A guide to purchasing professional XP icons online and enhancing your applications
Icons are used everywhere; right from software applications, to internet browsers, to operating systems to websites and even in print media. But businesses have to waste a good deal of money and time in manufacturing icons on their own. Professional icons are tough to create and need expertise in terms of creative artists, lots of time and software. But just as in any other field today, here again there are specialized organizations dedicated to manufacturing and supplying ready made icons. This article is meant for those of you who intent to purchase readymade XP icons for your applications
So what are XP style icons?
XP style icons are the in-thing now-a-days and are preferred above all other icons. This is because of the fact the XP icons look more professional and blend effortlessly into your applications. Some basic features of XP style icons are as follows;
Features of XP style icons
1.) XP style icons have rich color and look richer because of the use of gradients
2.) XP style icons have smooth edges and corners that are soft and look slightly rounded
3.) XP icons can have a drop shadow effect that provides additional dimension and contrast to the icons
4.) The XP icons look appealing as the light source comes from the upper left hand corner creating an illuminating effect (You can check out http://www.icongalore.com and ‘iconpharm.com’ to get some idea about XP style icons)
What kind of XP icon should I go for?
While purchasing XP icons online you got to be sure of your objectives. There are different types of icons available and each one is specific to a particular application. The different formats, sizes and colors in which XP icons are available are discussed below along with their usage.
Formats in which XP icons are available
1.) Gif, PNG and Jpeg Format
Gif/PNG/Jpeg format icons can be used for web applications or any other application which can be accessed with the help of a browser.
2.) Ico Format
Ico format icons are meant for use in software/GUI applications for windows. You can also use .ico format icons to create icons to display in favorites or bookmark lists of a web browser.
3.) Vector Format
A vector format icon (.ai format icons) can be stretched to a huge extent (to king size) and can be used in the printing, advertisements etc. They produce sharp images when printed.
Sizes in which XP icons are available
XP icons are available in four different sizes that include 16X16 pixels, 24X24 pixels, 32X32 pixels and 48X48 pixels. 16x16 pixel icons can be used in toolbars, menus and applications, 24x24 pixel icons can be used only in tool bars and display menus, where as 32x32 and 48X48 pixel icons can be used in applications.
Colors in which XP icons are available
XP icons can be brought in four different colors (monochrome, 16 color, 256 color and true/8 bit color) depending on your needs. All icon creators will provide you with icons in 256 and true colors. You can decide on the icon color to use in your applications based on your customer needs. Monochrome and 16 color icons are rarely used today.
What should I get after purchasing and downloading the icons?
After purchase you should get your XP icons in two formats (.ico and .gif), each format in two colors (256 colors and true colors) and each icon four different sizes (as mentioned above). So in case your purchase an icon package having 100 icons, you should have 100 X 2 X 2 X 4 = 1600 icons. Some icon developers may also provide you icons with drop shadow effect and without drop shadow along with the above. Vector icons are not provided by all vendors and those who do provide vector icons would do so only on request. Some good vendors who offer vector icons are icongalore.com and iconpharm.com. In addition Jpeg and PNG format icons are offered for free by some vendors on request while purchase.
Can the icons be modified after download?
Most icon creators would give you rights to modify the icons after downloading. Icons can be modified in terms of changing the icon color, changing transparency, attaching or removing drop shadow, changing or adding text to icons etc. Some good software programs using which you can modify XP icons are ‘GIF movie gear’ and ‘IconXP’. In case you plan to modify your icons after purchase you should buy icons in vector format (.ai format). Modifying other types of icons is not possible.
What is the typical price range of ready made XP style icons?
The price range in which XP icons are available differs based on the icon creator, formats provided, individual or packaged purchase, terms of usage etc. A non-exclusive XP icon can cost you up to US $30 per icon where as an exclusive XP icon can cost up to US $300. ‘Icongalore.com’ offers the cheapest XP style icons. Their non-exclusive XP icons come for as low as $3/icon and exclusive XP icons come for $80/icon.
Exclusive VS non exclusive icons
Exclusive icons are those that offer you with complete rights over your purchased icons. Exclusive icons are sold only once and will not be resold under any circumstances. Non exclusive icons on the other hand will give you only usage rights. The original copyrights of non-exclusive icons will remain with the icon creator. This means he can sell the same icons to different customers.
But the thing to be noted here is that exclusive icons are way costly than non-exclusive ones. In this case making use of fresh non-exclusive icons from an icon creator should be more than enough unless you want to brand your applications using exclusive icons. In most cases non-exclusive XP icons will do just as good and are recommended.
Why should I buy icons when I can make them on my own?
Creating icons from images is an easy task. There are many programs available in the market that will allow you to perform this conversion in minutes. But icons created in this manner cannot be used for professional purposes. Professional icons should be individually designed and should blend effortlessly into the software making it easier for your user to browse through. Creating such professional XP style icons is a time consuming task and requires much expertise. This is the reason why you should consult professional XP icon creators for your icon needs.
Where can I find quality icons online?
There are many websites that sell XP icons. Some of the most popular ones include, www.icongalore.com (offers the cheapest unique XP style icons), visualpharm.com, iconarchive.com, icons-online.com, iconbazaar.com and iconfactory.com.