To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Help and Tips on How and Where to Advertise Your Products, Product Page and Homepage Coding to Showcase Your Wears.
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ChocolateCookie
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To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Post by ChocolateCookie » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:01 pm

So I have seen that many new creators are not sure about how to make an icon, what is good and what is bad when it comes to designing them so I decided to write a few guidelines about it for new developers. Everyone always talks about how to make great textures but having good textures is not that important if you do not have icons that make people want to try your product on.

Icons are the first thing that people look at while shopping and are also the one things that make people decide whether to try your product on or not. Your product might be good but if it is not presented well in your icon and if it does not want make people try your product on then no one will find out how good your product is. That is why it is important for your product icon to show your product off well.

DO have a simple, yet professional looking icon design. Let it be simple, do not go overboard with it. That way you will look professional and the icon will do a good job at showcasing your product. And many MANY customers will only try on products by creators who seem professional.

This is a design I've used myself:

Image

I do think that it is rather simple and serves it's purpose well. I will be using the same design in the rest of the examples because I'm too lazy to come up with a new one just to use here.

DO have an unique look or feature to your icon that makes it easily recognizable. Customers often shop by icons and recognize creators by them. Having the same kind of icons as someone else does not make you unique or recognizable from the rest. A simple signature or design quirk will do.

DO use your own products such as your own skins and hair in your icon, that way it will also show off other products that you have (just do not put too many things there, keep in mind which of the product you are selling with this icon).

DO show off the best features in your product and the most important parts to it, you do even always have to show the whole product for the customer to get the idea of what it is and make them want to try it on. Example (2) shows this well

DO use other products such as skins in your icon that compliment and bring out your product well. But still keep it simple and do not go overboard. Example (5) shows this off well.

DO fit your products in the icon as well as possible, that is why most of my products in my icons are turned 45 degrees, to show the product as clearly as possible and so that there won't be lots of empty space.

TIP: Unless your icon has a theme like Christmas, very bright and vibrant colors such as neon purple do not always represent your product well as the color draws attention to itself from the product but your product needs to be in the center of attention. Try using more neutral colors such as grays and colors with low saturation instead of very vibrant colors, dark colors can be good as well. There is a reason why most creators known creators select that kind of colors in their own icon design.

The difference:
ImageImage (1)
(you can judge yourself which color shows the product off better)

TIP: There are various products and programs to help you make better pictures of your product such as products that make your avatar stand still and products to help you take pictures of the hands and feet of your avatar and other body parts or to make your avatar completely invisible under your product. There are also great programs that will help you take the picture, check out this thread for more information.

TIP: If you are not very good at icon design or are not sure what to do then you can always visit the offical Graphic Arts Services and Requests Forums but be careful with choosing from premades or ordering a custom. There are many artists there who sell premade icon designs and make customs but many of those artists are not actually creators or active creators so they do not always know what is good and what is bad when it comes to icons, they just want to earn their money like everyone else so it is up to you to select and buy the icons that will show off your products well, there are many pretty icons there but a pretty icon does not always represent your product good and it is up to you to order one that you know will be good to your products. this will usually cost you about 5-15k but a good icon design is worth it!

DO NOT add tint aka color layers to your products. That's because it changes the color of your product and if a person buys it without trying it first (which does happen at times) they will be angry, leave a bad review and never buy from you again. And people who do try these on see that they have a different color than what is on the icon and people do not want to try on every single one of your products to know the color of them. Keep your products correctly colored even though even some known developers do this.

DO NOT blur or sharpen it too much. a blurred image looks fuzzy and just makes your product look ugly and blurry, an over-sharpened product on the icon can look bad as well and it can cause the product to even have a wrong color which also looks bad and distracting and does not make people want to try it on.

DO NOT steal anyones icons or design ideas, you can get banned for stealing and it does not look unique or professional.

DO NOT have different designs to each icon and if you have had one design for awhile now DO NOT change it unless there is a very good reason to. This one came to surprise to me when some time ago I did not really like my older icon design so I decided to change it. My product with the new icon design did not get sales for a long time because people did not recognize my icons anymore, it is better now but my older products still sell better. I am not going to change it back but I do realize that I should not have changed it in the first place without a good reason for it. And when you do change it, it is good chance to redo some older icons as well to maybe make them look better and to make your shop look consistent.

