In this tutorial, we will learn “how to make a shortcut to a website” and “how to make a website a desktop icon” by using 4 different browsers chrome, Mozilla, opera, internet explorer. By performing following steps for different browsers, every time you don’t have to write URL in browser for your frequently visited websites. More from my siteBest ways to check your website value, traffic and worthHow to fix blurry pictures online? Follow this how-to guide by an Atlassian designer to make a single icon font for the Atlassian products.
The Atlassian design team has been making some big changes to our products over the last 12 months. One part of the design evolution was finding a scalable solution for handling large sets of icon assets. You might consider taking one of the existing icon sets out there like Pictos or Glyphicons instead of creating your own icons.
If you haven’t installed Glyphs yet, you can grab it from the Mac App Store or get a trial from the Glyphs website. First, create a new font file and then remove all the alphabet characters they pre-fill the font with. I hadn’t worked with type design before so I had to research a little and play with the values in Glyphs to get the icons to sit on the right baseline.
The values that I have used in Glyphs don’t match the diagram exactly, I think this may just be because of the way Glyphs is calculating it. Move back to your 1024pt icon in Illustrator that we first resized and copy the whole shape. Once the new glyph is selected, change the value of the width in the sidebar from 600 to 1024 and make sure the padding on both sides is set to 0. If you need to nudge the icon into position, make sure you change the grid spacing back to 1 (cmd + i to view settings). Atlassian has several products that have specific icons and we needed a way to organise the font accordingly.
The convention I’m using is to separate global, Confluence, JIRA and Dev Tools (Stash, Bitbucket, FishEye, Crucible and Bamboo) icons.
Now that you’ve completed one icon, you can repeat these same steps for all your remaining icons. Once the export is successful, navigate to the folder Glyphs has export the font into to convert this OTF file into a web font to use in your application.
When coding up the classes for the individual icons you’ll need to remember those unicodes from Glyphs that you entered earlier and put the values in as the content. It may have seemed like a lot of work but after doing a couple of icons it gets much faster. We’ll be adding more icons to the Atlassian icon font as we convert the old icons over for all our products. Atlassian currently supports IE8 and up but the icon font idea in general will work in IE6 with the standard markup provided by Font Squirrel when you convert your OTF to a webfont.
Great write up, just at the right time as I just started creating a custom font for a web app. What I don’t get though, how did you decide that 1024pts in Glyph are the direct representation of 16px in the browser?
Having the magic number of 1024 instead of 1000 is simply because it divides nicely by 16 and 16px is what our normal icons will be displayed at.
Creating a custom bookmark icon is a great idea if you find yourself showing off your website in meetings or at conferences to potential clients and business partners. 02) A screen with a bunch of buttons will appear including: Add Bookmark, Add to Reading List, Add to Home Screen, Mail Link to this Page, Tweet and Print. 03) A crappy screengrab will automatically be added as your icon image and you’ll be asked to type in a name for your bookmark. Bass player, ex-skateboarder and snowboarder (i broke too many bones), Call of Duty addict and blogger. In this article, I’m going to examine the science behind making successful UI icons before teaching you how to make your own embeddable icon font. Ultimately, you should go away with a process for making design elements that extends far beyond the manufacture of simple icons.
Before we continue, something should be said about what exactly we are trying to achieve by using icons in our designs in the first place, and what makes one icon more successful than the next. Semiology, in the broadest sense, is the study of sign systems, how we contribute to their formation and maintenance, and the impact they have on our understanding of the world within and without us. Whenever you consider a part of your design work from the perspective of what it signifies — what it is saying to your audience or what concepts it is recalling for them — you are considering your design as a semiotician. Icons have long been considered a good way to enhance UI designs because they provide a visual shorthand that assists the comprehension of an otherwise purely textual message.
Aside from automated crawler programs, I’m assuming that it is mostly web designers who will be reading this article. After some searching, I was eventually introduced to the possibilities of Inkscape‘s SVG Font Editor. To define the glyph, click on the Glyphs tab in the SVG Font Editor pane, then click the Add Glyph button in the lower portion of the pane.
Center the star horizontally using the Align and Distribute panel (which may be hidden below the SVG Font Editor) and drag the shape downwards to meet the baseline.
