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Introducing “Clear Crystal” System Icons for Mac OS X

Published June 8th, 2011
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I'm happy to present a complete, new set of icons for Mac OS X, specifically designed to complement the Crystal Black theme. These icons can be used to replace the default "system" icons for folders, devices, toolbar items, Finder sidebar items, and others. The screenshots below display the icons for each system type.

These "Clear Crystal" icons come in sizes from 256 to 16 pixels. (I'm not a big fan of 512 pixel icons, which is why they're missing.) In the screenshots, the icons are shown at 72 pixels for the first four system groups. The fifth screenshot shows them at 24 pixels, and the screenshot of the Finder sidebar shows them at 16 pixels.

I see no reason to prepare unique icons for every flavor of removable disk one can use these days, mainly because at 16 pixels (which is how they typically appear in the Finder sidebar), the different designs are indistinguishable. Therefore, I've used the same design for CDs, DVDs, BDs, and all their various permutations.

Beginning with Mac OS X 10.6 ("Snow Leopard"), Apple defines a distinct set of icons for the Finder sidebar. Since these mostly duplicate those used for folders, I've chosen to use the same icon set for both. This is possible because icon sizes down to 32 pixels use the full design, while those from 32 pixels and smaller use a simpler design more distinguishable at small sizes.

Note that although I designed the icons for use with Crystal Black, I also tried to make them compatible with the default Aqua theme. They'll look best with dark backgrounds, but light backgrounds will work too. (The screenshots show them in use with Crystal Black.)

At the end of this article is a list of the icon sets that provided either templates or inspiration for the Clear Crystal icons. My sincere thanks to the many great icon designers who provide their work free of charge to the Mac user community.


Installing the Clear Crystal Icons

This icon set is available as an iContainer for the application CandyBar, which provides a convenient way of quickly installing (or uninstalling) icons for the various system types. In addition, the Clear Crystal icons are available as Apple icon files for those of you who don't want to shell out for CandyBar.

If you have CandyBar, simply double-click the Clear Crystal Icons iContainer file to add them to CandyBar. Follow the instructions in CandyBar to apply the newly added icons.

To install the icons manually, you first select an icon in Finder and open the Info window (Cmd-I). Next, copy the small icon at the top of the Info window (to the left of the icon's name). Then, select the folder or item to which you wish to apply the Clear Crystal icon and open its Info window. Then, paste the copied icon over the small icon at the top of the Info window. Repeat for each icon in the set.

Clear Crystal Icon Set (Download file is 9.1 MB)

Generic and Toolbar
Disks and Drives
Crystal Icons at 24x24 Pixels
Finder Sidebar

I used the following icon sets to provide templates or inspiration for the overall design and for various individual Clear Crystal icons. I am deeply indebted to those who designed these sets, both for their graphic design skill and for their generosity in providing their icons for free to the Mac user community.

  • Albook
  • Antares
  • Black N White
  • G5 System
  • Glass Globes Desktop
  • Black N White
  • Mistikons
  • Neige
  • Photopro
  • TiCons
  • Tokens
  • XPack
  • Google
  • Slashdot
  • Technorati
  • blogmarks
  • Tumblr
  • Digg
  • Facebook
  • Mixx

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