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Site Graphics and Multimedia Design Forum

Icons for applications
needed: professional icons for web interfaces

 8:22 am on Apr 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

Does anybody know a good resource for this kind of thing?



 5:55 pm on Apr 11, 2001 (gmt 0)

Iconfactory is a legend in the web/desktop icon world, their work tends towards an abstract/stylized/cartoony look... I believe they charge for rights to use their icons online though. There's also another site: MOZCO !garash! Icon... Don't know what subject matter you're looking for, but his icons are almost photo-realistic.

All in all, if I were going to be using the icons in a public website, or commercial application though, I'd take the time to make them myself... or hire someone to do custom work for me. That said, you could probably hire either of the aforementioned folks to build some custom icons for you.

<added>Ahh yes... before I forget! Welcome to WmW joshie. Hope you find us all helpful!</added>


 8:28 am on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks Mivox.

I am quite handy with a scanner, photoshop and fireworks but I find icons to be really time consuming. I'll have a look at these fella's prices etc. Don't suppose you have any tricks up your sleeve to speed things up?


 8:02 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hints for icons? I often start with a large clip art collection. Since the large collections seem to have 'clusters' of graphics by the same artists, I'll try to find a handful of coordinating bits of simple clip-art silhouettes or very bold images, and then edit the heck out of them... Colorizing, bevelling, etc., etc... I tinker with one image until I get it the way I want, writing down the settings for all the edits and filters I use, so I can refer back to my notes when processing the rest of the set.

If I can't find a 'matched set', the editing takes a bit longer. On my personal site, I took some clip art and some original images, and PhotoShopped the heck out of them, until they all had a more-or-less coordinated look. However, on my primary employer's site, I did all the icons myself from scratch... which is very time consuming. see profile for URLs

OTOH, I really enjoy making icons, so the time spent doesn't bother me. Designing a small, ultimately simple image that really communicates a specific idea is a terrific conceptual challenge.


 10:26 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

> Designing a small, ultimately simple image that really communicates a specific idea is a terrific conceptual challenge.

This is total magic to me. I fancy myself to be pretty adept with Photoshop, but I've tried to make icons and I've had nothing but miserable failures. I look at my Windows system tray and see very realistic images of a mouse and two computers connected to each other. Every time I try my hand at it, I wind up with a 32x32 smudge.


 10:37 pm on Apr 12, 2001 (gmt 0)

Well, my icon style tends to lean more towards stylized symbolic images. As for photorealistic icons... it's fairly baffling to me as well. I'm also not defining "icon" as just the little pictures that show up on the computer desktop. Any image used repeatedly to convery a certain meaning is an icon in my book.

Every site you go to with a little envelope graphic as their email link... a little house for their home page link... the industrial "man" and "woman" images you see on public restroom doors... it's all icons to me.

If you want to see some really stunningly realistic desktop-type icons though, visit the mozco !GARASH! [tcp-ip.or.jp] site I mentioned above... Puts Windows icons to shame.


 2:08 pm on Apr 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

>using photoshop...

The problem is that you are starting in photoshop. If you start your work in a vector based program like Freehand or Illustrator you will have a clean crisp two dimensional image that you can then rasterize and see how it resolves at 32x32.


 7:08 pm on Apr 16, 2001 (gmt 0)

Very true... I haven't used FreeHand much for years, except when I'm building fonts. But a vector program is a great place to generate & keep original images for maximum flexibility.

Speaking of which... another great way to make scalable 1 color icons would be to use a vector program to draw the images, and then import them into a font generating program, and then save all the images into your own TrueType dingbat icon font... (I'm good at making things more complicated than they need to be! :) )


 1:00 am on Apr 18, 2001 (gmt 0)


Just checking in... any luck with your icons yet?


 7:59 am on Apr 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

Hi Mivox

I've been too busy to do too much about it at the moment but last night I spent about half an hour tinkering with Illustrator. Using a large scale drawings and rasterising them down to the required size yielded some pretty impressive results for 30 mins work.

Whilst I have a lot more tinkering to do I think this would make a great workshop as there are a couple of little tricks you can play to ensure the smaller pixelated icon looks as you want (ie Much thicker lines than you think you would need).

I'll keep you updated and if I do any nice ones Ill post them up somewhere so you can steal/review them.



 4:27 pm on Apr 18, 2001 (gmt 0)


Been taking my 'playing' with icons a little bit more seriously this afternoon and I have finally found a use for Fireworks. I haven't been such a big fan of this app until I tried designing icons with it.

It's excellent!! Use the vector drawing tools and some cleverly oriented gradient fills for some seriously professional results.



 6:29 pm on Apr 18, 2001 (gmt 0)

if I do any nice ones Ill post them up somewhere so you can steal/review them

LOL! Thanks... I do always like to see other people's work. Not so much for stealing as for, err, "inspirational" purposes.

Any yeah, there are some very odd things about very small graphics (like the thicker lines trick) that you'd really never think of until you shrink a nice image and it looks like garbage all of a sudden.


 5:25 am on Apr 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

hey y'all,
if your interested in making your own icons a nifty little program i have found is Microangelo and that makes perfect icons. You can cut and paste images into it and play pixel by pixel as it makes the image about 500% it's original size... (much easy to modify and image) .
Heres a link for it if your interested in checking it out...
you can download an evaluation program here..


 5:42 am on Apr 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

One of the challenges with icons is not just the small pixel size, but designing for the limited (16 color) system palette. I bump up against this all the time in the .ico format. If you're designing icons for an app, and not just a website (where you have greater color depth available) you can bump into it as well, I assume.

Has anyone come up with tricks/techniques for dealing with this 16 color restriction and getting a great looking icon?


 6:47 pm on Apr 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

For desktop/.ico icons, about the only trick I've found is to tinker endlessly with the image. Edit it pixel-by-pixel (indexed color mode makes this easy), zoomed in on the image, and then zoom back out every couple pixel changes to review the effect.

For my desktop icon editing (on a Mac) I use ResEdit to creat and edit them... the guy who runs the mozco site says he also uses ResEdit, so I figure I'm in good company there...


 9:12 pm on Apr 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

Thanks, mivox, that's what I figured.

I just don't do enough icons to have a good handle on what is not going to work out before I start, so a lot of time goes down the drain.


 9:29 pm on Apr 19, 2001 (gmt 0)

I'd suppose if you did a lot of icons all the time, you'd just develop a 'feel' for what's going to work and what won't... I certainly haven't developed it yet! Good thing I *like* doing the nit-pick/tinkering thing, eh? ;)

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