Favicons are those eye-catching little pictures that appear in your web browser’s address bar, favorites list (hence the name favicon, short for “favorites icon”), and, with modern tabbed browsers, on tabs.
Instantly recognizable when designed well, favicons represent the brand identity of sites that use them.
Wikipedia uses the “W” from its logo:
Digg’s favicon represents a person holding a shovel, an image that seems to have been created especially for the favicon:
Usability in a tabbed, multitasking world
Tabbed browsers, such as Firefox and Internet Explorer 7, can show many page-tabs at once, squishing a site’s descriptive text.
Below are examples of tabs without favicons. What sites are they? I don’t know.
These have favicons. At a glance I see a seated robed figure (meditation site), a stylized “Ti” that I recognize as my private TikiWiki site, and a picture of me, which (if I can stop admiring its beauty for a moment), I know represents my blog.
Create your own mini work of art
Favicons are ordinary graphics, generally 16×16 pixels in size, named favicon.ico. How to make them? I found an easy method that even non-artists can use.
The free site FavIcon from Pics allows anyone to convert a normal-sized graphic into a favicon. Instructions:
- Go to FavIcon from Pics.
- Click the “Browse…” button to select an image from your computer’s hard drive.
- Click “Generate FavIcon.ico.”
- After a few seconds, the site will show a preview image and a download link.
- If you are pleased with your creation, download favicon.ico to your computer. Then transfer that file, via FTP or your preferred method, to your website’s root folder (often /public_html or /www).
- View your website with its new addition! (You might have to press the refresh button to make the favicon appear.)
Show your art
If this article inspired you to create a favicon, please add a comment here with the link to your newly enhanced site.