Iconography in Windows 11

Iconography is a set of visual images and symbols that help users understand and move through your app. Icons are used throughout the user interface as visual metaphors that represent a concept, action, or status.

Windows 11 uses three types of icons: application, system, and file type. This article focuses on the first two.

Application icons

An abstract application icon for a hypothetical maps app.

Application icons represent your app in the Windows shell. They're primarily used to open your application, but they also represent your app wherever it appears in the Windows shell.

App icons should represent your app's core functionality through a metaphor. For more information about designing and constructing your app's icon, see Iconography in Windows.

System icons

A shopping cart icon from Segoe Fluent Icons.

Windows 11 introduces a new system icon font, Segoe Fluent Icons. This new font complements geometry in Windows 11.

All glyphs in Segoe Fluent Icons are drawn in a monoline style. That means they're created through a single stroke of 1 epx.

Glyphs in Segoe Fluent Icons follow three aesthetic principles:

  • Minimal: Glyphs contain only the details that are necessary to communicate the concept.
  • Harmonious: Glyphs are based on simple and geometric forms.
  • Evolved: Glyphs use modern metaphors that are easily understood.


A properly sized printer icon.

Font metrics for Segoe Fluent Icons match how designers and developers are accustomed to working with SVG and bitmap icons.

Each font glyph is designed so that the footprint of the icon area is a square em. An icon with a 16-epx font size is the equivalent of a 16x16-epx icon, to make sizing and positioning more predictable.


You can visually construct system icon glyphs by combining a base icon with a modifier icon.

Base icons are the main element of a visual metaphor. Base elements should occupy the entire icon footprint.

Modifier icons modify the meaning of the base icon. Modifier elements should be placed in one of the bottom quadrants of the icon footprint.

A file icon.

Base icon only
On its own, the paper sheet icon communicates the concept of a file.

A file icon overlayed with an up arrow icon.

Base icon + modifier icon
Adding an up arrow to the file icon changes the meaning of the icon to represent an uploaded file.


Icon layering is a technique that you use to overlap two glyphs. We recommend using icon layering to create a different state of the same icon (for example, an active or selected state).

A black and white folder icon plus a beige folder icon with no outlines equals a beige folder icon with a black outline.


Understand the cultural connotations of symbols. Although iconography doesn't require localization in most cases, certain icons might be acceptable in one culture but not in another. Validate your iconography choices with the context in which you'll use them.



Open the WinUI 3 Gallery app and see Iconography principles in action. The WinUI 3 Gallery app includes interactive examples of most WinUI 3 controls, features, and functionality. Get the app from the Microsoft Store or get the source code on GitHub