How to Create Icons

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Icons shown on a computer desktop or on the Internet can easily identify a program or a website. Create your own custom icons by using icon design software. You can use the program's tools to design the shape of your icon, or use images from a clip art library. Most of these software programs can be downloaded online.

  • Download a Windows- or Mac-compatible icon design program, such as Icon Composer, Microangelo or Photoshop. Open the program, then choose the size for the icon. Most icons are viewable in three pixel sizes-16x16, 32x32 and 48x48. The icon should be small enough so that you don't have ragged edges.

  • Pick the icon colors, which may vary in shades of red, orange, yellow, blue or green. Sketch your design idea on a separate sheet of paper if you want to produce an original icon. Make sure that the image relates to the concept of the webpage or computer program. Pick an image from the icon program's library if you prefer not to draw.

  • Return to the icon design program. Use the tools menu to draw the image on-screen, using the color palette options in Step 2. If you didn't sketch an image, edit the clip art that you chose. Go to the "File" menu to select the new image command, then import the clip art.

  • Go to the "Tools" menu, then scroll to "Add Drop Shadow." The shadow effect should be applied so that the icon does not appear transparent on the screen. Next, scale the icon down to a smaller, 8-bit image. From the icon design program, pick the tool button that represents the new image format, then from the dialog box create a 256-color version of the icon.

  • Save the image under the new format, then use the color palette to remove any jagged edges with a pencil tool or something similar from the "Tools" menu. In the design program, change the work area to white to see how the icon appears. Follow the steps to export the new icon, then save it as a JPEG, GIF or PNG file on your computer's desktop.

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