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Icon FAQ

Answers to some of the more frequently-asked questions about Chalkwork icons.

Are these icons really free?

Yes, for personal use they are completely free. See the license terms for full details.

For commercial use, each set is available for a nominal charge and made available under the commercial license. See each respective set for pricing and payment options.

Who uses these icons?

People from all around the world in many different roles, though primarily web designers and developers. People building custom software or working with content management systems, and those working on both public-facing web sites and software as well as secure private administrative systems. Individual people working on their own personal web sites, all the way up to large multi-national companies, and many different types of organizations in between.

How do I buy these icons?

Start by finding the set you'd like to purchase (say, Chalkwork Information Management for example), hit the buy button, and then fill out the form on the left half of the screen on the resulting page.

PayPal is my payment processing service, but please note that you do not need a PayPal account in order to buy. By using the form on the left-hand side of the checkout page, you are checking out with a credit card the same as you would from any online store; PayPal would like you to have an account, so of course there's text asking you to log in, but there's absolutely no need to do so. (Would you be more inclined to buy these icons if I were using Google Checkout or another similar service? Please let me know, I’m genuinely curious about whether PayPal is a purchasing barrier or not.)

Once you have completed your order, you will be sent to a confirmation page where you can immediately download the icon set you have just bought. You will also receive a confirmation email with the download link, just in case something goes wrong.

Also please note that various text during checkout will say that you are buying from Bright Creative, which is simply my registered Canadian business and the name of the PayPal account holder.

Can I save money by buying all sets at once?

Yes, that's what the Chalkwork Collection is for. However, please note that at this time it doesn't contain vector icons.

How may I use these icons once I’ve bought/downloaded them?

See the standard Chalkwork License for usage terms.

Suggestions for actual usage: web sites, software applications, mobile device user interfaces, animation and video (vector recommended), printed material (vector strongly recommended), and more.

The Chalkwork Family has been designed specifically for use in software and on web sites and applications. If you are a designer or developer who has identified a need for pictorial elements within your user interfaces, stock icons may be just what you're looking for. I sort of think of them as graphical cousins of typefaces; for the same reason that not everyone in the world uses Arial in their documents, different icon sets exist to add different personalities to an interface.

While a software or web user interface is the most obvious target, there’s nothing stopping usage in other settings or media. If you have applied Chalkwork icons to situations that you think might be unique, I’d certainly be interested in hearing about them.

After I’ve bought/downloaded them may I edit these icons for my own use?

Provided you stick to the respective Chalkwork License terms and share under the same license (personal use) or don’t redistribute your edits (commercial use), I’m of the opinion that once you’ve paid for the icons they’re yours for the editing. For example, you may wish to change certain colours to work better with your site’s palette, which is allowable.

I would caution against re-sizing the bitmap versions in particular however, as the existing icons have been meticulously designed to fit within the pixel grid at the sizes they come in. Any scaling up or down will lead to less overall clarity. (If you need different sizes than what is available, please get in touch.)

Vector icons are much more suitable for editing of course, so if you intend to heavily edit them, you should consider buying the vector versions.

What is the difference between the various file formats?

Bitmap Formats

Four of the formats provided are saved as lossless files, so quality is guaranteed. Two (BMP and GIF) do not support the colour depth and/or transparency needed to properly render Chalkwork icons, and may be dropped entirely in future releases..

