In web design, it’s important to balance the elements that you put on your page so that they are creative but also obvious in terms of their function. As an example of this, let’s look at social media buttons. These are also called social media icons. These generally appear as small logos corresponding to the site that they allow a person to share the content they are associated with on.
There are innumerable different variations on social media icons designed to work with WordPress themes and that can be included in custom-designed sites. These icons are oftentimes created so that they have a common unity of design between them.
For instance, there are social media icons available that have the look of stained glass to them. Each icon for each individual social networking service will use that same stained-glass feel in these particular sets while still having the logo of the network that applies.
Consider that the entire point of a logo is to foster instant brand recognition in the viewer.
When you see a Coca-Cola logo, you instantly associate it with the brand, the company and the beverage. The same is true of a Facebook logo, a Twitter logo or any other social networking logo. The idea is to make something instantly recognizable that is still small enough to be included on the website without crowding out other content.
If the design of that social media icon is so ornate that people can no longer instantly recognize it for what it is, then the design has rather defeated the entire purpose of having the icon on the page in the first place.
Stylized icons are great, but make certain that they are still easily recognizable as being associated with a given social network. If they are not, they may just come off as more noise on your website and it may make it difficult for people to realize that they could impulsively share whatever they’re reading on your website with the people on their social networking page.
This applies to any other type of design element that is intended to make function obvious. Striking that fine line between form and function is something that requires very real skill. This is why, in many cases, it’s better to go with professionally designed website elements than to use free ones, as the free ones are oftentimes interesting, but not particularly effective.