Icons, icons, icons. They’re everywhere – literally. There are over six right above this article. But what separates the good icons from the bad ones? It’s not the designer, but the time taken into creating them. The details that go into each and every pixel. Not being afraid to zoom in 1000% in Photoshop and Illustrator to fix the beak of Twitter’s Larry the bird, or to straighten the line of Forrst’s tree stump. With that said, there are many great icon sets out there. Simply searching “icon” in Dribbble will return well over 30,000 shots. Google? A lot of results.
Fonts, fonts, fonts. You get the point. Until now, there hasn’t been a merger of these two design elements. For the most part, they’ve remained separate. Until now, that is.
Enter Symbolset by the awesome designers at Oak (the same people who brought you Tattly, Dropmark, and Quarterly). This thing (first of its kind), is what you’d get if you overlapped text and icons. It’s a semantic symbol font that transforms text into icons as you type. It works in modern browsers and anywhere OpenType features are supported. And for those out of date browsers we so hate, it automatically degrades back to text providing true accessibility.
Standard and Social. Both fonts are monospaced to avoid horizontal alignment issues.
Standard provides you with 139 glyphs and 300 keywords. Think of them as the traditional icon set, but semantic. The checkmarks, user images, location, volume up, documents, like/dislike, etc. The shapes scale and remain clear at text sizes and were guided at 16, 24, and 32 pixel grids.
Social is just that, social. With 40 glyphs and 25 keywords, “hunt for that Facebook ‘f’ icon no more.” Twitter, Facebook, Pinterest, email, Blogger, Instagram, etc. – all covered. It comes in two styles: SS Social Regular and SS Social Circle. “Changing the style of your symbols is as easy as changing fonts.”
The only negative that I see is the fact that the icon sets are not yet available. However, on the launch site, you can preview a few icons and test out their “semanticness.” Symbolset is currently taking $15 pre-orders for its Standard set. By pre-ordering, you’ll save 50% pre-launch. But the offer ends June 29th (the day it ships), so check it out soon!