From the Foreman
Design Services
The Showroom
New Icon Releases
The Warehouse
Icon Cold Storage
The Workshop
How To Make Icons
Link of the Week
IconDropper Sites

From the foreman
questions & answers

About Downloading
Expanding hqx files
Pages of gibberish
Meaning of hqx
Download icons

Icon Formats
Wintel versions
Popular platforms
IconDropper vs standard
Some packs not available

Mac OS 8.5 Icons
What is the big deal?
We support 8.5 icons
Using these new icons
Support of older formats
IconDropper compatibility
Creating icons for 8.5
How to Use Icons
I'm an icon newbie
Replacing the trash
Can't copy & paste


Making my own icons
Posting 3rd party sets
Submitting requests
Custom design work
Freelance jobs
Freelance rates

Legal / Copyright
Use on personal pages
Commercial use
Powerbadge use
"Official" icon use

The Website

Why the redesign
I hate frames
I hate ad banners
I want to use your graphics
Can't bookmark correctly
Javascript/loading errors
Website's use of fonts

About Downloading | Top

I try to download an icon set, but the download stops half way through. I also get an "Incomplete hqx" error when I try to expand the set.

The internet can be a very unreliable thing sometimes. This kind of error usually happens during high traffic or "peak" times on the net. When you download our files, the server sends the data in small chunks called "packets". If *any* of these packets get lost during transfer, the result is a partial or incomplete download. The solution is to try to download the file again during off peak hours. If this still does not work, email us with your request and we'll do our best to send it along to you.

I've downloaded an icon set, but all I see is a page full of gibberish. What is wrong?

Before you can use any of the hqx files you've downloaded from the Iconfactory, you need to use a compression program like Aladdin's Stuffit Deluxe or Stuffit Lite to decode and expand them. Prior to decoding these files, the downloaded text will look like lines and lines of numbers and letters. If you have either of these programs simply drag the hqx files onto the stuffit expander alias and then you should see a new folder that contains the icons appear in the same directory the hqx file was located in. From there you'll be able to view and use the icons as you normally would. If you don't have these important utilities, check our links page on where you can get them.

What does the extension .hqx mean?

The hqx file is a standard format for posting data on Mac and UNIX systems. The Wintel platform's counterpart to hqx would be ZIP files.

What is the difference between the two icons on the download pages?

Both the showroom and the warehouse have two ways to download our icon files. The "package" looking icon lets you download sets in our space-saving IconDropper format. The downward pointing arrow lets you download standard Mac icon sets. Both of these icons are explained in the Legend down the right side of each page.

Regarding Icon Formats | Top

I really like your site and your work, but I use a Wintel computer. Will your icons work with my computing platform?

Simply put, no. All of the icons at the Iconfactory were designed and executed on Macs for Mac users. The Iconfactory has always been primarily a Mac oriented icon site. There are ways however to use our icons on a Wintel platform. Visiting our links page presents Windows users with several options. Among these are icon conversion programs and web sites that have translated our work to Wintel.

Don't you know that more people use Windows computers than Macs? Why don't you make icons for both platforms?

There are inherent difficulties in producing cross-platform icons. One of these difficulties stems from the fact that none of the factory workers owns a Wintel PC. In addition, colors, resource editing and icon creation in general are all better on Macs. We won't apologize for being MacAddicts or Mac Evangelists. Our intention is not to shut out Windows users (see above), but rather to promote the Macintosh platform and all the neat things it does better than Wintel.

What are the advantages of using IconDropper packs vs standard sets?

There are too many to list here, so we suggest you check out our IconDropper FAQ page for all the answers. Here are some keywords in the meantime: space-saving, organization, ease of use and drag & drop.

I notice that not all your icon sets are available in IconDropper format. Why?

Some copyright holders are very strict with their creations. If it was perceived that we were making money from IconDropper thanks to packs of Looney Tunes or Star Trek, we might get in legal trouble. For this reason, we've decided to steer clear of making packs for certain icon sets. This also gives you the user, the creative freedom to make your own packs for these sets.

Mac OS 8.5 Icons | Top

What's all the hoopla about icons in Mac OS 8.5 anyway?

Icons in Mac OS 8.5 are the first to support full 32 bit, or millions of colors. This means richer colors, smoother gradations and icons that are easier on the eye. Support for millions of colors (combined with 256 levels of transparency) means icons will always highlight correctly when selected. No more weirdo highlight colors. In addition, icons can be translucent, or even transparent thanks to the addition of a "deep mask". Think of it like the ability to turn the opacity of any pixel up or down. All this adds up to more creative freedom, icons that look better, and features that kick Windows' tushy.

Do your icons take advantage of millions of colors in Mac OS 8.5?

Some of our icon sets are being designed specifically to take advantage of the millions of colors, transparency and smooth edges of the OS. Not all sets will however as not all designs call for millions of colors. The Kidcons would be an example of icons that don't need to be rendered in millions of colors. Regardless of the new OS, all of our icons will work with Mac OS 8.5. You'll be able to quickly tell which icons have special support for 8.5 by the "8.5 badge" in the upper right corner of the Title icon. Hop over to the showroom to see what we're talking about.

