Some Icons Are Verbs, Some Icons Are Nouns

Getting ​fluent at the Language of Iconography

You see icons everywhere now, in websites, in apps, in software. It is an essential part of UI elements. UI is a language, so is iconography. In fact, some icons are verbs, some are nouns.

Iconography is a language

Ancient Chinese
The noun project, search results of “menu”
the same word set in different typefaces

Android icon system vs. iOS icon system

mailbox app on iOS and Android both used hamburger icon for menu
image by Luke Wroblewski
iOS share on the left, Android share on the right

Icons are now included in unicode

Some icons are verbs, some are nouns

ted.com
google analytics use icons in the side tabs
audience icon couldn’t be interpreted as verb.
Floating actions buttons use verb icons, images from materialup.com
Tab use noun icons, images from materialup.com

What is next?

Camera icons from the noun projects
Share icons from the noun projects

Written by Wenting Zhang, creator of underline.js and typedetail.com. Mostly writing about typography, iconography and colors, or jokes around design and tech. If you are interested in these topics, follow me on medium or on twitter @DesignJokes.

UX designer, Sketch lover, Color geek, Type nerd

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