It’s time to rethink how we prepare dinner a set of favicons for contemporary browsers and cease the icon generator insanity. At the moment, frontend builders need to take care of 20+ static PNG information simply to show a tiny web site brand in a browser tab or on a touchscreen. Learn on to see  take a smarter strategy and undertake a minimal set of icons that matches most fashionable wants.

The favicons proved to be a extra exhaustive matter that anybody may want for, so I additionally summarized a entire article in simply two code snippets for individuals who suffered sufficient and know precisely what to do. Nonetheless, I like to recommend geeking out to the remainder of it!

Extraordinarily quick model

As an alternative of serving dozens of icons, all you want is simply 5 icons and one JSON file.

In your HTML, for the browser:

<hyperlink rel="icon" href="https://evilmartians.com/favicon.ico"><!-- 32×32 -->
<hyperlink rel="icon" href="/icon.svg" kind="picture/svg+xml">
<hyperlink rel="apple-touch-icon" href="/apple-touch-icon.png"><!-- 180×180 -->
<hyperlink rel="manifest" href="https://evilmartians.com/manifest.webmanifest">

And in your internet app manifest:

// manifest.webmanifest
  "icons": [
    { "src": "/192.png", "type": "image/png", "sizes": "192x192" },
    { "src": "/512.png", "type": "image/png", "sizes": "512x512" }

That’s it. If you wish to know the way I arrived at this, which compromises I needed to take, and  construct a set like this from scratch in a step-by-step trend, tune in for the remainder of the article.

Lengthy model, the place all the things is defined

“Perfection is achieved, not when there’s nothing extra to add, however when there’s nothing left to take away.”

—Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, Airman’s Odyssey

An idea of a favicon, quick for “favourite icon”, have been round for the reason that early 2000s. All of us see these cute little pictures in your browser’s tab bar that assist inform open web sites aside daily. Customers anticipate your web site to have a favicon. It’s one in all these little issues that make different individuals take you severely.

Even Apple, which at all times had some aesthetic beef with icons that don’t come from Cupertino and downplayed favicons in Safari for years, had lastly given up and now shows them correctly throughout all of its units.

In case you have a public-facing web site, it has to have a favicon. Sadly, what customers understand as one icon—is definitely so much of them.

So it’s widespread to offload the grueling activity of producing vital information for the ever-growing record of screens and units to favicon generator instruments. No human in their proper thoughts would wish to spend hours creating them by hand. We’re right here to construct web sites, in spite of everything, not make browser distributors glad.

, Six information that match most wants — Martian Chronicles, Evil Martians’ group weblog, Docuneedsph

A set of favicons generated by a standard on-line generator

As a creator of NanoID and a proponent of minimalistic open supply, I are likely to assume in a barely completely different course. What’s the best set of web site icons? Which codecs are outdated? Which icon varieties may be changed with small compromises?

So, I got down to create a minimal record of favicons that may work in all circumstances and in all browsers, barring some edge circumstances the place it can nonetheless work, simply not 100% completely.

The Final Favicon Setup

As an alternative of creating many pictures with completely different sizes, I made a decision to depend on SVG and browser downscaling. If you’re involved about efficiency, I’m right here to set the file straight:

  • browsers obtain favicons in the background, so a greater favicon picture doesn’t have an effect on web site efficiency;
  • SVG is a nice solution to scale back picture measurement for pictures that aren’t speculated to be bitmaps in the first place; for a lot of logos, the ensuing file can be a lot smaller than a PNG;
  • With simply three PNG pictures in this minimal set, you need to use superior instruments to optimize their measurement. It solves a downside for Web customers that don’t have limitless knowledge plans.

Right here comes the minimal set of icons that I got here up with in my analysis and observe. It ought to work with all standard browsers and units, previous and new.

