I'm a graphic designer for webdesign and advertisement also other graphical departments.
I suggest making the icons "soft". You can get a soft look if you add a "inner shadow" with the depth of 2, opacity at 50% and blur set at either 2 or 3, for a soft look - as an example of what I mean by soft (in photoshop of course). Use different colours to give identification. Try not to make it too complicated looking.
Turn the text into links. So say in the City Report view somewhere it says "Tax" Then that word "Tax" would be highlighted yellow and maybe underlined. so when you click on it you go straight to the tax window.
When you say screens I am guessing you mean the background screens of information on your civilization, Intelligence, city, foriegn advisor. I think instead of having just a background and written words on top of it, you should have a constructed image especially made for each subject.
So lets say in the stone ages, the information could be carved into stone, or something like that? something to represent the age. In the future you see it on computer. etc.
Another idea is to have the advisor stand there showing you his/hers report.
Just try not to make it all look too complicated. use soft colours and make the images look soft.
Make it all professional looking, top notch, fit for a king type stuff.
<font size=1 face=Arial color=444444>[This message has been edited by Icedan (edited October 17, 1999).]</font>