Creating a Favicon

My site's favicon, blown up to ridiculous proportions Nelson reminded me today that I didn’t have a favicon for this site. I took a few moments and created the amazing little pencil that’s sitting in the address bar above.

For all the non-techies and new webmasters out there who have stumbled across this page, a favicon is the little icon that show up next to a web site’s URL and next to the page’s title in your bookmarks. They’re very small (16 by 16 pixels) but they can add a dash of branding to your site and are a helpful visual signal for bookmark navigation, increasing the information scent.

Want to create your own favicon? You can draw one pixel-by-pixel at this site, but I’d recommend busting out Photoshop and creating one yourself. Try to pick initials, a logo, or an object that can be expressed very simply – I used an apple for Mealographer, for example. You can go as simple as a couple of squares that fit your site’s color scheme and still create a memorable association for your users.

Modern browsers like Firefox allow you to use .gif and .png files directly, with some code like this:

<link rel="shortcut icon" type="image/png href="http://www.jasonmorrison.net/favicon.png" />

That means you can have an animated favicon… just make sure you’re doing it for some useful or artistic purpose, otherwise you will annoy your users.

From what I’ve heard Internet Explorer still has some issues, so you may want to use the older .ico format. This site will convert the image for you.

<link rel="shortcut icon" type="image/ico" href="http://www.jasonmorrison.net/favicon.ico" />

If you want to get really crazy, you can use Javascript to dynamically alter the favicon, which is great if you want to play Defender on the smallest display ever.

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