Icon fonts are the new craze lately. The advantages are clear. Instead of working with a load of files in different resolutions or large sprites to be controlled by CSS, we simply embed a special font. This font contains all the needed icons. Each icon looks crisp no matter the resolution. Everybody’s happy. But in prototyping things are less nice. Of course you can get desktop font variants of most popular icon fonts, yet the handling is not so easy, nor is it to edit them. Iconion is a new free tool, that converts pictograms from icon fonts into files. You can even edit them…
Iconion: Icon Design Made Easy
Iconion is a free download for Windows at the time of this writing. A version for Mac OS is in the works. After having downloaded and installed the tool from the 19MB archive download, a very simple UI looks at you.
The left part of the threepart screen lets you select icons from the popular Typeicons, Linecons, Font Awesome and Entypo. Future versions are said to be working with any symbol font you desire to work with. Having selected an icon, the chosen pictogram shows up in the middle part of the screen with one of the styles from the right part of the screen already added to it.
The styles section is what had me from hello. 31 styles can be applied from here. Ranging from circle icons to a glassy look to long shadows to squares to iOS7. All the pre-made styles can be changed to your liking from an editor below the styles window. A simple click of the mouse lets you completely alter the characteristics of any given icon. It’s basically like building your very own symbols, just slightly reminiscent of the ones taken out of the icon font.
The icons you work on are collected below the preview pane, so that you can download them in one go, once you’re finished editing. Icons can be saved in predefined sizes from 14 to 1024px or in any custom square resolution. I randomly tried 5200px and it worked flawlessly, though it took some time to download ;-) Icon files can be generated in either PNG, JPG or BMP.
Iconion: The Riddle Of The Two Licenses
I really like Iconion a lot from first sight and have already heavily played around creating icons in no time instead of fiddling around long hours. What annoys me a little is that, although the creators talk of a free download, they let you confirm contradictory terms on installation. Having started the install process, the insurpassable window with the TOS appeared and – though we all know, we never do – I read it.
And I was surprised. Iconion is talking about two licenses. One entitles you to use Iconion for free for non-commercial purposes. And the other one requires you to have a commercial license as soon as you want to use Iconion commercially or in other way profit-oriented. The website offers no further information, so I reached out to the creators to clarify the conflicting terms. Up to the time of publication of this article they haven’t responded. So, it remains to be seen what goal they are pursuing. It’s not a nice move, though, when a service speaks of free usage with no hint on pricing and restrictions, to hide antithetic terms in the backroom. The setup file named
iconion-biz-setup.exe might rate as a hint, too.
To sum it all up: Iconion is a great tool, very easy to use. It delivers great results in any size you desire. Still, contradictory to what’s announced, it does not work with any icon font, but only with the four mentioned above. And the licensing needs clarification. Probably it’s just an error as might occur in beta state, but if it’s not, we all should know what we defer to before we actually do.
- Iconion: awesome icon creator | Project Website
Dieter Petereit is Noupe's Editor-In-Chief and a veteran of the web with over 25 years of experience in the world of IT. As soon as Netscape became available he started to do what already at that time was called webdesign and has carried on ever since. Almost a decade ago he started writing for several online publications, some well, some lesser known. Dieter is a heavy G-Plusser, so why not meet him over there?