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Writers' Talk With Corey Marion of the Iconfactory
Pages: 1, 2, 3

OReillyMac: If I'm a developer ready to market a new OS X app ... and it's time to design my icons ... do I follow the strict Apple standards as they exist now ... do I contact a consultant such as Iconfactory, or do I punt?

alanosx: Go for the conversion.

iconfactorycorey: You should absolutely contact the Iconfactory, no question about it :-)

alanosx: Or read my columns on the OReilly network.

OReillyMac: (two shameless plugs in one question!)

iconfactorycorey: We can help decipher the AHIG and try our best to apply them to your icon design

alanosx: I think budget is one issue...

alanosx: if you can't afford to hire an outside firm...and many small developers are in this boat...

alanosx: and it can be difficult deciphering the guidelines...

alanosx: I've seen some terrible icons.

alanosx: But if you can afford to hire a firm...I highly recommend it.

alanosx: I hate software companies with budgets who opt for the cheap road...

iconfactorycorey: I don't think you can afford not to hire someone

iconfactorycorey: especially if you have no designers on staff

alanosx: expensive software with bad icons looks cheap.

iconfactorycorey: the least we can do is take your artwork, make suggestions and create the resources for your developer

alanosx: it is important for people to understand that icons aren't just on the desktop...

alanosx: remember that icons pertains to tool bars and palettes as well...

alanosx: people will judge the app on the design.

OReillyMac: How early in the process should you be thinking about this?

iconfactorycorey: As soon as you know the kind of app you are building

OReillyMac: So this is a parallel process to the actual code development?

iconfactorycorey: It should be, but it usually isn't

iconfactorycorey: Your finder icon is the first thing a user sees

OReillyMac: What's the biggest mistake you see developers make?

iconfactorycorey: Starting too late in the process so there is not time to develop icons

iconfactorycorey: And obviously not hiring designers to do the UI design

alanosx: You know the remark that stuck with me from WWDC...

alanosx: is when an engineer got up and said:

alanosx: "Designing icons for OS X was the hardest part of the development."

alanosx: Designers of the world unite!

iconfactorycorey: We try to make it easier by offloading that burden

iconfactorycorey: for a small fee of course ;-)

OReillyMac: So let's look into our crystal ball for a moment ... and wrap up with a look at the direction that design is heading

OReillyMac: What changes do you see for iconfactory as a result of Mac OS X?

iconfactorycorey: A lot of jobs creating fewer icons that take more time

alanosx: Where is this heading...can you guess...meaning...

alanosx: with the attention to detail...any ideas as to the future of the OS and Hardware?

iconfactorycorey: a lot more time in Freehand

OReillyMac: :-)

alanosx: It seems Apple is building a lot of room for growth here...and it all points to media.

iconfactorycorey: Now that the software looks as flashy and as slick as Apple's hardware

iconfactorycorey: I think they will add more user customizable features ... if not, developers will

alanosx: II think I see hints towards animated icons as well. They'll really need your services then!!!

iconfactorycorey: They did refer quite frequently to animated icons at WWDC

iconfactorycorey: but in am informational context, like

iconfactorycorey: showing you how many messages are waiting

alanosx: Developer heed this warning...out-source!

alanosx: Sometimes... it is hard to know all that your app can and will do...until you know what it looks like. iconfactorycorey: l'm just thinking about IconBuilder

alanosx: Oh yeah...I tried that out.

iconfactorycorey: What did you think?

alanosx: I really liked it...

alanosx: It is a really helpful tool...

alanosx: especially for me when it comes to the final compositing of the icon...

alanosx: I do all my graphics work in 9...

alanosx: why go to X to test it out?

iconfactorycorey: We can help your app be a "good citizen" in OS X starting with the icon

alanosx: Prefer to use Photoshop anyway...and it works as a plug in.

alanosx: Great preview tools as well.

iconfactorycorey: It started an internal tool to make it easier for us

alanosx: It brings the best of Icon Browser...and Composer together in many respects.

iconfactorycorey: gradually got to the commercial quality level and is very popular with designers

alanosx: And it works for Windows icons too!

iconfactorycorey: you are in Photoshop anyway, why drop out to another editor?

alanosx: Exactly.

iconfactorycorey: new version coming soon with XP support and a few other new features

iconfactorycorey: no need to deal with masks, IconBuilder does it for you

OReillyMac: OK guys ...

OReillyMac: this has been terrific

alanosx: Thanks for stopping by Corey.

iconfactorycorey: Thanks for inviting me!

OReillyMac: Alright. It's a wrap!

Derrick Story is the author of The Photoshop CS4 Companion for Photographers, The Digital Photography Companion, and Digital Photography Hacks, and coauthor of iPhoto: The Missing Manual, with David Pogue. You can follow him on Twitter or visit

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