I told you I would share some icon sets that I really love.  As a quick reminder, I only do free.  So all of these are free downloads.  Today, we’re starting with animals.  Lots of fur and feathers.  Here’s a few sets that I think are super well done and are super easy to use.  These will work in Word, Powerpoint, or on the Web.  Two of these come with the original files, so you can edit them into what you need.  Go on and download.  Nobody’s watching.

Cute Critters

cute-critters These adorable animals are “painfully cute” as described on the release.  A little heavy on the anime, all of these guys have caricatured features.  So something’s a little larger than everything else.  They are indeed cute, and they well done.  The set comes with two versions of each critter—one with the graduated single color background and one with a transparent background. They can be used in commercial and personal project without attribution, but that’s just not nice.  So go ahead and tell everybody where you got them from.

Available from Tutorial9.com

Birds 1

cute-twittersThese cute little birds are one set of friends that could be used with Twitter or stand alone.  They are really friendly and round, so they would be great with K-12 kids, teachers, or even with newsletters.  There are a total of 8 images, even though only 5 are in the image at the right.  With these icons, you’re going to get the vector Illustrator (.ai) file for editing, along with EPS files.  So, these certainly have the potential to be used with print materials.  You also get the PNG files in three sizes (128, 256, & 512).  So they could be used as dominate images on slides or a web page.

Available from Mirkku

Birds 2

twitter_badge_5I used a screen capture of these Twitter birds in my last post on icons.  But I thought I would go ahead and given you a heads up on the full set.  There are 5 different birds with this set, and they each have fun names, like Roger, Nola, and Squidge.  For each character, you’re going to get your money’s worth, though.  You’ll get a Twitter badge, like the one to the right  You’ll get icons (PNGs) at a couple of different sizes.  You’ll be getting larger images, just silhouettes, and Photoshop (.psd) files for each character.  There’s 40 images in all.  So, this is well worth the download.  Because these birds are all whimsical, these are fun to use with less-than-serious topics, and they have really nice unity among the images to be used across design project.  The colors are a little muted, and there is a range of different colors.  So, lots of possibilities and play in the color schemes that could be used.  Plus, the licensing on these is pretty wide open, too.  A link back is appreciated but not required.

Available from Function Web Design

That’s it for today.  Three fun, cute, and furry or feather sets of icons for you to download and put to good —or no good— use.  Do you have some icons that you like?  Let me know what you like and where to get ’em down in the comments.

Okay that’s 5 words.  Technically, 3.  But, I love collecting icons, and most of the time they come in sets.  I probably have somewhere in the neighborhood of 30 to 50 sets of icons that have anywhere from 4 to 60 icons a piece.  So a rough estimate is somewhere around 800 to 1,000 icons. Admittedly, many of these are the same icon in 3 or 4 different sizes, such as 28 x 28 pixels up to 256 x 256 pixels.  I have bookmarked almost all of them, so check them out.

So what do I do with all of them?  Well, I’ve started using them a lot in presentations.  As I’ve moved to more Presentations 2.0 and emphasizing visual literacy for memory, I’ve begun to use a lot more images — in particular, Flickr Creative Commons and icons to demonstrate ideas.  I even created presentation for Clif Mims using almost all icons.  And since I create quite a few web sites and web pages for courses and professional development that I conduct, I tend to use the icons on these pages as well.

Here is a couple of examples of wiki pages where I used icons from Vistaicons.com and Pasquale D’Silva.  I find that often with a quick site, the icon sets work well because they are all in the same theme, or flavor, and they bring a visual unity to the site with both message and colors.  Plus, if you feel like you don’t have the graphic design know-how to produce quality images, then these high-quality images are a far better cry than screen beans in Office.

City icons on course website

City icons on course website

Cute bird icons on course site

Cute bird icons on course site

Three Tips for Icons

Free is better
I always look for free icons and icon sets.  Free is the new 99 cents.  Sites where I often receive notices about icons are SitePoint, Function, and Smashing Magazine.  I encourage you to subscribe to the RSS feeds/email alerts if for nothing other than the icon alerts.

PNG is where it’s at
I always look for PNG file format.  I’ve found that these have the most flexibility in use for digital presentations and online with web sites.  So the PNG files work with Word, Powerpoint, Dreamweaver, and in PBWorks, too.

Often when looking to download the icon sets they are especially designed for use with your operating systems.  So that you can change the icons for Firefox, Photoshop, and iTunes.  Therefore you will often see them in three flavors: Windows, Mac, and Linux.  Almost always the Linux pack is the PNG pack to download.  You can, of course, download the others for your operating system, but to get the most liberal use of the graphics, don’t overlook the Linux link.

U gotta Readme
Finally, when I download, I always, always, always, look at the Readme file and/or the release statement.  Inside these files are the licensing requirements for using the graphics.  In many cases, the licensing/copyright statement requires that you provide a link back to the distributing site.  In many cases, the statement does not allow you to redistribute the graphics in any manner other than linking to the download page.  In about 50% of the cases, the statement does not allow you to use the graphics for commercial applications.  However, in probably close to 50% of the downloads, the designer has also packaged the Illustrator or Photoshop original files, so that you can alter the images to your liking.  This is the case with the super cute Twitter birds.  Pasquale D’Silva licensed them out for use and derivations at will.

In fact, here’s an example of where I used the original Photoshop (.psd) file to change the icon to suit a blog post I was writing about retweeting and reposting.  (Actually, I used Fireworks, and it all worked fine, too.)

twitter_badge_4twitter_badge_4_retweet

If that’s not enough to get you going on icons, then over the next few posts, I’m going to share some of my favorite icons and icons sets.  So stay tuned, clear out some space on your hard drive, and get ready to “Save image as…”  But if you can wait, then go ahead and download them now.

Are you collecting graphics, icons, or other media?  Share them (and the links) below.  I’m always looking for new media to share.

These are my Jumptags for July 26th