Icons run the gamut of graphical styles. From the earliest GUI days, the favorite has been a simple black outline style. As color has been added, the style has been that of coloring books, adding color within the black lines. This is a natural drawing style, especially when done on white backgrounds. Many icons are pictographic, while others are abstract.
The desktop, with its pervasive use of colored and medium-value backgrounds, uses both lighter and darker shades to create fairly realistic images. You are encouraged to explore this rendered style.
Another element of style is the point of view taken in portraying the object. The Common Desktop Environment uses a head on view, as can be seen in Figure 4-10, usually from slightly above if the object in question is a three-dimensional one, such as a printer. It is best to use a treatment that gives the icon a slight dimensional quality, as this reinforces the perception that the icon can be dragged and dropped.