I. favicon.ico for legacy browsers

ICO information even have a directory structure and can pack information with completely different resolutions. I like to recommend sticking to a single 32×32 picture, until the one you may have doesn’t downscale effectively to 16×16 (turns into blurry, for example). In that case, you may ask your designer to provide you with a particular model of the brand that’s tailor-made to match small pixel grids.

Don’t get good with folder static asset folder construction and cache busters. https://instance.com web site ought to have a favicon on https://instance.com/favicon.ico. Some instruments, like RSS readers, simply request /favicon.ico from the server and don’t hassle trying elsewhere.

II. A single SVG icon with gentle/darkish model for contemporary browsers

SVG is a vector format that describes curves as an alternative of pixels. On massive sizes, it’s extra environment friendly than raster pictures. 72% of all browsers assist SVG icons as of this writing.

Your HTML web page ought to have a <hyperlink> tag in its <head> with rel="icon", kind="picture/svg+xml" and href with a hyperlink to SVG file as attributes.

SVG is an XML format and can include a <fashion> tag that describes CSS. As any CSS, it will probably include media queries like @media (prefers-color-scheme: darkish). This can will let you toggle the similar icon between light and dark system themes.

III. 180×180 PNG picture for Apple units

Apple contact icon is an picture that Apple units will use if you add the webpage as a shortcut to your house display on an iPhone or iPad. Your HTML web page ought to have <hyperlink rel="apple-touch-icon" href="https://evilmartians.com/chronicles/apple-touch-icon.png"> tag in a <head>.

iPads since iOS 8+ require a 180×180 decision. Different units will downscale the picture, but when we offer the supply with a good-enough high quality, the downscaling gained’t damage the end-user (I’ll come again to it later).

Small be aware: an Apple contact icon will look higher if you add a 20px padding across the icon and put some background colour. You need to use any picture editor for that.

IV. Net app manifest with 192×192 and 512×512 PNG icons for Android units.

  • Net app manifest is a JSON file with all particulars for a browser to set up your web site as a system software. The format got here from Google for its PWA initiative.
  • Your HTML web page ought to have a <hyperlink rel="manifest" href="https://evilmartians.com/chronicles/path.webmanifest"> tag with a hyperlink to manifest file.
  • Manifest ought to have an icon discipline that hyperlinks to two icons: 192×192 displayed on a residence display and 512×512 that can be used as a splash display as PWA is loading.
  "icons": [
    { "src": "/192.png", "type": "image/png", "sizes": "192x192" },
    { "src": "/512.png", "type": "image/png", "sizes": "512x512" }

Did we neglect anybody?

There are, of course, extra favicon flavors on the market, a few of them fairly obscure, so let’s see how our setup fares with them. Perhaps, it’s time to say farewell to some much less profitable codecs on the market.

Home windows Tile Icon

Microsoft Edge used to support a particular icon format to pin web sites to Begin Menu. For latest variations of Home windows, that is no longer required.

Safari Pinned Icon

Safari used to have a separate requirement to show an icon in pinned tabs. Nonetheless, since Safari 12, we will use a common favicon for pinned tabs. Even apple.com doesn’t use the mask-icon anymore.


Loads of (now outdated) tutorials will embrace a favicon.ico into HTML like this:

<hyperlink rel="shortcut icon" href="https://evilmartians.com/favicon.ico">

Be warned that shortcut is not, and by no means was a legitimate hyperlink relation. Learn this amazing article by Mathias Bynens from ten years in the past that explains why we by no means wanted shortcuts and rel="icon" is simply high quality.

Yandex Tableau

Yandex Browser is a Chromium-based browser from the largest Russian search engine. In Russia, it has a 20% market share. It has a nice feature that enables web site to show dwell knowledge in widgets on a residence display via a particular JSON manifest offered by the yandex-tableau-widget hyperlink. Nonetheless, the function proved to not be very talked-about, and now Yandex has eliminated the technical documentation for it from its web site. Common icon manifests will work simply as effectively.

Opera Coast

Opera Coast, an experimental browser for iOS, used to require a particular 228×228 icon. The browser left the App Retailer in 2017, and I doubt it has survived a number of iOS updates since then.