Can I use icons in 8.5 the same way I always have?

Yes and no. If you've always used the "copy & paste" method to apply custom icons, this will still work, but only for the OS you're currently using. When you copy an icon in 8.5, you'll only be copying the 8.5 resources, and vice versa on any system below 8.5. What does this mean? It means that if you're only going to be using Mac OS 8.5 from now on, copying & pasting will work fine. If you're applying custom icons in a networked environment (at school or in the office), or on removable media (floppies, ZIP Disks, etc.) that run older versions of Mac OS, then copying & pasting isn't reliable. What's the solution? Why use IconDropper of course! ;-)

Will you continue to create icons for older Mac systems?

Yes we will. Every one of our icon sets will contain support for the standard 256 color icons you've grown to know and love. It just doesn't make sense to abandon icons for older systems until far into the future when these OS's are no longer in use. Until that time, we'll keep making backward compatible icon sets.

Do 8.5 icons work with IconDropper?

Yes. As of this writing, IconDropper is Mac OS 8.5 savvy. That is to say that both IconDropper & IconPacker support 32 bit icons. You can drop (set) custom 8.5 icons with IconDropper as well as create your very own 32 bit icons packs with IconPacker.

How do you create 8.5 icons, and can I make my own?

We could tell you, but then we'd have to kill you. :-) No, seriously, our chief typist, Craig Hockenberry, has written a cool Photoshop filter called IconBuilder that allows for the construction of full 32 bit icons. The filter takes advantage of the strengths of Photoshop like layers, opacity controls, powerful editing tools & drag & drop to make editing icons easier than ever. If you'd like to know more about the filter, then hop on over to the IconBuilder homepage.


The Website | Top

I really loved the Iconfactory's previous web site design. Why did you guys decide to change after all this time?

Why do most people re-arrange their living room from time to time? If you want people to keep visiting (and stay ahead of the competition) then a site redesign is a good thing every now and then. The entire factory staff thought this was as good a time as any to give the factory a fresh coat of paint.

I really hate to use frames when I browse the web. Must your site make use of frames?

The foreman really does not understand some people's aversion to frames. If frames are used wisely and are not over done, they can greatly improve a users experience at a web site. Important links need only load once and you always have access to our cool icon search engine. The new site was designed with frames in mind and we strongly suggest you use a browser that supports frames when visiting the site. The foreman thinks this is a move forward, not backward.

You guys have a great site, but I hate ad banners. Do you really have to have ad banners at the iconfactory?

Like it or not, ad banners help pay the bills. There are many costs associated with running such a popular web site. 95% of the Iconfactory's content is freeware and the other 5% that isn't (IconDropper, T-Shirts), along with ad banner revenue, helps support our efforts. Everytime your browser loads an ad banner, you're showing your support for what we do.

I love the design of your website. Can I copy your page's source code and use your graphics for my own site?

We would prefer that you don't. We worked long and hard on this latest web design and its only fair that others don't ride on our coat tails as it were. If you copy our look and feel, and especially our graphics your telling us that you don't mind taking credit for the work we've done, and that's just not fair. If you're going to copy parts of our web site, at least give credit where credit is due.

When I bookmark the showroom, I can't navigate out from that page due to your use of frames. What can I do to fix this?

Don't bookmark subsections of the Iconfactory. On the original site people got into the habit of bookmarking the showroom because that is where all the new content appeared. Not only does this bypass the main URL (where we record hits, and measure web site usage) but this also means you miss the main news page with info on all the latest at the factory. We ask that if you choose to bookmark or link to the site, that you do so to <>. After all, the showroom is only a click away.

I'm getting Javascript errors when I roll over certain links. Is there a way to fix this?

If you're using a browser that supports Javascript, you shouldn't be getting errors at all. If you do however, simply turn the option for Javascript off in your browser's preferences. Navigating around the site does not depend upon Javascript, but it just makes it cooler. Don't forget to write to us and let us know you've had problems loading the page.

I would like the Iconfactory to display in my browser window the best it can possibly be. What do I need to have for this to happen?

The Iconfactory should look good at almost every level of hardware and software, but if you want to see the site as we intended for it to be seen, you need: A mac capable of thousands or millions of colors, the Espy Sans font installed, Netscape 4.0 or IE 4.0 or better with frames and Javascript turned on. This configuration will let you see the factory the way we see it.

How to Use Icons | Top

I think your icons are cool, but I don't know how to use them and I'm not exactly sure what they are good for.

