Icons are brand attributes. Our icons embody the Volvo Cars brand identity along with our typography, copy, colour, imagery, motion and (of course) our logo marks. Here's the guiding principles to create well-designed icons that elevate and express our brand personality.
We evaluate all icons and sets of icons based on these principles for Volvo Cars iconography:
Every icon must be effective and add value. How can we evaluate whether an icon is effective and adds value to people's experiences?
Effective icons are:
Immediate (understood rapidly)
Clear (recognisable, readable)
Minimal (forms, metaphors)
Matching (in style, size, weight, motion)
Measured (designed to size/context)
Blend key ideas with playful creativity. Icons take cues from real-world objects, but use geometric shapes to capture the essence. Unique details transform them into a system of branded icons with personality.
Techniques for adding brand personality to iconography:
Combine straight and rounded corners elegantly
Create a style for metaphors
Balance the overall size, shape, and impact of the icon in context of the design
Explore making icons more playful and/or memorable
Clear and immediate. Keep metaphors clean and simple. Aim to capture the essence of an idea rather than a life-like representation. Continue to "drop" all non-essential details as you refine.
Clarity is a gift of good planning. Ensure icon compositions are influenced by the grid whenever possible. Sticking to the grid isn't mandatory, but referencing it will result in more cohesive iconography for our brand.
Assess the surrounding negative spaces in addition to the strokes and fills of each icon. Some icons may appear cramped or a little sparse in composition. Pay close attention to the visual density to improve overall clarity and "fit."
Create from the same viewpoint. Avoid 3D perspectives when designing icons for Volvo Cars. Opt for a flat, 2D appearance consistent with our other icons.
Consistency creates trust. Before creating new icons, evaluate the characteristics of existing ones. Consistent icons borrow ideas from one another to heighten the sense of unity. This approach helps express the brand across all platforms and touch points–building trust.Align on details: such as corners, angles, and counter strokes. Gaps work best in natural spots.