Inspiration: Icons, Their Designers and Web Sites

My jaw dropped open when I first stumbled across the Icon Town Web site a few years ago. I quickly became hooked on watching this miniature village grow, with new buildings, homes, factories, and just about everything a real life town would have, but built with tiny graphical icons. This incredibly creative idea was started by Bernd Holzhausen, of Frankfurt, Germany.

[Hide’s Icons, part of the Warehouse set]When I started to explore this fine craft further, I began discovering many incredibly talented, gifted designers of those tiny little icons and other pixel graphics, so often used for navigation, programs and games, desktop icons, and an endless possibility of other needs.

[Hide’s Icons, part of the Stationary set]Along my journey of exploring miniature graphics I found Hide Itoh’s Pixture Studio, an extremely gifted (and amazingly prolific!) icon artist. I signed up for his newsletter to keep posted on his latest creations, too. To the left is just a sampling from part of one of his icon sets.

I recently came across these Flash animations with miniature graphics:

  • PixelSnow, by Lotta Arenö. This Web site combines Flash animation with miniature graphics to provide snowboarding lessons with animated illustrations. Incredible.
  • Neopod’s Flash movie, Pixel People, has won numerous awards, including with Macromedia.

Below I’ve compiled a listing of some of the better Web sites around devoted to icons, their designers, programs, tutorials, and icon portal sites. Beware.... you might get hooked, too!

What Got Me Hooked On Icons and Their Designers

Icon Designers and Their Sites
Icon Communities
  • Icon Town
    Described in the review above, this site and its growing town have me captivated. Incredible.
  • IconFactory
    [Icon Factory icon]Another tremendously amazing site, packed with icons, resources, icon programs, info, and much more.
  • Iconoweb
    Creative site with the goal of keeping icons alive. Very interesting site with lots of icons, links, and resources.
  • Kaliber10000 {The Designer’s Lunchbox}
    The most amazing, innovative Web site, visually incredible and packed with info, inspiration, articles, comments, web sites of the week, links. Tons here.
  • Virtual Plastic
    [Virtual Plastic icon]For Windows icons. HUGE repository of tutorials, help, information, and more for using, replacing Windows icons. Exceptional site.

More Icon Sites and Designers

  • Agrapha Icons
    Incredibly high quality icons, mostly photographic icons. (Win, Mac)
  • Around the Pixel
    by Sandy Marnat-Damez (Win, Mac)
  • Dave Bastian
    One interesting mac screen, more on the way. Very talented illustrator, designer. (He has a bunch of free fonts, too!)
  • Calle’s Custom Icons
    Over 2,000 icons here in several categories: system, folders, flags, big icons (mega pixels), Kaleidoscope schemes, custom designs made to order. Annotated links to more icon and related sites. Exceptional work.
  • epochicons
    Stunning desktops and icons.
  • etherbrian
    Fun, different, lots of character to these icons. Also has tons and tons of desktops. Lots of interesting artwork at this site, too. (Win, Mac)
  • IconHQ
    Outstanding icons, replacement icons for the Mac or Netscape environment.
  • Icon Street
    by Pierre Cavanna. Wonderful quality, beautiful icons, desktop pictures, more here.
  • Ili Icons
    Talented icon designer. Lots of wonderful icons here. She also includes tips and help with changing icons, designing and creating your own, and more. (Win, Mac)
    Another incredibly creative, gifted icon designer. He offers free cursors, icons, mac screensavers and desktop pictures. He also has pixel fonts, regular fonts and dingbats available (shareware and commercial).
  • Maumau
    Beautiful colors, clear, clean designs to these icons and pictures. Terrific. (Mac)
  • Mozco Garash
    by Igarashi Susumu. Great icons and Kaleidoscope schemes. Great work.
  • One-button mouse
    Outstanding Mac icons, desktops. (Mac)
  • Perfect Yosemite
    Mac icons and desktop interfaces. (Mac)
  • Pixelhaus
    by Dave Brasgala. Amazing icons, desktops. Also has a pixel font (eWorld Headliner, 12 pt. bitmap font), and nearly a dozen sound files. (Mac)
  • Pixelpress
    More exceptional work. (Mac)
  • QBullets
    Matterform Media’s tiny icons especially for web sites. (free)
  • Robot-frog
    Fun, high quality, by Bob Nystrom.
  • pseudoroom
    Click on enter, then Icons. Exceptional.
  • Top Icons
    Categories: system, holidays, cartoons, sports, animals, places, more. Very unique style, with a lot of character.
  • waferbaby iconz
    by waferbaby. About a dozen creative, unique, fun icons. (Win, Mac)

Icon Portals, Communities

  • Gui Galaxy
    Site for communication and exchange of ideas. Site also has a variety of icons, fonts, desktop images, themes, soundsets, and much more.
  • Icon Parade
    Icons by site owner and guest designers, lots of links to other icon sites, tips and help, too. (Win, Mac)
  • Windows Icons Webring
    Currently 17+ Web sites devoted to Windows icons, with thousands of free icons available.
  • Xicons
    Large portal with lots of icons by various designers, articles, book reviews, and links to more info.


  • IconBuilder
    A Photoshop filter to create your own icons. Pro and Lite versions.
  • iControl
    Program to easily change your Mac’s system folder and trash can, create "iPacks" to share your icons with others, and more. Created by IconFactory’s Craig Hockenberry and Nick Beadman of Polymorph Software. Shareware.
  • IconDropper
    Customize Mac’s icons on-the-fly, organize your icons, more tools included. Shareware.
  • IconForge
    Windows program to create icons, cursors, animated cursors, and icon libraries for Windows. Download a trial version or purchase.
  • IconShop
    For PCs - convert all those great Mac icons to use on your PC. Also works with IconDropper icon packs and Kaleidoscope schemes. Many more features working with icons, too. Created by Peter Stuer, Lion Tech. Shareware.
  • Kaleidoscope
    Mac utility to easily switch your interface schemes. Many schemes included, and thousands (literally) available at the site and links to more. Shareware.
  • ResEdit
    Mac development tool that can be used to create icons and other interface tools. Freeware from Apple.


  • Art Studio Chalkboard
    Many tutorials that focuses on techniques for perspectives, shading, color, and painting. Excellent resource and help.
  • How To Make Icons for Macs
    The Icon Factory’s multi-part tutorial
  • Ili Icon help
    Ili’s Icons site includes tips and help with changing icons, designing and creating your own, and more. She also provides a listing to more tutorials, tips, and resources. (Win, Mac)
  • Tips and Tricks
    Tips and Tricks for icon-making by Mozco Garash.

07:44 pm, pst17 December, 2000 Comments, Trackbacks ·';}?>

Categories: Design, Design, Information Architecture, Reviews, Usability

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