Most people who use a computer, whether it be a Mac or Windows platform, use it pretty much “as is”, never thinking twice about trying to customize the look of the icons or other graphical user interface elements that they stare at for hours every day. I could find no formal studies explaining this but would guess this situation is either due to a lack of creativity, lack of appreciation for aesthetics, or the presumption that it takes a computer-programming degree (or the average 8 year-old) to accomplish or a little of each. For the rest of us, sticking with our computer’s operating system and applications out-of-the box looks is anathema, no matter how elegant the original interface may be. (For an apt analogy, just imagine someone like Halle Berry (1, 2 ) or Isabella Rosselini (1,2, 3) while they are gorgeous creatures just as God made them, but if dressed in off-the-rack clothes from Sears, unkempt hair, and no make-up, would you recognize them if they passed you on the street ? Probably not.) It’s the “window dressing” we personally apply to ourselves, our homes, our workspaces, and our computers that creates a visual reflection of the essence of who we like to think we are. The result makes us feel comfortable, confident and can even inspire us.
“Modding” the look of your desktop is fairly easy these days. With a Mac, you don’t even need to have any special software or advanced knowledge to swap out an icon used for just about any folder, application or document. If you’re looking to change a large number of icons or want to alter the look of default icons for each time a new folder or document is created, CandyBar is the gold-standard, yet inexpensive, shareware solution that Mac users have turned to for years. For those of you working with Windows or Linux, I personally have no experience working with Windows or Linux, but have been told there are numerous shareware applications that can ease the way for you.
I thought of including a “How To” tutorial on my blog but came across so many great tutorials already out there, there really is no need for another. But if you check my “How To” page, you’ll find a list of links to the best of those tutorials and applications.
Tonight’s “freebie” offering was originally created as part of my “Fox Spokane” icon series (FS-1, FS-2) and is a set of images to use as replacements for various image document types which I personally use as the defaults for Apple’s “Preview” application. They can also be used with any other image viewer. Note: if you swap the icon of an individual document, it will only affect that particular document. If you want to alter the default icons so that all .png (or .jpg, or .gif, etc.) documents display the customized icon, you’ll need to access the default resource in the application’s package. See the tutorials on IconDoIt’s How To Page. Enjoy!
Free Icons of the Day
The following images are reduced size previews. Simply right-click (or control-click) on the preview to save a zipped file to your desktop that contains all images in each preview group (each image is 512px X 512px in .png format) or, in the case of the individual icons, do your clicking on each one you’d like to download.