DO NOT show all of your product in the icon if it makes the product look tiny.

The difference:

ImageImage(2)
(Judge yourself which looks better.)

This is one of the biggest mistakes that is often made, especially when it comes to long dresses and hairstyles. If you really want to show your whole product then make your icons .GIF images to still show your product in a larger scale. If your product is very small on the icon then it looks unprofessional and fuzzy, if you show the essential parts of the product then everyone will get the idea of what you are selling and it looks good.

DO NOT go overboard with your icon design, keep it simple and do not add huge lace boarders on the sides because the icon is small enough as it is and it will leave even less space in the icon for your product. It will also draw attention away from your product.

Example:

Image(4)

DO NOT use IMVU default avatars to show off your product. Sorry IMVU but it just does not compliment the products made nowadays and it tends to look old and ugly to the customers.

The difference:

ImageImage(5)
(judge for yourself which one looks better)

DO NOT show anything excessive in your product such as the pants when you are only selling the shirt.

The difference:
ImageImage(6)
(both of these are product icons for panda ears, judge for yourself which one looks better)

It will make the customers confused about what you are selling. Adding too much accessories to your avatar in the product image goes under this as well.

DO NOT use Access Pass products in icons for GA product's. It will get you banned.

DO NOT make your icons into very flashy .GIF images, it tends to hurt peoples eyes and no one wants to look through a catalog full of flashing images, it also makes it hard to focus or even see the product.

DO NOT add random image or images as your product icon.

Image(7)

It does not show your product which is the opposite of what your icon should do. It should only be done if it is for a voicebox or something that you cannot show on the icon, in which case you still need to make the icon yourself in order not to get in trouble. Additionally, do not add any random frames that are not about your product in your .GIF icons, even when it is your name or something like that because it does not need to be there and in most cases, it just doesn't look professional. Lastly, do not add any of the textures you have used in the product as the icon, people want to see your product not the textures used in them.

DO NOT leave pending images as your icon after you have published the product.

Image(8)

DO NOT publish the product if you have not done the icon for it yet. It does not show the product so people won't be likely to try it on and might think that it is unfinished due to the pending icon. Pending icons are ONLY for when you cannot make the icon at that moment and will make it later, which you might forget to do.

I know that this is a long list but if you think about it, most of these should be logical. My goal with this tutorial is to help you turn icons like this

Image

into something more like this:

Image

Note: If you have a nice icon design ready then it is the best to have it in layers, the layers like icon frame and other things that go on top of the product image, the product image and background layers that go behind the image.

I have also created a tutorial about the different ways how to advertise your products and you can find it here if you are interested.

@ older developers that already know this: I do not claim to have the full truth and be 100% about this and there are probably a few things that you will disagree about but I'm not trying to claim to know anything, instead I want to help new developers with at least some useful tips how to make their icons look better. After all, we always say that you need to have good icons for your products to sell but we never explain what is a good and what is a bad icon. If you have something you wish to add, ask or disagree with then feel free to post below!
Image

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ChocolateCookie
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Re: To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Post by ChocolateCookie » Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:03 pm

My God, the original had so many grammatical errors that I'm just embarrassed now lol, It should be much better now and I really should have updated this a long time ago with my English getting much better over time.
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Re: To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Post by GuySBot » Fri Mar 10, 2017 2:00 pm

Excellent :idea: work , very well thought out :!:
Muah X Meow ^,.^~! TTFN

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Re: To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Post by gaf210 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:01 am

ChocolateCookie wrote:
Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:03 pm
My God, the original had so many grammatical errors that I'm just embarrassed now lol, It should be much better now and I really should have updated this a long time ago with my English getting much better over time.
Hehee thats awesome hun! Also, techniques for icons have changed a bit with the years but in essence this is the way it should be :) Thanks for posting this!

