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Designing Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps

When developing Android apps or designing graphics for mobile apps, it is essential to follow certain guidelines. Using icons designed for other systems, especially desktop-based, is generally not a good idea. Foreign graphics will look out of place at best, or will render your Android apps hardly recognizable at worst.

Designing Standard Tab and Menu Icons for Android Apps Description: When developing Android apps or designing graphics for mobile apps, it is essential to conform to srict guidelines. Using images designed for other systems, especially desktop-based, is not a good idea. Foreign graphics will look weird at best, or will make your Android apps hardly recognizable at worst. Body: There exist strict guidelines published for designing standard-compliant Android icons. Different design guidelines are available for tab icons and menu images.

Android Icons for Navigation Bars

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

Android OS and Android apps are used on a wide range of hardware platforms using a wide range of hardware. In reference to icon images, those devices can have different screen sizes, screen resolutions, pixel dimensions and density. To accommodate the variety of screens, Android developers should supply 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 resolutions, developers can ensure that their apps will display properly on a wide range of platforms running the Android OS.

Menu icons are displayed in the "options" menu, and are displayed to the user when they press the Menu button. Similar to tab icons, menu icons should be flat, greyscale images. Like tab icons, developers cannot use 3D or isometric projections.

Pixel resolutions for menu icons are defined in a slightly more complex way compared to tab icons. Instead of just two sizes defined for tab icons (inner shape and boundary box), the inner shape of menu icons can be smaller or bigger depending on their shape. If a menu icon is square-shaped, its size should be smaller than for icons shaped otherwise. The reason for specifying 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 dots. Similarly, mdpi icons should fit 30x30 and 32x32 pixel boundaries, while high-definition images should fit into 44x44 and 48x48 pixel boundaries respectively.

Instead of designing your own images conforming to these guidelines, Android developers have an option of getting stock icons from professional designers. As an example, Android Tab Icons by Aha-Soft include 112 unique tab icons in selected and unselected 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 viewed and downloaded at http://www.aha-soft.com/stock-icons/android-tab-icons.htm.



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