We are making great progress with supporting dark mode in Slicer (see here). However, our current icon set holds us back, as many of the icons are not very well visible/recognizable over dark background. Refreshing our icon set is also necessary because they have not been updated to match the much higher resolution of current displays. Also, many new icons were added, which don’t follow the style of the original Slicer icon set.
The question is, how could we get a new icon set and make sure we have a sustainable source of new icons for new features that are going to be added in the future?
- we should to get the complete new replacement icon in no more than 1-2 months
- we should be able to get new icons for new features in no more than 1-2 weeks
- we should be able to regenerate the icons at arbitrary resolutions (access to vector source)
- preferably icon source should be editable with free software (Inkscape)
- we should be able to host all the used icons in our public github repository
- we should be allowed to modify and combine icons
- extension developers should be able to create similar style icons (maybe with slightly different color scheme)
- Question: is it important that companies who develop Slicer-based products can use the icons without buying license (typically few hundred $)?
- design should be simple, but not too simple: monochrome line icons are probably too simple (it could be hard to create meaningful icons for complex features); full-color, gradient, 3D icons are not trendy in these years
- compatible with both light and dark background
Question: Any more requirements to add?
I’ve done some research and found that there could be two potential solutions for obtaining an icon set.
Option A. that there are very nice icon sets (containing thousands of icons), which could replace about 2/3 of our existing stock icons and could be used for constructing the remaining application-specific icons. This would allow us to get started quickly, create new icons in the future as needed (using/combining/customizing existing icons), and it would be inexpensive (probably a few hundred, worst case a few thousand ). The only limitation would be that we would not own the images, so companies that build products based on Slicer and use these icons would probably need to pay a few hundred .
Option B. Hire a designer, who would create custom icons for us. The cost could be about $20-$40/icon and maybe we could negotiate a deal that they transfer ownership of the icon to Slicer (into the public domain), but maybe not. We need 150 commonly used icons and about 60-80 custom icons, so the total cost could be about $5-10k. It could take a while to design these icons, and long-term sustainability could be a question (as we would not have thousands of pre-created icons that we could choose from when adding new features, but we would rely on the availability of a single person).
Question: Do we agree that Option A (starting from stock icon set) seems to be a better approach?
Finally, about the style:
- We probably don’t want complex, detailed, gradient, 3D-effect icons, as they are not trendy.
- There are duotone icons, which are solid icons using two colors in addition to the background color. These look nice, but usually the icon sets are much smaller, so it is not easy to find icon sets that cover most of our needs. Example:
- Line icons are nice and simple and trendy. With only a single color, they are pretty dull and hard to distinguish, but since we have access to the editable vector-graphics source of the icons, we can easily color them. They are easy to edit and combine them, since they are just lines. There are huge, inexpensive line icon sets, for example this:
For example, we can color (using open-source Inkscape editor) a line drawing icon by using this palette like this:
Question: Would line drawings with flat duotone-like coloring seem like a good style or there are other suggestions?