  • PNG – Portable Network Graphics is considered the preferred bitmap format for Chalkwork customers to work with. As an open format that uses lossless compression and an alpha transparency channel, the PNG versions are high-quality icons that are readable by almost any graphical editor or web browser. PNG on Wikipedia
  • TIF – Tagged Image File Format is another high-quality bitmap format that uses lossless compression and an alpha transparency channel. TIF is a more mature format, and perfect for legacy applications. TIF on Wikipedia
  • ICO – Windows icon file format is the native file format created for Microsoft Windows, and mainly used by Windows applications and the operating system itself. ICO on Wikipedia
  • ICNS – Mac OS icon file format is the native file format used for Apple's Mac OS, and mainly used by OS X applications and the operating system itself. Does not support the 24x24 bitmap size. ICNS on Wikipedia
  • BMP – Bitmap format is a legacy format used by older applications and operating systems. Lack of compression makes for large file sizes, but it supports up to 32 bit colour depth so no colour information is lost when saving. However, the 1 bit alpha channel doesn't allow for smooth anti-aliased edges, so the icon files still tend to be of lower quality than the previous four formats. BMP on Wikipedia
  • GIF – Graphics Interchange Format is a common format used by web browsers and most graphical software. 8 bit colour depth means colour information is lost when saving, and the 1 bit alpha channel doesn't allow for smooth anti-aliased edges which makes for lower quality icons. Provided for your use in quick mockups, but not really intended for final use due to image degradation during the saving process. GIF on Wikipedia

Vector Formats

Some of these formats are delivered to you as single files with each icon on its own layer, while others contain one icon per file across multiple files.

  • AI – Adobe Illustrator (single layered file) – The native file format of Adobe Illustrator, readable by a handful of other vector drawing applications. Saved down the original to Illustrator CS format for maximum compatibility (older versions don't support transparency). AI on Wikipedia
  • EPS – Encapsulated Postscript (single layered file) – A design industry standard format readable by most software. Saved down to Illustrator CS EPS format for maximum compatibility (older versions don't support transparency). EPS on Wikipedia
  • SVG – Scalable Vector Graphics (one file per icon) – An open standard developed by the W3C, readable by open source and commercial applications alike, as well as many web browsers. Saved to an SVG 1.0 profile for maximum compatibility. SVG on Wikipedia
  • XAML – Extensible Application Markup Language (one file per icon) – A Microsoft-developed format mainly used by Microsoft applications and platforms. Saved to XAML WPF Canvas profile. XAML on Wikipedia
I notice you update the existing sets periodically; am I entitled to a free update when this happens?

Since the initial launch of the very first Chalkwork set in early 2007, I’ve continued making changes as I’ve added new icons. Basic has seen 2 major revisions and a few minor updates, for example, while Flags remains untouched from its initial launch profile. The earlier sets saw the most transition as I was working out my longer term strategy for new ones, but now that I’m 7 sets in I think it’s safe to say things are mostly worked out. I don’t see anymore updates to the existing sets, instead I expect completely new sets to be released.

If I do release revisions despite all that, then history says I’ll probably continue making them available to existing customers at no extra cost. The exception is the addition of new sets to the Chalkwork Collection, those will be made available at a discounted rate.

Will you create custom Chalkwork icons for me?

Probably not. I’d rather focus my energy on adding to the publicly available sets. I’m not opposed to the idea of being commissioned to produce new icons that I’d then resell as part of the larger Chalkwork family, but the reality is that out of the many inquiries I’ve received asking if I can do just that, none have actually happened. Write me if you’re still interested, but just keep in mind that it's probably more expensive than you think it would be. I’ll explain why after you get in touch.

Will you create non-Chalkwork icons for me?

Now that’s something I’m generally a lot more receptive to. Hop on over to my business site and write me from there. Just keep in mind that, again, it ain’t cheap.

How many times have they been downloaded?

A little nosy are we? Well okay, since you asked, Chalkwork HTML has been downloaded 62,095 times and the iPhone mini-set has been downloaded 162904 times since November 1st, 2008. Chalkwork Payments has been downloaded 62,910 times since May 17th, 2009.

The rest of the set was released under a freely downloadable Creative Commons license on February 22, 2011. Since that time, here are the numbers. Basic: 8,350 times. Commerce: 8,493 times. Editing Controls: 6,824 times. Flags: 5,360 times. Information Management: 7,834 times. Payments: 25,006 times. And the whole Collection: 29,326 times.