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Craft Your Icons Yourself. No Designer Needed.

As a software developer, you must realize how important a slick, vivid user interface is to your new project. Visual elements such as toolbars and icons play ever more important roles in modern applications running in all-graphical, heavily-animated environments with an abundance of special effects such as Windows Vista. In order to get ahead or at least stay even with the competition, one must have a modern, up-to-date user interface which looks sharp even on the highest resolution, high definition monitors. With the release of Windows Vista, your new and existing products need a facelift immediately in order to not look 'aged' in the eyes of the consumers. An update to old XP-style icons is an urgent necessity.

Icon Craft

When it comes to icons, I face the same challenge as many other software developers. Should I get the icons done by a professional designer? Or is it better to order a set of stock icons? Or should I draw the icons myself?

That's a tough question that does not have a definite answer. Each approach has its pros and cons. As a software developer, I would probably go with a matching set of ready-made icons, such as 777 Icons (http://www.777icons.com) has to offer. But what if you have a set of icons, but one or two objects are simply missing? Or what if you have an icon that looks almost, but not quite, the way you need it to be?

In that case, you'll need the right tool to retouch your existing icons or allow you to draw a new one, just like I did. After searching, I found Icon Craft by Icon Empire (http://www.iconempire.com/iconcraft/index.htm), a small yet handy utility that seems perfect for me.

I have multiple legacy software projects, each with their own icons. Sometimes these projects share icons. I need a tool to get in control of all the small images from all the projects I've written. I have also purchased several icon collections, and have some free icon libraries that I use from time to time when I need an icon for my projects. Icon Craft manages icon collections easily, allowing me to see all the icons and manage them from a single application. This makes choosing an icon for a new function so much easier!

If I have an icon that is similar to, but not exactly, what I want, I can always retouch it with a couple of clicks. Applying special effects such as drop shadow or change of opacity is as simple as a single mouse click. What I appreciate the most is the ability of Icon Craft to process batch jobs in the background. If I need to create grayed-out or drop-shadow versions of a set of icons, I simply select the icons, pick the effect, and click a button to start a batch job. The program is fast, too, so even the hardest tasks that I assigned it to were performed in just a moment or two!

If I can't find anything remotely close to what I need in any of my collections, I refer to the function that only Icon Craft had among the many similar tools: I can search and download the right icon directly from the Internet. No need to open a Web browser and fire up a Google search; everything is conveniently done from within Icon Craft.

Finally, if an icon I need is so rare that it cannot be found on my computer or in the Internet, I go ahead and design an icon from scratch. Thanks to the simple and intuitive layout of Icon Craft's friendly user interface, even a hard-core programmer such as myself does not have to struggle to produce a smooth semi-transparent icon as required by modern visual guidelines.

With Icon Craft you can craft your icons yourself, no designer required. Download your free evaluation version here: http://www.iconempire.com/

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