I read something once about designing logos which explained a logo must work as a single color, so any important color separations must be accompanied by a transparent gap / path. Does this apply to icon design also?

In the spirit of bringing clarity to an interface I'm working on, I like the effect that a single color icon has visually, making the recognition of an icon among 10-20 on a screen easier on the eyes, increasing UX:

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  • Just thinking out loud: can you identify any situations that an icon would be required to be single color? There's logical reason for designing a logo around that principle, but I'm not sure the same applies for an icon.
    – JohnB
    Sep 28 '15 at 15:21
  • @JohnB I suppose in order to be recognizable at very small sizes, and also to fit into any imaginable interface design trend, ultra-simple included. Another idea that comes to mind is the use of the icon as infrastructure, such as an extruded sign. Also, we frequently print icons in grayscale in the news print ads I design, with not-so-great print quality I might add.
    – J.Todd
    Sep 28 '15 at 15:30
  • I think my question is a valid one, but in my interface, I've personally decided, after considering the Google Chrome logo, that a 4-color maximum will serve my purpose of keeping the icons simple enough for the users to recognize easily on a page of 10-20 icons. I think some designers may still be interested in a single color icon layout though, so I'll leave my question.
    – J.Todd
    Sep 28 '15 at 15:54

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