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Hand-Drawn Icons Give Your Computer Desktop A Crafty New Look

Illustrator Kyle Steed’s sketchy looking icons are the cure for anyone bored by chrome-drenched, perfectly polished user interfaces.

Hand-Drawn Icons Give Your Computer Desktop A Crafty New Look

Just look at your computer desktop or smartphone homescreen: app icons lined up like perfect little Chiclets, all sporting perfect vector curves, expertly chosen colors, and burnished fake-shiny 3-D effects. Sure, the affordances may be great — but doesn’t all that perfection get boring after a while? Then bask in the sketchtacular glow of Kyle Steed‘s new collection of hand-drawn icons (“When perfect pixels just won’t do”). With over 300 to choose from, it’s like Portlandia for your computer screen.

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Steed has created a cute little sketch-icon for almost everything you could possibly think of on your digital device. Here’s just a glimpse: You can see the full Adobe Creative Suite represented (natch), the usual social-media suspects, and the standard media functions like play, stop, pause, and the like. But peer closer and you’ll see lesser-known (but cult-favorite) apps represented: Dropbox, Basecamp, Things, even brand-new task manager Flow. And this is just a guess, but there even seem to be icons for nerds-only apps like Transmit and Mint in there. To call Steed’s work “icons” actually does them a disservice — these are more like geek merit badges.

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But that’s not to say you can’t find stuff in Steed’s set that’s just for fun, too. He’s thrown in random animals, fast foods, suitcases, clothes, avatars, folders, buttons, and arrows. If you’ve ever clicked on it, Steed has made a drawing of it for you. As well as thrown in skateboards, Buddy Holly glasses, and Star Wars characters.

You can download a much-smaller set of Steed’s hand drawn icons for free, or purchase all 300 for $29.

About the author

John Pavlus is a writer and filmmaker focusing on science, tech, and design topics. His writing has appeared in Wired, New York, Scientific American, Technology Review, BBC Future, and other outlets.

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