Metaphors, Idioms and Why the Save Icon is Broken

Metaphors are great, until they lose their meaning. Then they become confusing, seemingly arbitrary phrases to those not in the know. The save icon is an idiom in visual form and there’s nothing good about that.

In a recent post I promised to write a follow-up article on why the save icon was “objectively” broken. I know this topic has run its course, so I will keep this brief. I’ve started to think more broadly about this save icon subject—specifically around using metaphors in design. The metaphors for computing concepts established decades ago are starting to show their age and time has exposed the weaknesses of relying too heavily on them.

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Font-Embedding Icons the Right Way—A Legitimate Alternative to Images

Using fonts to display icons have shown potential but carry significant downsides. A slight adjustment to the method makes it ready for primetime.

When I released Iconic in font format it got a lot of positive feedback. However, it had one significant technical issues that kept it from being practical. The glyphs in the font had no logical assignment to Unicode characters, making the output semantically unsound. A few months back, Philip Shaw shared a much improved method for glyph assignment which I have implemented in the current version of Iconic. I thought it would be worthwhile to share that approach so that others may adopt it and that a standard can hopefully form. Continue reading “Font-Embedding Icons the Right Way—A Legitimate Alternative to Images”

More Iconic Updates

While it may look like not too much is going on at this site, there’s actually a lot of very small things happening. I have not had the time to devote to a full article (although I have my next big article about 50% written) but I have been working on a refresh of the site as well as releasing a small update to Iconic. The last significant update was when I simultaneously wrote about using embedded fonts for icons and added a font face to the Iconic download. As new icons come to mind or are recommended, I try to add to the set. I have had the chance to grow the collection by three new icons (one with two styles). Continue reading “More Iconic Updates”

Font-Embedding Icons: This Is a Big Deal

Update: This process has been refined. Read the blog post which describes the new method in detail.

A little over a week ago, Wayne Helman posted an article proposing the use of @font-face for displaying icons. The article was well-received, but I was honestly expecting more excitement around this idea. From my view, this now seems like the way to set icons in a site. I feel strongly about the potential of this method, so I thought I would take the time to generate a font set for Iconic and to talk about why we should all be using this method for displaying icons.

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