Earlier in the beta period, we put out a call here on the development blog for designers in the WordPress community who might be interested in designing custom icons for the 2.7 admin interface. Over a dozen icon designers from around the world responded, so rather than choose just one, we decided to turn the icon design assignment into a contest so that more people could participate and the community could have a vote in what the new icons should look like.

Once we decided to go with a contest format instead of a single-designer gig, about half the original volunteers changed their minds. The remaining designers each submitted two icons (Posts, Links) in their proposed style. At this stage a couple of designers were thanked for their submissions but eliminated from the competition because their icons were considered too far afield from the WordPress visual style. The remaining designers were given feedback on the icons they had submitted and given about a week to complete the icon set for the menu as well as the list/excerpt icons that are shown on the Edit Posts screen. All but one of these designers finished a complete set, giving us five sets in total.

So now we need to choose a direction. For each of the icon sets, we’ll show you the set itself, the designer’s introduction, and some feedback from the lead developers. After you’ve reviewed all five, place your vote for the set you think has the visual style that is the most suitable for WordPress 2.7. This will be followed by additional votes on specific icons, so if you like the specific image used in one set but like the style of another, you can vote to change the metaphor for a given icon. You’ll also be able to leave general feedback throughout the voting process. When voting has concluded, we’ll review the comments and the votes, and will declare a winner.

Things to bear in mind when making your selections:
A week is not a long time to create 13 icons. The winning set will undergo a revision to be refined, and some icons may be substituted. We asked for all icons in grayscale for the contest. An “on” state and a larger size for screen headers will be designed by the winner. It seemed like too much work to have everyone do multiple states for so many icons.

Ready? Go and take the icon survey. Voting will remain open for 48 hours from the time of this post to allow people from all time zones a chance to participate before we close the survey and make a decision (since we’d like to include the new icons in Beta 3).

A Note Regarding the 2.7 Release Date:
As we approach Beta 3, bug tickets continue to be added to Trac, the pain of making things look good in IE6 continues to be felt, and the need to improve accessibility looms. If you love WordPress, are a decent coder, and want to contribute like these icon designers contributed, please consider contributing a patch to help with one of these efforts. Jump right in on current Trac tickets, or pop into the #wordpress-dev IRC channel to ask what to do.