ARK: Survival Evolved (2017) Game Icons and Banners

ARK: Survival Evolved, released in 2017, has captivated millions of players with its unique blend of survival mechanics, dinosaur taming, and multiplayer interactions. One of the game’s most distinctive features is its extensive use of icons and banners, which play a crucial role in gameplay, communication, and player expression.

This article delves into the significance of these visual elements, exploring their design, functionality, and impact on the ARK gaming experience.

Understanding ARK: Survival Evolved

Game Background

ARK: Survival Evolved is an action-adventure survival game developed by Studio Wildcard. Set in a prehistoric-themed open world, players must survive in a harsh environment populated by dinosaurs and other extinct creatures.

The game’s unique selling point is the ability to tame, train, and ride these prehistoric beasts, using them for transportation, combat, and resource gathering.

Key Features and Gameplay Mechanics

  • Survival elements: Players must manage hunger, thirst, and temperature while gathering resources and crafting items.
  • Dinosaur taming: A core mechanic allows players to capture and domesticate various prehistoric creatures.
  • Base building: Players can construct elaborate structures for protection and resource storage.
  • Multiplayer interaction: The game supports both cooperative and competitive play across various server types.
  • Progression system: Characters level up and unlock new crafting recipes as they gain experience.

Popularity and Player Base

Since its release, ARK: Survival Evolved has maintained a strong and dedicated player base. Its unique concept and regular content updates have contributed to its longevity in the competitive gaming market. The game’s success has led to multiple expansions, spin-offs, and a planned sequel, ARK 2.

The Significance of Icons in ARK: Survival Evolved

The Significance of Icons in ARK Survival Evolved

Types of Icons in the Game

ARK utilizes a wide array of icons to represent various game elements:

  • Item icons: Representing tools, weapons, resources, and craftable objects
  • Creature icons: Depicting different species of dinosaurs and other tameable animals
  • Status effect icons: Indicating buffs, debuffs, and environmental conditions
  • UI icons: Used in menus, inventories, and crafting interfaces
  • Map icons: Marking locations, structures, and points of interest

How Icons Enhance Gameplay

Icons serve several crucial functions in ARK:

  1. Information conveyance: Quickly communicating important data to players
  2. Inventory management: Facilitating easy organization and identification of items
  3. Learning curve assistance: Helping new players understand game mechanics
  4. Aesthetic appeal: Contributing to the game’s visual identity and immersion

Examples of Essential Icons

Some of the most important icons in ARK include:

  • Resource icons (wood, stone, metal, etc.)
  • Tool and weapon icons (pickaxe, hatchet, bow, etc.)
  • Dinosaur icons (used in taming interfaces and tribe management)
  • Crafting station icons (campfire, forge, fabricator, etc.)
  • Status effect icons (hunger, thirst, temperature, encumbrance)

Design Elements of Game Icons

Visual Aesthetics

The icons in ARK: Survival Evolved are designed with a distinctive art style that blends prehistoric themes with futuristic elements.

This unique aesthetic helps set the game apart from other survival titles and reinforces its sci-fi dinosaur concept.

Key aspects of ARK’s icon design include:

  • Detailed illustrations that capture the essence of each item or creature
  • A balance between realism and stylization to maintain clarity at small sizes
  • Use of perspective and shading to create a sense of depth and dimensionality

Color Schemes and Symbolism

Color plays a crucial role in ARK’s icon design:

  • Rarity tiers: Different colors indicate item quality (white for common, blue for rare, etc.)
  • Resource types: Consistent color coding helps players quickly identify materials
  • Status effects: Colors convey the nature of buffs and debuffs (red for negative, green for positive)

Symbolism is also employed to reinforce meaning:

  • Creature icons often incorporate elements that hint at the animal’s abilities or characteristics
  • Tech-tier items feature glowing elements and sleek designs to convey their advanced nature
  • Primitive tools and weapons have a rougher, more organic appearance

Consistency and Recognition

Maintaining a consistent design language across all icons is crucial for player recognition and ease of use. ARK achieves this through:

  • Uniform border styles and background treatments
  • Consistent lighting and shading techniques
  • Recurring motifs and design elements that tie into the game’s overall aesthetic

The Role of Banners in ARK: Survival Evolved

The Role of Banners in ARK: Survival Evolved

Types of Banners and Their Uses

Banners in ARK serve both functional and decorative purposes:

  1. Tribe banners: Representing player groups and alliances
  2. Territory markers: Claiming land and resources
  3. Decorative elements: Personalizing bases and structures
  4. Event signage: Highlighting special in-game events or areas

Crafting and Customization Options

Players can craft banners using various in-game resources and customize them with:

  • Different shapes and sizes
  • A wide range of colors and patterns
  • Unique emblems and designs
  • Text options for naming and labeling

Strategic Importance of Banners

Beyond their aesthetic value, banners play a strategic role in ARK:

  • Territorial control: Marking claimed areas and resources
  • Tribe identification: Helping players recognize allies and enemies
  • Navigation aids: Serving as landmarks in the vast game world
  • Community building: Fostering a sense of belonging and shared identity among tribe members

Creating Custom Icons and Banners

Tools and Resources for Design

Players and modders can create custom icons and banners using:

