Custom Icons for Your Desktop: If I have to look at it all day, I might as well make it fun…
I started customizing my icons awhile ago, but since I just got a brand new personal laptop for the first time in a long while, I went all out and replaced as many as I could and feel pretty happy with the way things look now.
Besides, your desktop, virtual or physical, says a lot about you, your personality, the way your work and even your current state of mind (messy desk, messy mind?).
How do you customize your icons?
Check out these instructions, including how to change Dock icons using LiteIcon (see software below).
My current desktop (it changes frequently) is captured above and as I go through some examples, I’ll be sure to give credit where credit is due.
All of the icons I use are freely available (although you may want to check the specifics if planning on doing anything other than personal with these) and from two primary sites unless otherwise noted or custom-made (more in the software section below).
- Pixelgirl Presents – also includes wallpapers and other goodies (and from the same awesome woman behind ShanaLogic), and
- interfacelift, which also includes wallpapers and other goodies as well.
Almost everything is available for both Mac and Windows, sometimes Linux (and you can always convert using tools from the software section below).
Photo #1: As you can see from the shot of my entire desktop, I’m not going for a particular theme except for maybe a little “steampunk”, maybe even post-apocalytpic sci-fi at times, thus the “space-themed” wallpaper, Orbit by Gerry from one of my favorite desktop wallpaper websites, Simple Desktops.
Photo #2: Starting from the left, some Dock examples:
- Finder – Lego Systems 1.0 by Sean King (I use this set for the default for almost everything)
- Dashboard – Kaijubees by Melissa Scroggins.
- LaunchPad – Little White Sheep holding a rocket launcher from Aries by flamela.
Photo #3: Then, a little something for the geeks:
- Terminal – computer screen from the icons inspired by the tv show “LOST” by Hein Mevissen.
- eclipse – Blend by Laurent Baumann.
- Gimp original icon! – Mascot Wilber with a paintbrush in his teeth.
Photo #4: And as good as Apple is at design…
- iPhoto – painting of Mt Kilimanjaro, Kenya from the Hemingway icon set by Leslie Sigal Javorek.
- iTunes – gramophone from Vintage Icon set (apologies, more info coming soon).
- VLC – vintage TV from the same Vintage Icon set as above.
Photo #6: And finally, what did I use to make all these screenshots? See Homer sticking his hand out as if he was stuck in a well? From The Simpsons Icons by Anton Gerasimenko and Egor Zhgun and well, looks like he’s looking for something to Grab.
- Img2icn: for creating and converting images to icons: this lightweight tool takes multiples image formats, including jpg, png, etc. and converti images into icons not just in the ICNS format for your desktop, but also for your iOS device and website favicons as well. Some icon sets you may download listed here or anywhere else might be in ICO or ICNS format already, but still won’t work for some reason, you may try sending your ICO or ICNS files through Img2Icn anyway— it’s always resolved the issue for me. Price: you get plenty of free use before they ask you to pay, but for all that functionality and being super easy to use, it was definitely worth the $3.90 I eventually shelled out. Download or buy at the Shiny Frog product site.
- LiteIcon (for Mac OS X 9 only): another simple, lightweight app for customizing your desktop icons, including those “permanently” in the Dock (such as empty/full trash can) that you wouldn’t be able to use the standard technique for as mentioned at the beginning of this post. It also allows you to set new default icons for all general folders, smart folders, etc. across the entire system. If you’re not running Mavericks (Mac OS X 9), check out CandyBar. Unfortunately, I don’t have a good recommendation for Windows, but if you do, please drop me a note and I will update this info here.