Now, as we waved goodbye to fallen comrades, let’s see  produce an final favicon set for individuals who are nonetheless standing.

Find out how to construct our Final Favicon Set

Right here’s  construct our final, minimalistic favicon set in six fast steps. All it’s good to begin is an SVG file for the brand that you just wish to use.

Step 1: Put together the SVG

Make certain that the SVG picture is sq.. Open the supply file in your system viewer and test the picture’s width and peak. It’s straightforward to modify the SVG measurement in any SVG editor. In Inkscape, you may change doc measurement in File → Doc Properties and heart the brand utilizing Object → Align and Distribute.

Save your file as icon.svg. Now let’s fiddle with our SVG, so it performs effectively with fashionable system themes. Ask your designer how the colours must be inverted in a darkish theme (for B&W logos, you simply change black to white).

Now, open your SVG file in a textual content editor. Discover a <path> with darkish or lacking fill. Add a CSS media question that triggers on theme modifications and change fill to the colours you need:

  <svg xmlns="http://www.w3.org/2000/svg" viewBox="0 0 500 500">
+   <fashion>
+     @media (prefers-color-scheme: darkish) {
+     .a { fill: #f0f0f0 }
+     }
+   </fashion>
-   <path fill="#0f0f0f" d="…" />
+   <path class="a" fill="#0f0f0f" d="…" />

Step 2: Create an ICO file

Open your icon.svg file in a raster graphics editor. I like to recommend GIMP; it’s free and multi-platform.

Settle for rendering SVG to raster. Set width and peak to 32 pixels. Export file to favicon.ico utilizing 32 bpp, 8-bit alpha, no palette settings.

In the event you wouldn’t have GIMP you may set up Inkscape and ImageMagick and convert SVG to ico in terminal:

inkscape ./icon.svg --export-width=32 --export-filename="./tmp.png"
# In Home windows name `magick convert ./tmp.png ./favicon.ico`
convert ./tmp.png ./favicon.ico
rm ./tmp.png

Scale the picture right down to 16×16 and test icon visibility. If it grew to become too blurry, it might be higher to ask your designer for a customized tiny model of the brand.

To incorporate a separate 16×16 model of an icon:

  1. Open favicon.ico with 32×32 icon.
  2. Create a new layer with 16×16 measurement.
  3. Put a 16×16 model of an icon into this layer.
  4. Export the file. GIMP will save every format as a separate model of an icon.

Or you are able to do the similar in ImageMagick by:

convert ./icon32.png ./icon16.png ./favicon.ico

Step 3: Create PNG pictures

Open your supply SVG file in a raster graphics editor once more and create a 512×512 picture. Export it as icon-512.png.
Scale the picture to 192×192 and export it to icon-192.png. Now scale the picture itself to 140×140 and set the canvas to 180×180, and export as apple-touch-icon.png.

Or you are able to do the similar in Inkscape by:

inkscape ./icon.svg --export-width=512 --export-filename="./icon-512.png"
inkscape ./icon.svg --export-width=192 --export-filename="./icon-192.png"

Step 4: Optimize PNG and SVG information

One of the best instrument to optimize SVGs is SVGO. Run:

npx svgo --multipass icon.svg

Squoosh is a nice internet app to optimize raster pictures.

  1. Open your icon-512.png in Squoosh.
  2. Change Compress setting to OxiPNG.
  3. Allow “Cut back palette”.
  4. Set 64 colours.
  5. Evaluate earlier than/after by shifting a slider. If you see a distinction, enhance the variety of colours.
  6. Save the file.

Repeat these steps for icon-192.png and apple-touch-icon.png.

Step 5: Add icons to HTML

You want to add hyperlinks to favicon.ico and to apple-touch-icon.png into your HTML.

