Candybar and icon recommendations

For several years, I’ve used a piece of software called Candybar to customise the icons on my Mac. About six months ago, the developers of Candybar, Panic, made the app free. As OS X changes, it’s plausible that one day, you might be unable to change your icons. Although I’ve had a license for several years, and so I’m not affected monetarily, I still appreciate the gesture.

Earlier tonight, I was recommending Candybar and a list of my favourite icon sets in a comment on Dreamwidth. Since this might be of interest to other people, I’m posting it here for everyone to read.

Instructions for downloading Candybar are in the Panic announcement. Links to the various icon sets are embedded below.

Motivation

You might ask why you’d want to customise your icons. Good question. I’m by no means a UI expert, but here’s a brief explanation of why I like to do it:

One of the big changes in OS X Leopard was to remove all semblance of colour from folder icons. A similar trend has continued throughout OS X: the sidebar icons in iTunes, iPhoto and Mail have become similarly monochrome. This has generally been seen as a bad move, because colour is an easy way to pick out different icons, and removing it makes it harder to pick out something at a glance.

If you customise your icons, you can make them visually distinctive, and easy to find at a glance. You can also use colour to denote significance (for example, I pick out folders for projects with an imminent deadline in a bright red). It also looks nice.

Recommendations

So here’s the list (originally written for somebody who is both fannishly active and a big Avengers fan). I use almost all of these somewhere on my Mac, and I really like all of them.

I’ve mentioned Louie Mantia several times in the links above. He’s one of my favourite designers, and as well as icons, he’s designed a lot of wallpapers (http://mantia.me/wallpaper/). They’re definitely worth checking out. Themes include Harry Potter, Alice in Wonderland, Brave, a SHIELD wallpaper, and lots of other things that I’m not fannishly aware enough to recognise.

Of course, there are lots of other places to find good icon sets. I’ve mentioned The Iconfactory above; I’ve also picked up gems from Dribbble and the icons section of deviantART before. Icon designers often post freebies on their personal sites too. And there’s nothing to stop you breaking out Photoshop and trying your hand at making one yourself.

Enjoy!