I recently spoke with an engineer who requested that I edit all our existing icons (we have about 50 of them) to remove the extra margin I was putting around them so it would be easier for her to style the page. I was using the padding/margin for a bit of consistency as I designed the icons but I am wondering if there is any downside to providing engineers icons with no margin (basically the artboard comes right up to all four edges of each icon).
Maintaining a padding within the original file is a good way to make sure every shape gets it’s appropriate margin. Especially when the icon is not symmetrical, simple centering can lead to unbalanced results.
When looking at type, the same applies to kerning. While straight lines need more space between them, curvy shapes can remain closer together.