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Making Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps

When developing mobile apps or designing graphics for Android apps, it is essential to conform to srict guidelines. Re-using icons made for other operating systems, especially desktop-based, is generally not a good idea. Foreign graphics will look out of place at best, or will make your Android apps hardly recognizable at worst.

Making Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps Description: When developing mobile apps or drawing graphics for mobile apps, it is essential to conform to certain guidelines. Using icons designed for other 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. Body: There are precise guidelines available in reference to Android icons. Different design guidelines are published for tab icons and menu images.

Android Icons for Navigation Tab Bars

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

Android OS and Android apps are used on a multitude of different platforms employing a wide range of hardware. In connection to icon graphics, those platforms can have different screen sizes, screen resolutions, pixel density and dimensions. To accommodate the wide range of screens, Android developers should supply all tab icons used in their apps in at least three resolutions to be shown on low, medium, and high density screens. Resolution-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 providing all three standard sizes, developers can ensure that their apps will display properly on a wide range of devices running the Android OS.

Menu icons are used in the "options" menu, and are displayed to the user when they press the Menu button. Similar to tab icons, menu icons are specified as flat, grayscale images. Just as tab icons, developers cannot use 3D or isometric projections.

Screen resolutions for menu icons are described in a slightly more complex way as opposed to to tab icons. Instead of two resolutions described for tab graphics (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 resolution should be smaller than for icons shaped otherwise. The reason for having two different size limits is to establish a consistent visual size across the two icon types.

The outer dimensions for ldpi, mdpi and hdpi icons are described 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 icons conforming to these guidelines, Android developers have an option of getting stock icons from professional designers. For example, Android Tab Icons by Aha-Soft include 112 unique tab icons in both states and all standard resolutions. Should additional resolutions be required, developers can render icons 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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