The most common use of custom icons is as a replacement for the standard file and folder icons that are built into your computer's operating system. Many people find that it is much easier to find a file that you are looking for by spotting a cool, colorful icon rather than by its name. Icons can be cut and pasted onto almost any item on the Macintosh. For the most part however, they are just a whole lot of fun. As for how to apply them, here is the most straight forward way:

1. On your desktop, select the icon you would like to use
2. Select "Get Info" (command-I) from the File Menu for that icon
3. Click on the icon in the upper left of the window
4. Choose "Copy" (command-C) from the Edit menu
5. Close the window
6. Select the file/folder you want to apply that icon to
7. Select "Get Info" (File menu) for that icon
8. Click on the icon in the upper left of the window
9. Select "Paste" (command-V) from the Edit Menu.
(this method won't work on the trash can)
10. You're done!

Can I replace the trash can icon on my Mac with one of your icons?

Yes, but unless you really know what you are doing we don't recommend it. The trash can icon on the Macintosh used to be fairly simple to alter, but not so with the advance of Mac OS 8. The trash can be changed by using third party software such as Kaleidoscope or ResEdit. In order to customize the trash can icon, changes must be made to parts of the system folder itself. Programs like ResEdit can do this, but it is always wise to make a backup of your System Folder before attempting it. Mac users who have not upgraded to Mac OS 8 are able to use more friendly programs to change their trash can icon like Dumpster.

I want to replace an icon on my mac with one of yours. I can't seem to paste the icon where I want to however. The paste command won't work. What's wrong?

Custom icons cannot always be applied to files or folders. If you attempt to paste a custom icon and the paste command is grayed out, there are several things you can do to try and solve the problem. Check to see if the destination file/folder is locked. Is the file/folder a direct component of the System Folder? Is your clipboard full? how much free RAM do you currently have? All these factors may hinder the application of custom icons.

Regarding Requests / Uploading | Top

I want to start making icons of my own. Where should I begin?

There are several good icon tutorial web sites out there. Many of them can be reached via our links page and should be checked out. We also have an icon making tutorial section and you can find it under the "How to..." link in the main navigation bar at the top of this page. Not only do we offer the technical tips and tricks of other icon tutorials, but we try to answer the question of what makes an icon good in the first place as well.

I have a killer set of icons and would like the Iconfactory to post them for all the world to see and download. Can I send them to you?

We are always eager to see new creations in the field of icon creation and we're flattered that you would like to send them to us. You should know however that as a rule, we don't post third party icons at the factory.

There are several reasons for this, not the least of which is a limited amount of server space. If we became a repository for everyone's icon submissions, we'd run out of space faster than you could say "Push that pixel!". What we do offer however, is a chance for your icons to be published here at The Iconfactory as part of our annual Pixelpalooza icon design contest. This gives icon authors a common forum to submit their creations and compete against their peers. You can learn more about Pixelpalooza by clicking here.

I have an idea for a great icon set. If I send you my idea, will you make them?

We cannot guarantee we'll make it, but we might. Lots of people send in ideas for icon sets all the time... some good, some not so good. As the foreman's mom always used to say - "It never hurts to ask."

I need one or two custom icons for my web site. Will you guys make them for me?

We would encourage you to look through all our current sets for what you are looking for before writing in to request all new custom icons. There are hundreds upon hundreds of objects and illustrations in our collections, so don't just dismiss them. If you're still bent on getting custom icon design work, write to us and we can discuss a possible freelance project.

Does the Iconfactory take on custom freelance icon design work?

Yes. We are always doing contract icon work (as well as web design, 3D design and graphic design) in tandem with running the iconfactory. If you would like to see examples of our work and our clients, we encourage you to visit our Portfolio page. The best way to find out about freelance projects is to write and ask us.

What are your rates for custom icon work?

Write to us to find out more about our custom icon design rates.

Legal / Copyright Issues | Top

I've downloaded several of your icon sets that I would like to use on my personal web page. Can I?

Sure you can. As long as your site does not generate revenue or is not commercially linked to one that does, you're free to use our icons as you see fit. Keep in mind however that if you use icons from sets that we don't own rights to (Looney Tunes, Wallace and Gromit, etc) you do so at your own risk.

I am the webmaster of a commercial web site. Can I use your icons on my company's web site?

Not without our permission. In addition, permission may only extend to Iconfactory original sets like Kidcons or Web Elements. We DO NOT authorize ANYONE to make use of copyrighted icons on their commercial web pages. If you're thinking of setting up a game page where you sell your shareware and you want to use one of the Looney Tunes icons on the site, *DON'T*. The Iconfactory accepts no responsibility for icons used in these ways.

I love the Apple "powerbadges" you're using at the Iconfactory. Can I use these badges on my site?

If you do so, you do it with the full knowledge that Apple Computer may not sanction such a graphic. The powerbadges displayed here at the Iconfactory are by no means "official" Apple graphics. If you choose to copy and use the badges on your site, you do so at your own risk. The Iconfactory accepts no repsonsibility for anyone else's web site but our own.

I notice some of your icon sets are officially licensed and some are not. Does this mean that I can use the "Official" icon sets on my home page?

If it is a personal home page and not a commercial site you may do so at your own risk. "Official" sets are primarily meant to be used on your computer's desktop, not as world wide web graphics. Icons from Iconfactory original sets may be used freely no matter what the application.

copyright©1999 The Iconfactory, all rights reserved