Icons: Tiny elements of good design

If there ever is a reality show about multimedia journalism (Who Wants Be A Multimedia Producer? Project Multimedia?) one of the challenges has to be creating an icon. One of the hardest things to do as a multimedia designer is to create a set of icons for use on a newspaper site. It’s relatively easy to create vast multimedia projects when you’ve got a great canvas to start with but creating something in a 16 pixel wide space, dot by dot, is excruciating. An icon must be universally recognizable and eye-catching, something that is very hard to do.

Intersmash provides a little bit of inspiration with their collection of icons that designate things like comments, mail and shopping. Iconfinder has an intuitive search function that allows anyone to download and use a variety of icons under Creative Commons and other licenses. The icons range in size from 12×12 to 128×128 px.

If you become overwhelmed with frustration during your icon selection, try iStockPhoto which has a large collection of vector icons that come in batches and can be downloaded immediately.