Stick to using black strokes and fills, if only to remind you that the icons are just shapes, not complex vector graphics. To cut shapes out of shapes (like using a cookie cutter) place the shape that will create the “knockout” over the main shape, select both and choose PATH > DIFFERENCE.


Imagine that you have gone on to create a number of useful icons for your font by repeating the glyph spawning method that I have just described and saved the file as myicons.svg.
The first measure you should take is to convert the SVG font into a more familiar and versatile format. Remove kerning: Your icons will almost always appear in isolation, so kerning (added information regarding the proximity of characters to one another) is not necessary.
If you are interested in releasing your font, it is considered good practice to give it a license. In the case of either license, you should include a version in a text file, as well as inserting the copyright notice and a link to the full license URL in the font’s meta.
Let’s pretend I chose to use an SVG font to cover some basic design elements in my vaguely steampunk-like blog. One problem with using fonts to display visual elements in this way is the impact on screen reader output.
As my JavaScript mentor, Rupert, pointed out to me the other day, using SVG fonts to create icon sets offers an interesting opportunity for collaboration. The idea resonated with me for its semiotic implications: If the apprehensibility of an icon is determined by consensus, then surely consensus should also play a role in its formation. Join our 746,498 subscribers and get access to the latest tools, freebies, product announcements and much more! We needed a technique that works on our supported browsers, looks crisp on HiDPI displays and is easily maintainable.
The old icons were starting to look a little tired, and with the ADG moving into our products we needed an icon style that would match our design principles.
Sometimes, snapping to pixels is not good but generally speaking, your icons will look much sharper if they do.
Once an icon is created in Photoshop, I then open up the PSD in Illustrator and then copy the shape over to a new Illustrator document that is 1024pts x 1024pts.
You won’t be able to enter unicode values for your icons without having this confusing label checked.
Make sure the whole icon is selected (cmd + a) and then change the x,y coordinates accordingly. If you leave it at 64 to see the overlay grid and then nudge your icon into position, Glyphs will grab hold of the anchors and your icon will look like the one below. Convert the font and then download it to your desktop and you’re ready to put the final touches on it to make your icon font perfect. You might not be able to tell on standard screens when you’re entering this in the CSS but have a closer look on an Apple screen to see the difference in Safari and Chrome.
The text inside of the span is inserted for screen readers but is not displayed on the page. The presentational markup we are using has the :before pseudo selector in our CSS which is not supported in IE6 and IE7.
Then tap on the little icon in the middle of the box with an arrow coming out of it [pictured below]. This code will tell Apple iOS devices where they can find the bookmark image elsewhere on your server. Although semiology, like linguistics, does cover language, there are many more things on a website that “say” something without words, such as colors, typefaces and the shapes that we call icons. The ubiquitous RSS icon, with its dot and two concentric circle segments, no more resembles syndication than the words “Really Simple Syndication” resemble it. Sheets of icon images are circulated throughout the web design community like contraband, each set promising to make your design shinier, more enticing and more clickable than the last.
However, it is one that is gaining considerable traction due to the many inherent advantages over the image (or background-image) method.
You should also use my icon font starter template, located in the resources folder of this GitHub repository (more on this GitHub project later). Since we are just making a star this time, we should select Inkscape’s helpful Stars and Polygons tool from the left toolbar and draw a star in the canvas.
So, to make our star a legitimate candidate for our font, we must convert it from an object into a path-based shape. By using options from the Fill and Stroke pane, editing path nodes and combining objects and strokes you will be able to make much more ambitious icon designs. White areas on black that look like “knockouts” will not suffice, as you will discover when you hit Get curves from selection See rule 1. The successive file upload field, select element and gigantic Convert button speak for themselves, really. Renaming, attributing and describing the font to your satisfaction makes it ready for installation, embedding and distribution.
The GNU General Public License is perfectly acceptable, but you may want to consider the SIL Open Font License.
With the ability to make icons comes the ability to make more site-specific shapes, branding elements and decorations.
For instance, the second cog shape from the left could be used as both a tiny bullet point design and a giant, abstracted background decoration. A visitor to the site who reads visually will see cogs, arrows and the like, but a screen reader will insist on reading out the characters that designate these designs.
