The most significant design features of icons appearing in operating system Windows Vienna, construction distinctions of Vienna, Vista and XP graphics, guidance to making Vienna style icons.
Graphics, which are used in a recently created Windows Vienna are mostly like Windows Vista icons. They are designed with the same structure and schemes.
So, what is Vienna icon? Vienna icon - is an icon drawn in aero style (style of Windows Vienna GUI).
Significant changes in icons' design can be seen in Windows Vista and Vienna GUI at a glance. A typical feature of Windows Vista and Vienna interface is new icons, created in a more strict but still and more fine way. Glass glares and defined colours make icons appealing for eyes, not irritating in continuous work and repeated viewing.
Overview of icons creation. Details of style.
What is new in Vienna style icons?
- Items used for metaphors are made in hi- tech style and appear more advanced.
- Angle of rotation and volume bring life into images.
- Items' angles and borders are soft and smoothly round.
- All items face a spotlight now (with extra lightning spread all around)
- Drop shadow brings contrast and volume.
- Outlined elements are better distinguished.
- Gradients enchance the volume and gives stylish look.
Size of Vienna - icons.
- Style is more realistic but still not photorealistic. Because icons are symbolic images and not illustrations of certain items, in interface they fit even more appropriate than photos.
- Overlayed images illustrate what applications the object is related to.
- Toolbar icons contain less details and appear more flat for optimizing under smaller size.
- Icons have biggest size 256 x 256 and it makes them suitable for high dimension screens. To show icons on those screens in proportional size, saving the quality, big images are required.
Typical icons in Windows Vienna contain five resolutions - 256 x 256, 48 x 48, 32 x 32, 24 x 24, and 16 x 16 px. If icons are applied for buttons, toolbar or small pictograms only, maximal size is not needed.
Microsoft Corporation recommend to make interface icons for programs running only in Windows Vienna in the listed sizes:
Microsoft affirm that interim sizes between 256 x 256 and 32 x 32 are unneeded for Windows Vienna and Windows Vista, because PNG format used in these icons is scaled with no distortion from 256 x 256 to 32 x 32. With smaller sizes, automatic alterations of resolution makes the image of poor quality, so a separate 16 x 16 picture is needed. Algorithms of size changes unfortunately are not flawless and its better to put 48x48 size into your icons to avoid perversion.
- 256 x 256 px
- 32 x 32 px
- 16 x 16 px
If you want the pictogram to be completely compliant with not only Windows Vienna but former Windows releases also, you will need to make the icon including respective images (each - with three levels of colour depth).
Fully compatible (with Windows XP and previous versions) icon should contain following sizes: 256 x 256, 48 x 48, 32 x 32, 16 x 16
We do not recommend to put 24 x 24 resolution into your graphics (except toolbar), because this resolution is not necessary. Moreover, the icon containing this size, is hard to be compliant with Windows 98 and Windows 2000.
If you need icons for your toolbar, their size is the same 24 x 24 and 16 x 16 px.
Colour options of Vienna graphics.
Windows Vienna reads 32-bits icons in which 24 bits are dedicatedto image and 8 bits by transparency channel.
This allows icons to have semitransparent details and sleek edges, regardless the background they are at.
Standard Windows Vienna graphics consist of three types of color options for backward compatibility :
Your icons require 32-bit colour depth.
- 32- bit colour (24- bit colour ) plus 8-bit transparency channel
- 8- bit colour (256 colours ) plus 1-bit transparency channel
- 4- bit colour (16 colors) plus 1-bit transparency channel
If you need your icons to look fine all the time, in case of video driver failure for instance, you will need 8-bit and 4-bit depths (with 256 or even 16 colours only).
If there are 16 colours displayed by your monitor (this may occur in Windows XP and older) but 4-bit depth is not included in the icon, the colour pallet will be automatically reduced down to 16 colours, here you can get the way it will look like:
This is a 32-bit icon shown in 16 colours.
Vienna icons colour pallet.
Colours in Vienna graphics display material of an object or a signal (if used in symbols)
- White - paper (documents )
- Light grey - silvery plastic (computers and peripherals)
- Dark blue - switched-on screen (displays and other screens)
- Light ochre - carton (folders)
- Blue - glass (basket, lens)
- Emerald- green - transparent plastic (special folders)
- Red - warning
- Yellow - attention
- Green - permission
- Dark blue - information
Turn angle and objects combination.
Not like former versions, items in Windows Vienna are rotated at 45° angle clockwise.
Rotated graphics are recommended for an application icon or to present the 3D objects.
Some objects are nicer when displayed flat (like they are down on a table and you look on them)
- Files icons
- Flat objects
- 16 x 16 size icons
Flat or angled placement of additional image in the icon is determined on what both the item and the icon represent. Its difficult to give more concrete suggestion in this case, you just need to be guided by the trial and analyze the way the image is comprehended, also if it is in a group of icons.
Drop shadow in Vienna icons.
Drop shadow in Vienna icons is used to increase recognition and to potentiate the 3D effect. In 3D and flat icons the shadow is different:
Outline of Vienna-icons.
Vienna-style icons usually have an outline. Its not so clearly visible as in XP-style and is not constantly used. Outline is required to make possible recognition of an image, regardless the background it is located at. Border may take only a part of an icon constantly following the design of an image securing its style.
Review of Vienna-icon structure
Main differences of Vienna-icons and XP-icons
Vienna-icons contain two functional distinctions from XP-icons:
Use of PNG file is a critical moment as it makes 256x256 image non-useable with Windows XP and previous releases (only smaller resolution pictures will be displayed).
- Vienna-icons contain an extra large picture 256x256
- In typicall icons this large image has PNG compression
PNG-algorithm is used in icons for images 256x256 px only. The compression does not affect the quality and file is smaller in almost 4 times when transparency channel is supported and image is perfectly scale.
Compatibility of Vista and Vienna-icons with Windows XP
To make the icon fully compliant with Windows XP, 256x256 seize in the icon must be saved non-compressed. You can always include or cancel the compression, this will not change the quality. Resolution of the icon with uncompressed images including all standard formats will approximately be 400 Kb.
Why Vienna icons are better?
Professionally made Vienna style icons have the following benefits:
- visual recognition of program's interface is appealing
- program's abilities are better presented
- usage is more convenient , easy navigation and identification of programs, items and actions
- your aoolication's GUI is advanced , engaging and unique
To get a quality appearance of an application, Microsoft recommends you to change the design of your commonly viewed icons, using aero style. It is also recommended to make a modern design of all icons reflected in Start menu and Explorer (considering icons showing type of a file). It is suggested not to apply any icons in Windows 9x and older version style, in applications running under Windows Vienna.
Creation of single Vienna-icons.
Picture your software with the most convenient GUI, in Vienna appearance, with individual icons that clearly show application's features and tasks due to proper metaphors, they get you to use the program just because it's a joy to look at it. Icons made in a style that will definitely be a new world standard.
You could ask: "Where do I order these perfect icons, at a competitive price and not just similar ones but real Vienna icons?"
You can do it at: aha-soft.com, perfecticon.com, 777icons.com.
Microsoft, Windows, Windows XP and/or other Microsoft products mentioned above, are either trade marks or registered trade marks of Microsoft.
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