Fun with customized folder icons on Mac OS X

How often do you come across a piece of software that does exactly what you want it to do? Well it seems that iconCompo has provided me with the means to do something I’ve wanted to do ever since getting my Mac. Now I actually quite like Leopard’s minimalist cool blue colour scheme for it’s folder icons. I ust wished there was a way to ’emboss’ selected folder icons with something that gives a clue as to the contents so that I don’t have to scan the labels underneath. I still want the folder icon to be clearly visible so that I know it’s a folder (rather than an app or an archive for example), but some extra visual cues would be nice.Similarly I don’t want anything too colourful as that can be distracting.

So it was almost by accident that I ended up downloading iconCompo. I was looking at another icon editing app on MacUpdate and I happened to look at the ‘Other People Suggest’ where someone had mentioned iconCompo. A few minutes later I was staring at a very simple interface with three boxes on it thinking ‘what comes next’? Well the premise is very simple – box #1 represents one layer, box #2 represents another layer and box #3 represents the result, which is the essence of how you come up with a customized folder icon that combines the image you want with Leopard’s standard folder icon, as the picture below demonstrates.



So for example, to create a customized folder icon for the folder where Email Backup Pro stores backups of my mail file, I pasted the icon into box #1, the default folder icon into box #2 and hey presto…! However, the capabilities of the program don’t end there. You can resize and reposition images, as well as changing the hue, saturation, brightness etc. I wanted to stick with Leopard’s blue colour theme so I altered the top layer of each of my custom icons to give it a blue hue, and I’m pretty pleased with the results.

Start small, then go for it!

Start small, then go for it!

I then decided to have some real fun and create custom folder icons for TV shows I have recorded through EyeTV. You could just as easily create custom icons for your favourite bands, or anything else.

Custom folder icons

How about folder icons for your favourite TV shows?

iconCompo has a lot more features than I have described here. For example you can alter the pitch and angle of each layer, you can add text (written in any direction), and of course you don’t just have to create custom folder icons – you can combine any two images you like. Your imagination is your only limit.

8 Responses

  1. Very nice ! Loving your blog… if you haven’t noticed 🙂

  2. Would it be possible to put those icons up for downloading? It would save some of us recreating the wheel. And I love the DropBox one. Now all I need to find is a Zinio one and a PDF one.

    Great Set of Icons!

  3. So cool! Thank you very much in advance! 🙂

  4. These look pretty cool. Check out more on

  5. I love this program!!!

  6. Hi,

    Never did end up seeing these icons posted for downloading. Unless I just totally missed it.

    Pity as they were so well done.

    Gave me some ideas for creating some of my own.

    Thanks anyways!

  7. Could you please post these icons?
    Thanks so much! They look beautiful.

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