Thursday, April 23, 2009

Readymade pies versus graphics

No matter how much time you spend on your computer, you're more or less likely to get headaches whenever it comes to creating new graphics or editing existing ones. Less if you're a chef, and more if you've always had readymade pies but never tried baking one on your own. Computer graphics are undoubtedly more complicated than pies, in fact. For, it's not just about striking concepts, but much more about mastering the tools to turn those concepts into meaningful and usable shapes.

Apparently, the template that I'm using and customising for my blog doesn't seem to require much fancy graphics. However, I felt that the three links (viz. 'older posts', 'newer posts' and 'home') that appear below the last post of each page were somewhat unnoticeable. That is to say, browsing through my blog pages could be a bit confusing and require new visitors to spend some extra time to figure out the corresponding links. Therefore, I decided to place some nice and simple buttons beside each of those, but nothing too much flashy.

I could have tried whatever I knew of  Photoshop or Illustrator, but I didn't feel like spending much time today. If professional designers can fetch ready-to-use graphics from the WWW, why can't I give it a try? So I spent a few minutes Googling and scanning through the resultant pages. You're right, thousands of items were found, but there was no way I could check them all.

I quickly shortlisted about six. Out of those, two sites really caught my attention, both offering a plentiful of ready-to-use icon sets for free. To cut the long story short, I downloaded a set of icons each from and The first one was in a .Zip archive which on being extracted gave 128 .PNG icons of 48x48 pixel size. I chose three and quickly converted them into transparent .GIF files and uploaded immediately. The second one was a layered file containing 85 icons in the Illustrator CS2 format, which I'll see later. In appreciation of their works, I also left short comments for the creators.

I hope you'll like these and more of the free stuffs offered by both sites. If you wish, you can simply save the .JPG previews and cut out the icons you like. Those will lose transparency, but can be used on a white background without any noticeable difference. And if you do like the stuffs on those sites, refer those to your friends. After all, good works deserve some publicity, whether asked for or not.

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