I've been using an Open Source application for a while now and, given that its current icon looks somewhat basic, I thought it would be great if I could contribute back with a perhaps more professional looking one.

Such icon would be made of typefaces, two characters representing the initials of the application name (e.g. 'LI' for 'Lorem Ipsum'), so I was wondering if you guys could recommend a good resource/tutorial out there to go ahead and try to follow that.

On a side note I have to say that, on the one hand, I will quite probably be using Inkscape for the job, and on the other hand, a sort of disclaimer if you will, that my design skills are currently rather basic.

Any advice will be sincerely appreciated. Thanks much in advance!

  • 1
    The only guideline I can think of is "make sure it's clear at all zoom levels". Other than that, it sounds like you have a clear idea (use 2 characters) and the rest comes down to your preferences ("does this typeface represent this application?", "do these 2 characters look good in this typeface?", etc.)
    – Farray
    Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 18:51
  • Thanks for the contribution Farray. On the one hand would you mind posting your comment as answer so we could vote/accept it? On the other hand I was looking for something perhaps more tutorial-oriented, e.g. creating an "OS X-looking" icon or whatnot (with the reflection and so on). Commented Jul 22, 2011 at 19:04

1 Answer 1


Further to my comment above, you may find more tutorials by searching for Illustrator tutorials and doing the corresponding steps in Inkscape.

This tutorial is aimed at photoshop but it has very detailed descriptions about each of the elements that help a icon "fit in" with OS X styling: http://psd.tutsplus.com/tutorials/designing-tutorials/create-a-custom-mac-osx-style-ring-binder-address-book-icon/

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    Indeed the tutorial is somewhat focused to raster graphics - I'm looking for something perhaps more vector-oriented instead. Thanks much anyway! Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 0:04
  • @Nano due to the nature of the style, you'll likely find most tutorials are geared towards raster graphics. This shouldn't be a deterrent though, you just need to take a look at the desired effect and mimic a similar effect using vectors. Here are a bunch of examples. Most are for Photoshop but they should point you in the right direction.
    – Farray
    Commented Jul 23, 2011 at 4:25

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