommend downloading the template pack archive before you get started with your icon design.

The icon templates are provided in Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator file formats, which preserves the layers and design treatments we used when creating the standard icons for the Android platform. You can load the template files into any compatible image-editing program, although your ability to work directly with the layers and treatments may vary based on the program you are using.

You can obtain the Icon Templates Pack archive using the link below:

Download the Icon Templates Pack »

Icon appendix

Standard launcher icons

Shown below are examples of launcher icons used by Android applications. The icons are provided for your reference only — please do not reuse these icons in your applications..
Android asset
Alarm Clock
Android asset
Browser
Android asset
Calculator
Android asset
Calendar
Android asset
Camcorder
Android asset
Camera
Android asset
Contacts
Android asset
Dialer
Android asset
Email
Android asset
Gallery
Android asset
Generic application
Android asset
Gmail
Android asset
Google Talk
Android asset
IM
Android asset
Maps
Android asset
Market
Android asset
Messaging
Android asset
Music
Android asset
Settings
Android asset
Voice Dialer
Android asset
Voice Search
Android asset
YouTube

Shown below are standard menu icons that are included in the Android platform (as of Android 1.5). You can reference any of these icon resources from your application as needed, but make sure that the action you assign to the icon is consistent with that listed. Note that this is not a complete list of icons and that the actual appearance of standard icons may change across platform versions.

To reference one of the icons from your code, use android.R.drawable.<icon_resource_identifier>. For example, you can call a menu item's setIcon() method and pass the resource name:

.setIcon(android.R.drawable.ic_menu_more);.

You could reference the same icon from a layout file using android:icon="@android:drawable/ic_menu_more">.

To determine the resource ID for an icon listed below, hover over the icon or simply look at image filenames, which use the format "<icon_resource_identifier>.png".

Android asset
Add
Android asset
Call
Android asset
Camera
Android asset
Clear / Close / Cancel / Discard
Android asset
Compass
Android asset
Delete
Android asset
Directions
Android asset
Edit
Android asset
Gallery
Android asset
Help
Android asset
Info / details
Android asset
Map mode
Android asset
My Location
Android asset
More
Android asset
Preferences
Android asset
Rotate
Android asset
Save
Android asset
Send
Android asset
Search
Android asset
Share
Android asset
Upload
Android asset
View
Android asset
Zoom

Standard status bar icons

Shown below are standard status bar icons included in the Android platform (as of Android 1.5). You can reference any of these icon resources from your application as needed, but make sure that the meaning of the icon is consistent with the standard meaning listed. Note that this is not a complete list of icons and that the actual appearance of standard icons may change across platform versions.

To reference one of the icons from your code, use android.R.drawable.<icon_resource_identifier>. For example, you can construct a simple notification that references one of the icons like this:

new Notification(R.drawable.stat_notify_calendar, "sample text", System.currentTimeMillis());

To determine the resource ID for an icon listed below, hover over the icon or simply look at the image filename, which use the format "<icon_resource_identifier>.png".

Android asset
Bluetooth
Android asset
Email
Android asset
IM
Android asset
Voicemail
Android asset
Warning
Android asset
Call
Android asset
Call forward
Android asset
Call on hold
Android asset
Missed call
Android Development
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