I came across these interesting icons on IBM’s site today, which are all part of creating a smarter planet, whatever that means. I’m trying to decide what I think of them.
While they are quirky and interesting to look at, most of them don’t convey any sort of meaning, which I believe is an important component of a good icon.
Nor do they scale very well, as you can see from their use in the mega menu below:
What’s also interesting is that many of these icons have avoided following any conventions for how certain icons should look.
For example, the security icon does not include a representation of a lock and the analytics icon does not use any kind of graph or chart in its design.
I imagine that they represent part of a larger branding initiative, which you can see when you click through to a page represented by an icon. However, it’s questionable whether this is more important than actually making the icons useful.
At the end of the day, these icons are clever but are they any good?