For static HTML:

  <title>My web site</title>
+ <hyperlink rel="icon" href="https://evilmartians.com/favicon.ico">
+ <hyperlink rel="icon" href="http://evilmartians.com/icon.svg" kind="picture/svg+xml">
+ <hyperlink rel="apple-touch-icon" href="http://evilmartians.com/apple-touch-icon.png">

Nonetheless, we suggest utilizing a bundler to generate cache busters (embrace file’s hash in a title as a fingerprint). If you’re utilizing Webpack with [html-webpack-plugin]:

  1. Create index.html template.

  2. Add template to plugin choices:

    new HtmlWebpackPlugin({ template: "./view/index.html" });
  3. Outline HTML template with hyperlinks (examples use ERB used to embrace information, however may be your templating language of alternative):

    <!DOCTYPE html>
    <html lang="en">
        <meta charset="utf-8">
        <title>My web site</title>
        <meta title="viewport" content material="width=device-width,initial-scale=1">
        <hyperlink rel="icon" href="https://evilmartians.com/favicon.ico">
        <hyperlink rel="icon" kind="picture/svg+xml" href="<%=
        <hyperlink rel="apple-touch-icon" href="<%=
  4. Use copy-webpack-plugin to copy favicon.ico with out including a hash to file title.

Free Tip: Separate icon for staging

Favicons are a good solution to distinguish your manufacturing setting from a staging one. I discover utilizing an different icon for staging tremendous efficient in avoiding costly confusions.

Create a favicon-dev.ico with the similar brand, however invert the colours (or do one thing else that is smart for you). Identical for SVG, create icon-dev.svg.

Now, change icons in your HTML template relying on course of.env.NODE_ENV === 'manufacturing' situation:

  <!doctype html>
  <html lang="en">
      <meta charset="utf-8">
      <title>My web site</title>
      <meta title="viewport" content material="width=device-width,initial-scale=1">
-     <hyperlink rel="icon" href="https://evilmartians.com/favicon.ico">
+     <hyperlink rel="icon" href="https://evilmartians.com/chronicles/<%=
+       course of.env.NODE_ENV ==="manufacturing'
+         ? "https://evilmartians.com/favicon.ico"
+         : require('./favicon-dev.ico').default
+     %>">
      <hyperlink rel="icon" kind="picture/svg+xml" href="https://evilmartians.com/chronicles/<%=
-       require('./icon.svg').default
+       course of.env.NODE_ENV === 'manufacturing'
+         ? require('./icon.svg').default
+         : require('./icon-dev.svg').default
      <hyperlink rel="apple-touch-icon" href="https://evilmartians.com/chronicles/<%=

Step 6: Create a internet app manifest

For static HTML, create a JSON file named manifest.webmanifest:

  "title": "My web site",
  "icons": [
    { "src": "/icon-192.png", "type": "image/png", "sizes": "192x192" },
    { "src": "/icon-512.png", "type": "image/png", "sizes": "512x512" }

Hyperlink it in your HTML:

  <title>My web site</title>
+ <hyperlink rel="manifest" href="https://evilmartians.com/manifest.webmanifest">
  <hyperlink rel="icon" href="https://evilmartians.com/favicon.ico">
  <hyperlink rel="icon" href="http://evilmartians.com/icon.svg" kind="picture/svg+xml">
  <hyperlink rel="apple-touch-icon" href="http://evilmartians.com/apple-touch-icon.png">

With Webpack, you need to use webpack-pwa-manifest plugin:

  plugins: [
    new WebpackPwaManifest({
      name: 'My website',
      icons: [
        { src: resolve('./icon-192.png'), sizes: '192x192' },
        { src: resolve('./icon512.png'), sizes: '512x512 }

Thanks for studying! As you may see, with fashionable internet requirements, the activity of creating an final favicon set turns into fairly simple. And despite the fact that following the steps manually shouldn’t take a lot of your time, having an automated instrument to do the similar can be much more superb! Be at liberty to ping me on Twitter if you’re prepared to construct one; I can be very happy to assist!

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