  • Image editing software (e.g., Photoshop, GIMP)
  • 3D modeling programs for more complex designs
  • ARK Development Kit (DevKit) for advanced modding

Step-by-Step Guide to Customization

  1. Familiarize yourself with ARK’s existing icon and banner styles
  2. Sketch your design concept, considering size and clarity
  3. Create or modify the image using appropriate software
  4. Export the design in a compatible format (usually .png)
  5. Implement the custom icon or banner through modding or in-game crafting

Tips for Effective Design

  • Maintain consistency with ARK’s established aesthetic
  • Ensure visibility and recognition at various sizes
  • Consider color-blindness accessibility in your designs
  • Test your creations in different lighting conditions within the game

Impact of Icons and Banners on Player Experience

Enhancing Immersion and Engagement

Well-designed icons and banners contribute significantly to player immersion by:

  • Reinforcing the game’s prehistoric-meets-futuristic theme
  • Providing visual feedback that aligns with player actions
  • Creating a cohesive and believable game world

Facilitating Communication and Coordination

In multiplayer scenarios, icons and banners become essential communication tools:

  • Quick identification of items and resources during trades
  • Easy recognition of tribal affiliations and territories
  • Non-verbal communication through strategically placed banners

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Boosting Player Creativity and Expression

The ability to create and display custom icons and banners allows players to:

  • Express their individuality within the game world
  • Showcase artistic skills and creativity
  • Build unique identities for their characters and tribes

Community Contributions and Modding

Popular Mods Featuring Icons and Banners

The ARK modding community has created numerous mods that expand upon the game’s icon and banner systems:

  • Enhanced UI mods with custom icons
  • Additional banner designs and customization options
  • New crafting recipes for unique decorative items

How to Install and Use Mods

  1. Subscribe to desired mods through the Steam Workshop
  2. Ensure mods are enabled in the game’s launch options
  3. Configure mod settings in-game or through configuration files
  4. Enjoy the new content and features

Celebrating Player Creativity

Studio Wildcard often showcases community creations, including custom icons and banners, through:

  • Official social media channels
  • Community spotlights on the ARK website
  • In-game events featuring player-made content

Marketing and Branding with Icons and Banners

Marketing and Branding with Icons and Banners

Promoting Events and Campaigns

ARK’s developers utilize icons and banners for marketing purposes:

  • Seasonal event promotions with themed icons
  • New content teasers featuring distinctive imagery
  • Cross-promotion with other games or brands using special icons

Building a Community Identity

The ARK community has embraced icons and banners as part of its identity:

  • Fan art and merchandise featuring popular game icons
  • Community-run events with custom banners
  • Tribal emblems becoming recognizable symbols within the player base

Leveraging Social Media and Content Creation

Content creators and streamers often use ARK’s icons and banners in their work:

  • Thumbnail designs featuring game icons
  • Custom overlays for streaming incorporating ARK’s visual elements
  • Social media profiles themed around favorite creatures or items

Future Trends in Game Icons and Banners

Innovations in Design Technology

As technology advances, we may see:

  • More dynamic and interactive icons
  • Increased use of 3D elements in icon design
  • AI-assisted generation of custom icons and banners

Predictions for Upcoming Features

Potential future developments could include:

  • Animated icons and banners
  • Holographic or projected in-game banners
  • Integration with augmented reality for mobile ARK experiences

How ARK Continues to Evolve

Studio Wildcard’s commitment to updating ARK suggests we might see:

  • Continual refinement of existing icons and UI elements
  • Introduction of new icon sets for future expansions
  • Enhanced customization options for player-created content


Icons and banners are far more than mere visual flourishes in ARK: Survival Evolved. They are integral components of the game’s design, contributing significantly to gameplay mechanics, player communication, and community expression. As ARK continues to evolve and expand, these visual elements will undoubtedly play a crucial role in shaping the future of the game and its dedicated player base.

From enhancing the user interface to fostering creativity and strategic gameplay, icons and banners have become synonymous with the ARK experience. Their impact extends beyond the game itself, influencing marketing, content creation, and community building. As we look to the future of ARK and its planned sequel, it’s clear that these small but mighty visual elements will continue to be a defining feature of the franchise.


How do I create a custom banner in ARK: Survival Evolved?

To create a custom banner in ARK:

  1. Craft a banner using the required materials at a crafting station
  2. Access the banner’s inventory
  3. Use the customization interface to select colors, patterns, and emblems
  4. Apply your changes and place the banner in your desired location

Can I use custom icons in ARK without mods?

No, custom icons typically require mods or changes to the game files. ARK does not natively support custom icon implementation without modding.

What is the significance of different colored item icons in ARK?

Color-coded item icons in ARK indicate rarity and quality:

  • White: Common items
  • Green: Uncommon items
  • Blue: Rare items
  • Purple: Epic items
  • Orange/Gold: Legendary items

Are there any restrictions on banner designs in multiplayer servers?

Some multiplayer servers may have rules regarding banner content to maintain a family-friendly environment or prevent offensive designs. Always check server guidelines before creating custom banners.

How often does ARK update its icon designs?

ARK periodically updates and refines its icons with major game updates and expansions. However, the frequency varies, and not all updates include icon changes.

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