Icon Slate: Easily Make Great Icons

Making an icon can be a tedious task in itself. Just designing a high-quality icon can be hard enough, but then you’ll still have to export it in all the sizes needed and make sure you don’t miss anything.

Icon Slate is an app designed to take the hassle out of a tedious task and makes the task of creating and exporting icons much more easier. With Icon Slate, you don’t have to worry about all the problems that can occur when you’re manually resizing, scaling and exporting your icons as the app really does make it all very simple.

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Features

Icon Slate doesn’t over complicate the whole process of actually creating an icon that you’re able to use for your apps. You’ll recognize this from the start with its smart batch import. You can import various different versions of the same icon, and Icon Slate will automatically use the correct icon depending on what size is being displayed. For example, an icon will look squashed and awkward if you were to simply resize a 512x512px to 32x32px. This is why it’s important for designers to create multiple versions so that the icons display correctly. Icon Slate recognises this and allows you to include various different files that can all be included and exported into one icon file format.

Previewing Your Icon

Another welcomed feature of Icon Slate is the efficiency of adding your icons. All you have to do is simply drag your files to Icon Slate. That’s it. There’s no menus to crawl through or any dialogues that pop up. Furthermore, it’s simple to actually make changes to your icon once it’s in place. You can modify the brightness, add a custom color and give the icon a certain colored (or transparent) background. Then once you’ve done that, you can view what your icon looks like, as Icon Slate makes it simple to preview your icon within OS X’s dock and make sure it doesn’t look out of place amongst the other icons.

Tweaking Your Icon

Exporting and Saving

When it comes to saving an icon, there’s many different ways you can save the icon sets, each for different operating systems and devices. With Icon Slate, you can export your icon to the most popular extensions, including ICNS, ICO, PNG, TIFF and iContainer.

Specifying Export Formats

As a designer, it’s also easy to want to try out everything to see what looks best. Thankfully, Versions and Auto-save support from Mountain Lion are included, so you can change as much as you like and always know that you can revert your icon to an earlier stage.

Interface

Icon Slate’s interface isn’t anything too revolutionary but it does simplify the icon development process. Simply drag and drop your files and then you’re ready to start making adjusts and exporting your icon. Also, you’re able to work on various projects at once because Icon Slate isn’t one of those apps that demand you work with only one window. With Icon Slate, you can work with as many as you like!

Along the top of the interface, we have our expected controls and buttons: the ability to build the icon, specify the output formats, the image adjustment tools and also the ability to change the owner and copyright details of the icon.

With the release of a retina display on a Mac, not to mention the lineup of retina display iOS devices, optimizing your icons for such a high-resolution display has become second nature to designers (or at least it should have). With this app, you’re given the means to create icons that look great on both the retina and standard display because you’re provided with the option to create a ‘high-definition’ version of the icon and preview that too.

Icon Slate’s Whole Interface

Icon Composer

In previous versions of OS X, an application called Icon Composer has always been included as a part of Xcode and Apple’s developer tools, but it seems as though Apple has ceased to include this within OS X and the latest versions of the iOS and OS X SDK. Icon Slate essentially fills the hole left by Icon Composer and even more so, since Icon Slate features a whole bunch of new and interesting features that weren’t included in Icon Composer.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Icon Slate really can save you time if you’re a designer or developer that needs to create icons for your apps. What’s even more attractive is its price tag: $4.99. Considering the amount of time and energy this app could potentially save you, it’s worth that amount.

It’s hard to find a downside to an app that really does what it says on the tin. I suppose all I can say is that Icon Slate does nothing more or less than what you’d expect it to and for that reason (and the high expectations of designers), you should definitely check this one out if you need to create icon files regularly. Sure, it’s not an app many Mac users would need, but it’s definitely one that should be of interest to developers and icon designers.


Summary

Icon Slates make it easy for developers and designers to create and adjust their icons.

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  • mcb

    FYI: Icon composer can still be downloaded (from the Graphics Tools package), but is not part of the base download anymore. Apart from that, Xcode now does packaging (for both retina and non-retina versions) of icons if supplied correctly, which even lowers the need for another tool.

  • Clément Collier

    Yep, I confirm, IconSlate is awesome & is the *only* good icon app out there…

  • vincent-b

    Looks nice but misses features for developers. Important features such as “export icon pack for iOS app” “Export icon pack for Mac App” and “Export icon pack for Android market” + “Export icon pack for Windows Phone Market”.

    Meeting these specs is likely make duplicate at the desired size + rename according to guidelines, it’s kind of easy to add these features.

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