Although the icons that ship with OS X are wonderfully designed, there’s no harm in a change from time-to-time. It might be a complete rework of your system icons, or just a case of replacing one or two for specific applications.
Today I’ll be showcasing 6 places where you can find the perfect icon. We’re focusing on the absolute highest quality, so you can rest assured you won’t find any second rate design here!
Creators of Twitteriffic and Ramp Champ for the iPhone, and CandyBar, xScope and IconBuilder for the Mac, The Iconfactory sure know how to put a good design together. Their regular icon collections are no exception, and you can view and download several years worth of work in the freeware section of their website.
You’ll find all manner of system replacement sets, seasonal goodies, and a few tie-ins for particular films or television series.
Sascha Hohne has long been a highly regarded icon designer, and now works for Apple. I’m a huge fan of his work, and have been using the latest release of his “Minium” icon set on my Mac for several months now. I’d thoroughly recommend it as a complete system replacement set.
You’ll find a selection of his earlier work at Deviant Art, and a few wallpapers to accompany Minium.
A simple website with hundreds of interesting designs, We Love Icons is definitely worth spending a few minutes browsing through. Most are available in both native Mac formats and PNG, so it should be easy to apply them after downloading.
The guys behind this site also host a useful online conversion utility – iConvert – for moving icons between different formats. This can be useful, depending upon where you’ve downloaded them from.
iconpaper is an extensive site, not just limited to icons. You’ll find wallpapers, skins for various applications, dock backgrounds, OS X themes and much more. There are 81 pages of really beautiful icons to flick through, so you won’t be short of inspiration.
deviantART is an enormous website, with icons being only a tiny subset of the artwork stored there by designers and artists around the world. That said, there is still a wealth of wonderfully designed icons. The link above will take you straight to the relevant section.
Because of the vast breadth of content available, it will take a little longer to search through deviantART than the other sites mentioned. It’ll be worth it when you find just the icon you’re looking for.
There are several forums dedicated to sharing and creating new icons and graphics for OS X, and they make a great place to search for a particular icon replacement. A few that I would recommend are:
- MacThemes – One of the longest running forums, with thousands of members and icon releases on a regular basis.
- Macristocracy – It’s quite a mouthful, but a gorgeously designed forum with an active community of designers and some really useful icons.
- Galaxy GUI – Not quite as polished as the first two forums, but with a decent archive of content. I particularly love the PNG thread.
Messing with OS X icons is probably something only to be attempted by people who really appreciate design, or are completely fanatical about the look and feel of their Mac. And if you’re reading this, then you probably fall squarely into one of these categories!
For a few hints and tips on how to change icons after you’ve found the perfect one, read our how-to on the subject.
If you’d like to suggest another website, blog, or forum for locating top-notch OS X icons, please do so in the comments. I’d love to hear your suggestions.
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