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Re: To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Post by ChocolateCookie » Sat Mar 11, 2017 1:07 pm

gaf210 wrote:
Sat Mar 11, 2017 11:01 am
ChocolateCookie wrote:
Fri Mar 10, 2017 1:03 pm
My God, the original had so many grammatical errors that I'm just embarrassed now lol, It should be much better now and I really should have updated this a long time ago with my English getting much better over time.
Hehee thats awesome hun! Also, techniques for icons have changed a bit with the years but in essence this is the way it should be :) Thanks for posting this!
Thanks! I agree, trends do change, but at least in my opinion, the basic ideas about what makes an icon look good stay the same. Mostly it just seems that many icons have become heavily edited nowadays while tinting is fortunately not that popular anymore.
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Re: To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Post by gaf210 » Sat Mar 11, 2017 3:15 pm

hehe true :) Btw hun there i've updated the links on the Tutorials section of Adplan so they now link here, might even get more people to join too :)

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Re: To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Post by MandaMarie » Sat Mar 11, 2017 4:46 pm

@ older developers that already know this: I do not claim to have the full truth and be 100% about this and there are probably a few things that you will disagree about but I'm not trying to claim to know anything, instead I want to help new developers with at least some useful tips how to make their icons look better. After all, we always say that you need to have good icons for your products to sell but we never explain what is a good and what is a bad icon. If you have something you wish to add, ask or disagree with then feel free to post below!
Cookie, this was an amazing read. I wish I would have had this post long ago when I started developing. ;p I myself have learned a lot of this on my own over the years, not all, but a good majority of it. I as well do not claim to be the most successful icon designer but I hope you don't mind me adding to this. If you wish to update your tutorial as well with any of this information in it, please feel free to. :D

So something I found out fairly quickly was how things that are rated AP, as well as products you are wearing change once viewed in the client. A few examples...

This is a product where the catalog image itself, still plays an important role even after purchased. It is an item that contains triggers. Once the item is worn in the client, the "- Remove" icon shows over it, as well as the "AP" icon if the product is indeed access pass rated. So placement on the important triggers, one would want to see that it's possible they won't remember can be very important in your image makeup.
Image

Another idea about placement is your name. Myself, I leave mine hidden under the "-Remove" icon. If you wish for it to always be shown, though, as well as the name of the item (if you add that into your catalog images), then that also becomes important in the makeup of your image. You can see where this could also make things a little confusing as if I had also made another size of chest here, the image would probably look very similar, yet with the "AP" icon, its hard to tell if the item is slim, or a different size.
Image

So, in closing, a good idea is to also keep these in mind, as you can see I have since swapped what side I put the name of my product on, but I am not too worried about my name itself. You, on the other hand, may want your name to always show, no matter where the product is viewed from, equipped or not. A fix for that could be as easy as placing your name across the top right-hand corner. :D
Image

Hope maybe some of this is also helpful to those of you creating new icons. Also thank you again for the expert work you did in creating this tutorial. :D
Image
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Re: To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Post by ChocolateCookie » Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:29 am

Those are some awesome tips, thanks for posting Manda! I'm sure your tips will be very helpful to someone and I didn't even think about this myself. :D

And I'm glad you updated your site Gaffy! I honestly wish I could delete these threads from the official IMVU forums so that they couldn't do anything stupid with them like move them to Discussions without my permission, which I wouldn't even be surprised about, and also because they were so poorly written haha. I do also hope that your site will direct some new users here.
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Re: To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Post by gaf210 » Mon Mar 13, 2017 11:19 am

ChocolateCookie wrote:
Sun Mar 12, 2017 11:29 am
Those are some awesome tips, thanks for posting Manda! I'm sure your tips will be very helpful to someone and I didn't even think about this myself. :D

And I'm glad you updated your site Gaffy! I honestly wish I could delete these threads from the official IMVU forums so that they couldn't do anything stupid with them like move them to Discussions without my permission, which I wouldn't even be surprised about, and also because they were so poorly written haha. I do also hope that your site will direct some new users here.
To your ease hun, imvu has absolutely no way of moving a thread like that to the discussions, thats basically why its so chaotic and really unhelpful. There wouldnt be any way of moving a tutorial with actual pictures in it though.

And those are great tips manda! I also found out with animated icons that the 1st frame of it is the one displayed as default, so it should be the one that shows a general idea of the product :)

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Re: To new creators: The DOs and DON'Ts of ICONS!

Post by BunnyCakes » Tue Mar 14, 2017 10:03 pm

I also agree with everyone that this is a very good information.
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