You see, SVG code ? which is a form of XML ? is highly standardized and easily human-readable.
By collaborating over our icon “sign system”, only the most archetypal icon designs should emerge. In a separate post I’ve elaborated on how we made the ADG, which has been instrumental in establishing experience design at Atlassian.


The conceptual metaphors around icons is a huge topic but for this post I will be focusing on the craft and production side of icon design for an icon font (optimized for 16px) step-by-step. This will make Illustrator view your vector like a rasterised image even though it isn’t.
Make note of the keyboard short-cut (cmd + i), you’ll be coming back to this settings pane a lot.
I found it handy to write out the corresponding pixel amounts for easy math when pushing lots of these icons into the font. Later on you’ll want to change this value to 64 so you can see the grid that will represent the 16px displayed in the browser. Unfortunately, Glyphs has some pretty bad undo (cmd + z) capabilities so this disaster will not be recoverable with a simple undo.
Glyphs tends to crash every now and then when it runs exports so make sure you’ve saved all your progress. I’ve already seen big improvements for the Stash team from using the icon font everywhere in our UI.
These bookmarks look just like Apple App icons and allow you to pull up a page on your website the same way you would open an Apple iOS app. You will not need to rely on any of the esoteric knowledge required to make successful alphanumeric typefaces; just an eye for designing things that may appear very, very small.
The configuration of shapes that constitute the RSS icon signify RSS by convention alone; we have agreed that this is what they are for. Firstly, most of the quality fonts available, called things like Pictos, Fico, Klepto, Cheetos, Ponyo and Sailor Moon (I may have got some of these wrong), are paid-for fonts. You will notice that this tool comes with options that allow you to change the appearance of the star. Since we used free, open source software to make the icons, it is fitting that we should distribute them as such. The main advantage with this license is the provision of a reserved font name: Other designers are permitted to modify your font, so long as they name it differently. Like CSS sprites, all of these visual elements can be kept in one file, reducing server calls to a singular http request. It is exactly the sort of source code suited to development using a “social coding” service like GitHub. We should be able to create icon vocabularies that truly belong to the communities for whom they should mean something. If you are new to GitHub, try looking at their help pages or asking your neighborhood techie (that’s what I do).
Resize the icon up to fill the 1024pts x 1024pts and centre it on the canvas with the x,y co-ordinates at 512pts (assuming you have a 16×16 icon). If you have a small set of icons that can fit into a normal alphabet then you can use that instead of the unicode ranges. The majority of the time I set the anchor to be in the middle, the Y axis to be 320 and the X axis to be 512. To fix your icon, you’ll have to re-paste the shape in but before you do, set the grid spacing back to 1.
You can see an example of a MethodShop app icon in the image on the right (4th row, 4th column).
In China, the color red can signify good fortune whereas, in many Western countries, it is used to denote danger. Chris Coyier obviously had a similar idea, introducing the idea to a (much, much) larger audience weeks later. I know what icons I want to use and I know precisely how I want to tailor them to my overall design.
Readers running Windows have the option of using the deceptively grand sounding Microsoft Font Properties Editor or the free-for-x-days Typograf.
In practice, this means that crimes against icon design cannot be carried out “in your name”. Unlike CSS sprites, the elements are both resizeable and not dependent on positional coordinates (background-position values) to display correctly.
For a little inspiration to get you started, examine this excellent gallery of CSS3-enhanced webfonts. This shape is what you’ll be copying into Glyphs so make sure that it looks awesome and all your paths are still behaving.
The major advantage of the unicode ranges is that it holds 6,400 possible icons in the private use range which is more than enough for all our products combined. Keep using the keyboard shortcut to get back to this window (cmd + i), it saves a lot of time clicking around. For icons that are 16px x 14px or some other shape, you will need to use the 64pts increments to make it sit where you want. Feel free to forward this tutorial to your creative and IT teams if they have any questions.
For Apple and Linux users, I implore those better informed than I am to help out in the comments.
Among these are abstract concepts such as location as well as less abstract concepts, like the map to which the pin might belong. For example, if you have a 12px high icon and position it at the top of the 16px container, it will be 2px off centre when displayed in the browser.




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