Inspired by my pal Jessica Hische and her recent icon insurrection, I took matters into my own hands and vanquished my two least-favourite Mac icons, iTunes and Quicktime.

iTunes icon

iTunes icon

The iTunes icon came under some scrutiny recently, and without reviving that ‘controversy’, I wasn’t a fan. So I made one that looks more like the application interface itself. One that feels vaguely mechanical, like something that might play music. And then I made the same thing for Quicktime. I kept the blue ‘Q’ icon, because my brain recognises, but in my Dock, it just looks so clumsy and out of place. Very 1999.

The above images are PNG files, so go ahead and drag ’em to your system and use ’em. If you want to create more of your own, download the PSD and go nuts. Just remember to leave a space cushion so the icons have some room to breathe in the Dock.

Wired Magazine has some alternatives for the iTunes icon, and directions on how to change it. Definitely worth a look if you don’t fancy my own version.

Something to note in the realm of icon design is that having a ubiquitous Dock with all the same style of icon actually isn’t a great idea. I tried it a few years ago when everyone was making their applications in the Adobe CS2 style. But because we humans recognise colour, shape, form, and letters, we need as many points of distinction to quickly sort and choose icons. If they are all the same shape, for example, we will have to go down the list and actually read the letters, which takes too long. Trust me, it’s good to have some variation.

My Dock is below. As you can see, I’ve grouped my icons by function, and it just so happens that generally they are sorted by shape. Browsers, communication, and email apps are circular; Adobe CS and project mgmt software is square, various Mac apps for writing, organising photos, etc. are sort of a tilted rectangle; and my printers and font mgmt is kinda freeform. Hey, it works for me.

My Dock