Do you remember the early days of Windows when a typical display device was a fish-eye 14-inch cathode-ray tube monitor? The resolution and color accuracy of those early displays were so low by modern standards that 256 colors seemed a lot, while as little as 16 colors were considered enough for office work. At the time, all a developer would need were simple icons of 16×16 and 32×32 pixels, in 16 and, maybe, 256 colors.
Fast-forward to modern days. Now we have full-color high resolution LCD displays in every office, demanding consumers sit in front of these monitors. The icons gained in terms of resolution and color depth, adding sizes of 48×48 pixels and color depth of 32 bits. What’s more important, some of these bits were used as a semi-transparency mask, giving those icons a slick look allowing them to be blended into the graphical user interface of an application no matter what color scheme the user preferred.
If you are developing applications for today’s market, you are probably going to be just fine with these sizes alone. But what about the future?
Today’s monitors have a typical resolution of 96 DPI (dots per inch), rendering a 48×48 icon exactly into a half-inch square. High-definition flat panels of the near future will have resolutions as high as 240 or 320 DPI, thus rendering that same 48×48 icon into a square of 1/5 or 1/6 inch. Obviously, 48 by 48 dots are not going to be enough for comfortable viewing on flat panels with smaller dots and higher pixel densities. The same goes for displays larger than today’s 22 or 24 inches.
That’s why Microsoft has introduced a new standard for Windows icons in its latest incarnation of Windows: 256×256 pixels. If you would like your software to look good on new high-definition displays of the near future, consider implementing this icon size into your project.
Designing a good-looking icon is not an easy task and getting a designer to draw a set of matching icons isn’t any easier. But commissioning a set of matching high definition icons can be a total financial nightmare!
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777icons have hundreds of individual icons grouped into several themes and matching sets. You will get all color depths and sizes, from the ancient 16-color 16×16 dots format to the latest semi-transparent 32-bit 256×256 high-definition format introduced in Windows Vista. All intermediate formats are also supported, such as 256-color icons for Web sites or earlier versions of Windows. For your convenience, icons are supplied in all of the following formats: ICO, PNG, GIF, and BMP.
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