Skip to content

Most visited

Recently visited

navigation

Menu Icons

New Guides for App Designers!

Check out the new documents for designers at Android Design, including more guidelines for Iconography.

Menu icons are graphical elements placed in the options menu shown to users when they press the Menu button. They are drawn in a flat-front perspective and in greyscale. Elements in a menu icon must not be visualized in 3D or perspective.

As described in Providing Density-Specific Icon Sets and Supporting Multiple Screens, you should create separate icons for all generalized screen densities, including low-, medium-, high-, and extra-high-density screens. This ensures that your icons will display properly across the range of devices on which your application can be installed. See Tips for Designers for suggestions on how to work with multiple sets of icons.

Final art must be exported as a transparent PNG file. Do not include a background color.

Templates for creating icons in Adobe Photoshop are available in the Icon Templates Pack.

Android 3.0 and Later

As of Android 3.0, the options menu has been superseded by the Action Bar. Please refer to the Action Bar Icon Design Guidelines for recommendations on creating icons for action items.

Android 2.3

Caution: The style and content sizing of menu icons have changed in Android 2.3 compared to previous versions:
1. Icons have a larger safe frame; icon content is smaller within the full asset. Final asset sizes have not changed.
2. The color palette is slightly lighter.
3. No outer glow effects are applied.
4. Menu icons can now be rendered on either dark or light backgrounds.

The following guidelines describe how to design menu icons for Android 2.3 (API Levels 9 and 10).

Size and positioning

Menu icons can use a variety of shapes and forms and must be scaled and positioned inside the asset to create consistent visual weight with other icons.

Figure 1 illustrates various ways of positioning the icon inside the asset. You should size the icons smaller than the actual bounds of the asset, to create a consistent visual weight. If your icon is square or nearly square, it should be scaled even smaller.

In order to indicate the recommended size for the icon, each example in Figure 1 includes three different guide rectangles:

  • The red box is the bounding box for the full asset.
  • The blue box is the recommended bounding box for the actual icon. The icon box is sized smaller than the full asset box to allow for varying icon shapes while maintaining a consistent visual weight.
  • The orange box is the recommended bounding box for the actual icon when the content is square. The box for square icons is smaller than that for other icons to establish a consistent visual weight across the two types.
  1. Menu icon dimensions for high-density (hdpi) screens:
    1. Full Asset: 72 x 72 px
    2. Icon: 48 x 48 px
    3. Square Icon: 44 x 44 px
  1. Menu icon dimensions for medium-density (mdpi) screens:
    1. Full Asset: 48 x 48 px
    2. Icon: 32 x 32 px
    3. Square Icon: 30 x 30 px
  1. Menu icon dimensions for low-density (ldpi) screens:
    1. Full Asset: 36 x 36 px
    2. Icon: 24 x 24 px
    3. Square Icon: 22 x 22 px

Figure 1. Menu icon sizing and positioning inside the bounds of the icon asset.

Style, colors, and effects

Menu icons are flat, pictured face on, and greyscale. A slight deboss and some other effects, which are shown below, are used to create depth. Menu icons should include rounded corners, but only when logically appropriate.

In order to maintain consistency, all menu icons must use the same color palette and effects, as shown in Figure 2.

A view of light, effects, and shadows for menu icons.

Figure 2. Style, light and effects for menu icons.

Note: all pixel dimensions are for medium density and should be scaled appropriately for other densities.

1.Corner rounding:2 pixel corner radius, when appropriate

2.Fill gradient:90°, from #8C8C8C to #B2B2B2

3.Inner shadow:#000000, 20% opacity
angle 90°
distance 2px
size 2px

4.Inner bevel:depth 1%
direction down
size 0px
angle 90°
altitude 10°
highlight #ffffff, 70% opacity
shadow #000000, 25% opacity

Do's and don'ts

Below are some "do and don't" examples to consider when creating menu icons for your application.

Example icons

Shown below are standard high-density menu icons that are used in the Android platform.

Warning: Because these resources can change between platform versions, you should not reference these icons using the Android platform resource IDs (i.e. menu icons under android.R.drawable). If you want to use any icons or other internal drawable resources, you should store a local copy of those icons or drawables in your application resources, then reference the local copy from your application code. In that way, you can maintain control over the appearance of your icons, even if the system's copy changes. Note that the grid below is not intended to be complete.

Android 2.2 and Earlier

The following guidelines describe how to design menu icons for Android 2.2 (API Level 4) and earlier. Menu icons in Android 2.2 and below are drawn in a flat-front perspective. Elements in a menu icon must not be visualized in 3D or perspective.

Structure

  • In order to maintain consistency, all menu icons must use the same primary palette and the same effects. For more information, see the menu icon color palette.
  • Menu icons should include rounded corners, but only when logically appropriate. For example, in Figure 3 the logical place for rounded corners is the roof and not the rest of the building.
  • All dimensions specified on this page are based on a 48x48 pixel artboard size with a 6 pixel safeframe.
  • The menu icon effect (the outer glow) described in Light, effects, and shadows can overlap the 6px safeframe, but only when necessary. The base shape must always stay inside the safeframe.
  • Final art must be exported as a transparent PNG file.
  • Templates for creating menu icons in Adobe Photoshop are available in the Icon Templates Pack.
A view of menu
icon structure.

Figure 3. Safeframe and corner-rounding for menu icons. Icon size is 48x48.

Light, effects, and shadows

Menu icons are flat and pictured face on. A slight deboss and some other effects, which are shown below, are used to create depth.

A view of light, effects, and shadows for launcher icons.

Figure 4. Light, effects, and shadows for launcher icons.

1.Front part:Use fill gradient from primary color palette
2.Inner shadow:black | 20 % opacity
angle 90° | distance 2px
size 2px
3.Outer glow:white | 55% opacity
spread 10% | size 3px
5.Inner bevel:depth 1% | direction down size 0px
angle 90° | altitude 10°
highlight white 70% opacity
shadow black 25% opacity

Color palette

White
r 255 | g 255 | b 255
Used for outer glow and bevel highlight.
Fill gradient
1:  r 163 | g 163 | b 163
2:  r 120 | g 120 | b 120
Used as color fill.
Black
r 0 | g 0 | b 0
Used for inner shadow and bevel shadow.

Step by step

  1. Create the basic shapes using a tool like Adobe Illustrator.
  2. Import the shape into a tool like Adobe Photoshop and scale to fit an image of 48x48 px on a transparent background. Mind the safeframe.
  3. Add the effects seen as described in Figure 4.
  4. Export the icon at 48x48 as a PNG file with transparency enabled.
This site uses cookies to store your preferences for site-specific language and display options.

Hooray!

This class requires API level or higher

This doc is hidden because your selected API level for the documentation is . You can change the documentation API level with the selector above the left navigation.

For more information about specifying the API level your app requires, read Supporting Different Platform Versions.