Getting Bold or Outline Type Icons Can Make A Difference to Your Singapore Online Presence

Getting Bold or Outline Type Icons Can Make A Difference

Apps can be designed, developed and fully operationalized in a matter of a day or days in the current age of technology. Therefore, to distinguish your apps from those of your competitors, there is a need to make your apps’ features like icons, more visible. The visibility of the icons assists the app’s users in recognizing them fast, expediting the choosing process in turn. That is where bold, and outline icons come in. This article is going to look at how the design of your icons makes the difference to the traffic your app achieves.

Solid Vs. Outline Icons

The metric used to gauge the performance of an app’s icon is based on two factors. The first one is ease of recognition and the second, the time taken to choose the icon of choice. The branding of icons plays a significant role in the overall performance of an app. The efficiency of an app is called task performance. This metric is determined by the speed and precision of settling on a given icon which plays an integral role in online marketing.

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Some icons are easy to spot and choose amongst several icons than others. According to research, solid icons tend to be noticed fast while others are difficult to locate depending on their design. The differences in design can be attributed to characteristic cues.

Characteristic Cues

The packed nature of a website can make it very strenuous to find a prompt or icon fast which can be demoralizing to a user. However, attaching some subtle but recognizable features to the icons, makes the icons unique and noticeable even to the untrained eye. These features are known as characteristic cues.

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To put characteristic cues into perspective, they are best illustrated by an example. The comment icon has a tail-like feature which makes it stand out as a comment icon. The graphic on the tail acts as the characteristic cue of a comment icon. Failing to include the characteristic signals on the comment icon, distorts the meaning the icon is supposed to transmit.

Hence, to increase the efficiency of an app, its icons need to have unique characteristic cues to enhance its recognition and choosing power.

Benefits of Outline Icons

Outline icons use a hollow layout to bring out the best out of the protruding edges of icons. Outline icons feature simple but elaborate features which are best brought out by an outlined icon. The outline icons are noticeable and get chosen fast.

Characteristic of some icons are highlighted better by the outline design as compared to the solid model. Some of the icons that use the outline pattern include the key icon, junk can, and the comment logo. These logos are adequately represented by the outline style.

Benefits of A Solid Icons

According to many user experience designers, solid outlines are a common icon design. The popularity of solid icons is attached to their actual representation of these objects in real-life situations. Hence, people relate to solid icons more.

Icons with a thin outline near the protrusion representing the characteristic cue should be designed using the solid style. The dark appearance brought by the solid style represents these types of icons comprehensively.

When Design Is of No Essence

According to research, there are icon designs that did not bear any importance in the ease of choosing or using an icon. Examples of these kinds of icons include a flag sign, a star logo, and a shopping trolley.

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In the event the type of icon does not have any bearing on the ease of recognition, it means that the icon has a large surface area which makes the icon more recognizable. The visibility works in the icon’s favor by making it stand out among other icons for easy recognition and selection.

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Button Key’s Icon Design

For the longest time, the solid outline has always been used to annotate active buttons in an app. However, this practice has been passed by time and instead, the outline design has been currently adopted in the designing of icons.

The accentuation of active buttons using the bold style diverts all the attention to active buttons and overlooking passive buttons. Instead, the inactive buttons should be highlighted by the solid design as compared to the outline design to attract more attention to them.

The bold design can be uses as a branding strategy for inactive buttons to make them more visible and usable.


The success of icons in an app is based on the ease of recognition. The ease of recognition is measured by the identification rate. Bold icons are ideal for gaining high identification rates. However, the style has compromises which should be adhered to for enhanced user experience. And the choice icons should be consistent to avoid confusion and clattering on an app.


About the Author

Tom Koh

Tom is the CEO and Principal Consultant of MediaOne, a leading digital marketing agency. He has consulted for MNCs like Canon, Maybank, Capitaland, SingTel, ST Engineering, WWF, Cambridge University, as well as Government organisations like Enterprise Singapore, Ministry of Law, National Galleries, NTUC, e2i, SingHealth. His articles are published and referenced in CNA, Straits Times, MoneyFM, Financial Times, Yahoo! Finance, Hubspot, Zendesk, CIO Advisor.


Search Engine Optimisation (SEO)

Search Engine Marketing (SEM)

Social Media




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