Key Elements for Creating a Great Favicon

Expert Tips and Guidelines

By Steve
October 29, 2023
Key Elements for Creating a Great Favicon

Basics of a Favicon

When you're designing a website, one small but essential feature you should include is a favicon. This little icon appears next to your website's title in the browser tab, and helps users easily recognize your site. Favicons are often stored as a file called "favicon.ico" in the root directory of your website.

To create a great favicon, you should consider the simplicity and clarity of the design. Since the icon is small, usually 16x16 pixels, the design should be clear and recognizable even at a reduced size. Stick to basic elements and avoid intricate details that may be hard to decipher on a small scale.

Remember that the favicon represents your website, so make sure it aligns with your overall branding. Use colors, shapes, and elements consistent with your site's design. Keep in mind that the favicon needs to stand out against various browser tab backgrounds, so choose colors with good contrast.

File format plays a crucial role in creating a favicon. While most browsers support the traditional .ico format, it's a good practice to also provide favicon images in .png, .gif, and .svg formats to ensure compatibility with all browsers. Providing multiple icons for different resolutions can help maintain the icon's sharpness across a variety of devices.

Lastly, don't forget to test your favicon across various devices and browsers to ensure it displays properly. By following these guidelines and focusing on the details, you'll create a favicon that effectively represents your website and enhances your users' browsing experience.

Different Favicon Formats

Understanding ICO Format

The ICO format is the traditional favicon image file used in browser tabs. It is compatible with most browsers and allows you to create a single favicon.ico file containing multiple sizes. To use this format, simply save your favicon image as a .ico file and place it in your website's root directory. You can also use online tools to convert your existing PNG or SVG images to ICO if needed.

Using PNG for Favicons

PNG is a popular and widely supported image format for favicons. It offers advantages such as transparency and lossless compression. To use a PNG as your favicon, you'll need to update your site's HTML with a <link> tag referring to the PNG file. Place this tag in the <head> section, and make sure your browser cache is cleared to see the updated favicon.

SVG as a Favicon Format

SVG (Scalable Vector Graphics) is a modern format that allows you to create resolution-independent favicons. This means your favicon will look crisp and sharp regardless of the device or screen size. To use an SVG favicon, add a <link> element in your HTML's <head> section with an href attribute pointing to your SVG file. Keep in mind that not all browsers fully support SVG favicons yet, so for better compatibility, you might want to provide a fallback ICO or PNG favicon.

GIF and other Favicon Formats

While GIFs and other image formats can technically be used as favicons, they're not recommended. Browsers have varying support for such formats, and they usually lack features like transparency or lossless compression. For best results, stick to the ICO, PNG, and SVG formats outlined here, ensuring your favicon looks great across a wide range of browsers and devices.

Tools for Favicon Creation

Favicon Generators

Favicon generators are an excellent resource for creating a favicon for your website. These online tools provide a simple interface where you just need to upload your logo or image, and the generator will create a favicon.ico file for you to download. Some popular favicon generators include, RealFaviconGenerator, and X-Icon Editor. They offer various customization options like size, format, and background color, allowing you to create a favicon that matches your website's branding. Additionally, most of these tools can also generate favicons in different formats, such as PNG or SVG, making it easier to support modern web browsers.

Photoshop and Favicon Creation

If you are proficient in graphic design software, you may prefer creating your favicon using a professional tool like Adobe Photoshop. This gives you more control over the design and quality of the favicon. Start by creating a new square image file in Photoshop with a dimension of 16x16 pixels or larger (for bigger devices like tablets and PCs). Then, design your favicon in this workspace, making sure it's clear, visually appealing, and a recognizable representation of your website's main elements. Once you are satisfied with the design, save it as a .ico or .png file, depending on your preferred format. You can then integrate the new favicon into your website's HTML code and enjoy the results.

By utilizing these tools, creating a custom favicon for your website becomes a straightforward and efficient process. Whether you choose to use a favicon generator or Photoshop, ensure that your final favicon is a visually appealing representation of your website's identity, improving the user experience and increasing brand recognition.

Elements of Favicon Design

Favicon Colors

When designing a favicon, it's crucial to consider the colors you use. Choose colors that represent your brand and work well together. Keep in mind that favicons are small, so using a limited color palette is advised. You may want to experiment with contrasting colors, such as complementary or analogous color schemes, to make your favicon stand out.

Typography and Favicons

Incorporating typography in your favicon design can be challenging due to its small size. It's essential to select a typeface that is legible and portrays your brand effectively. If your logo includes text, you may consider simplifying it or even using the first letter of your brand name as a favicon. Always test the legibility of your favicon on various devices and display sizes.

Using Shapes in Favicon Design

Using shapes effectively can make your favicon easily recognizable and memorable. Consider the overall style and theme of your brand when incorporating shapes into your favicon. Geometric shapes, for example, can convey a sense of order and structure, while organic shapes might be more appropriate for a playful or warm brand image. The key is to experiment with different shapes until you find the perfect representation of your brand in a favicon form.

Remember that favicons should be clear, distinctive, and versatile. As you design your favicon, think about how it will appear on different platforms and devices, and consider making adjustments to ensure it maintains its intended appearance and impact. By focusing on colors, typography, and shapes, you'll create a compelling, functional, and attractive favicon tailored to your brand.

Branding Through Favicons

When it comes to enhancing your brand identity, favicons play a crucial role. A well-designed favicon.ico can boost your branding and make it easier for your audience to remember your business.

Connecting Brand Identity through Favicons

Creating a favicon that reflects your brand identity requires careful thought and design. Consider using the main elements from your logo or other key visuals that represent your brand. Your favicon will appear in various places, such as bookmarks, browser tabs, and even search results—so it should be instantly recognizable and unique.

Consistency is key when it comes to brand identity. Make sure your favicon aligns with your overall branding in terms of color schemes and style. For instance, you might use bold colors that match your logo or incorporate a distinctive shape or symbol that represents your business.

Apart from being visually appealing, a great favicon should be functional. Make sure to design it in the appropriate size and format, typically a 16x16 or 32x32 pixel square. The favicon.ico file should also be easily accessible, making sure to place it in the root directory of your website.

In conclusion, incorporating a well-designed favicon into your branding strategy can create a cohesive experience for your audience and strengthen your brand identity. Paying attention to the design elements, relevancy to your brand, and functionality will help you create a favicon that effectively represents your business.


Creating a great favicon requires attention to key elements. You need to focus on simplicity in design, readability, and optimal sizing. Make sure your favicon looks good on different devices and browsers to ensure a consistent user experience.

It's essential to keep your design simple yet recognizable. A favicon should be a visual representation of your brand that users can quickly identify. To achieve this, consider using your brand's logo or a simplified version of it when designing your favicon.

Readability is another critical factor in creating a great favicon. Since a favicon's size will be quite small, ensure that any text or details in the design are legible. Superdense, the popular compact bookmark manager, can help you keep your favicons neatly organized and easily accessible.

Lastly, sizing matters. A well-optimized favicon should look good on different devices, from desktop computers to mobile phones. Make use of various favicon sizes to ensure they display correctly across multiple platforms and browsers.

By focusing on these key elements and incorporating the provided tips, you're well on your way to creating an impressive, effective favicon that adds value to your online presence.