What Makes a Good Social Media Icon Design?
Social media plays a big role in marketing and reaching out to customers online. For this reason, it is important that blogs, infographics and other useful content display social media icons so that people who find it useful can share online. This not only spreads the word and brings new people to your site, but also builds links. The role of these social media links in SEO has been growing recently and many predict this trend will continue. As such, it is important to get them right. In particular, in my opinion you should make sure that they are:
Above all, it is important that the icons be recognisable. This means that social media icons fly in the face of many principles that usually apply in matters of design. Firstly, it is perfectly alright to use the same, standard icons that users see on countless other websites. Those are, quite simply, the logos of the relevant social networks and will be instantly recognised by users. However, many sites choose to source or create their own variants. These can look more unique, create a more premium look, and better embody your own brand as well as the function the button serves. Again, this is unlike most design projects because while adding your elements of originality, it is still necessary to closely follow familiar images in order to ensure that they will be recognisable to users without even a fraction of a second’s delay.
As discussed above, it is perfectly alright to use standard social media icons. But if this is the case then why would you ever create or even look for alternatives? This is because, as long as you do it right, you can make social media icons complement your site much better than the standard ones. Since they have to follow recognisable images, social media icon designs usually represent a change of aesthetic more than anything. This means that, without changing the logo contained within, they can mesh much more neatly with the design of your site and look a bit less like somebody else’s logo has been pasted on. This simply looks better, and having your own icons instead of using the standard ones also creates a better impression in the eyes of users. However, to get these benefits it is important that you use designs that will actually complement your site and mesh as neatly as possible with the aesthetic. Using a design that simply looks more interesting will not achieve the same results.
As with so many aspects of the web, design is only half the battle. Make sure that you put them to good use by ensuring they are well-positioned and clear enough to grab a user’s attention. At the same time, they shouldn’t be so obvious they seem like a desperate plea for users to share your content or follow your page. Ideally, they should serve as a little prompt; not too obtrusive, but enough to make users think that maybe they should click that button if they found the content useful.