Icons, like all elements of good design, must have a clear purpose
Using icons to make a site ‘pretty’ is not the best way of making your site user-friendly. If your site is visually overcrowded, then even the prettiest icons will lose their shine without meaning or purpose. While icons can bring cohesion and meaning to your design, having text alongside the icons is vital for users. And in accordance with the principle of consistency (which we love!), the icon used should reflect its name. Best example being a magnifying glass universally used to represent the search function.
It’s also very important to find the balance between icons and other graphical elements, such as images. If the icon is too subtle, they can get lost. But make icons too prominent and they overcrowd your design.
Why use icons?
With limited real estate, iconography in the digital domain is used to bring text to life, keeping the website clean and simple.
Text-only instructions make for strenuous reading, especially with limited attention spans. Text is easier to understand with the inclusion of well-paced icons. The right amount of white space is part of the equation, but strategically placed icons serve to summarise as well as enhance
Will text suffice?
Once you have considered the detail, stand back and ask yourself if text will suffice. If text will do the job, then let it. The internet is cluttered enough as it is.
If you decide to go with an icon … remember, all icons need to be uniform across the whole of the Macquarie site, so should not be inserted unless first liaising with the Digital Marketing Team, so as to maintain consistency of brand and language.