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favicon size

16x16, 32x32 or 48x48?

1:34 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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By default plesk uses its own icon when you create a new domain or subdomain. I was looking at it thinking it was very well done, and it seemed more detailed than the ones I was able to make.

Even though windows lists it as a 16x16 .ico file when I open it up in photoshop I am given the option of 48x48 32bits/pixel. If I select that it opens fine, and is 48x48 pixels.

Is there some trick going on here, allowing one to use a higher quality image for a favicon?

(please, please please! I have wrestled for days trying to get our much-too-detailed logo into a favicon)


2:11 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Hi Edzillion.

.ico files allow multiple sized icons in one file - 16x16, 32x32 and 48x48 pixels images can be contained inside - for use in applications, as tiles and on the desktop, for example. The OS/App decides the right file to use.

Icon designers tend to design a different icon for each size. All using a similar palette and graphic style, simplifying it to only the defining characteristics for each reduction. The Yahoo Y! for example.

Icon design is not as easy as it might sound. Complex graphics, especially for 16x16 have to be replaced with very simplified versions - 1 pixel out of place, can make it look awkward.

I suggest you look at your logo - decide on the characteristics that define it, and use those to design a simple favicon.

2:14 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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Thanks for that.

Do you have any suggestions of what software to use? Photoshop isn't great with working at very small sizes (there is this awkward bug with trying to draw single pixels with the pencil on the bottom row of the image)...

7:49 pm on Mar 31, 2009 (gmt 0)

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There are many, but yes, from your graphics program you have to work with those small sizes and come up with a design that works. Any graphic program will have the same problem, it's the issue of working with 16 x 16 and 32 x 32 pixels.

I like the dos/command line simplicity of png2ico [winterdrache.de].

Put multiple png's in the png2ico directory
type png2ico favicon.ico [file 1] [file 2] .... press enter.

example: png2ico favicon.ico logo16x16.png logo32x32.png


12:06 pm on June 7, 2009 (gmt 0)

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You need to pick an image that looks good at small sizes (simple with obvious colors and shapes), and my technique for icons is to start with a large size of that image (256px +) in Photoshop, and resize each icon from that original. Experiment with different resize algorithms in Photoshop to see which works best, and you may also want to monkey with the curves before downsizing.

For favicons there is little benefit in anything more than the 16px size, that is what gets used in all browser interfaces, but having said that I always do 32px and 48px for those users who might drag links onto their desktops and I guess in the future with higher DPI monitors those sizes might start getting used more commonly as well. The size can be then kept minimal; would be nice to do Vista compatible 256px PNGs but then they go way too big.

I use IconDeveloper, give it 24-bit PNGs with transparency, from Photoshop.