This page marks a milestone in the life of our hobby turned business. We've been pushing pixels professionally for twenty years!
To celebrate, we've pulled together new products, special offers, and unearthed a slew of historical artifacts. We hope you have fun exploring our last twenty years as we look forward to what's next!
How did we get here? Join us on a trip from our humble beginnings in June 1996.
Iconfactory Logo Evolution
Founders Corey, Ged, and Talos decide to combine their individual hobby web pages on AOL into a single place where users can download freeware icons. In July, the Iconfactory is mentioned in Guy Kawasaki's Evangelist. And so it begins.
Programmer Craig Hockenberry joins the factory after developing a Mac app that lets you organize your freeware icon collections called IconDropper. WIRED Magazine writes about us, Iconfactory.com is registered and the very first Pixelpalooza contest is held.
Artist Dave Brasgalla wins 1st place in Pixelpalooza and later we ask him to come on board as the fifth founding member. Iconfactory's first appearance in MacAddict Magazine. Meanwhile the search engine Google is founded, Titanic reigns at the box office, and Apple unveils the iMac.
We launch the "DeskBase", a reference guide to excellent Mac icon and desktop resources on the web. In October, IconBuilder 1.0, a Photoshop filter to construct icons is released and eventually becomes one of our most successful products to date. Star Wars Ep 1: The Phantom Menace hits theaters.
The Iconfactory officially incorporates in Greensboro, NC as the gang starts doing icon work full time. Mindy Weaver (production designer) and Kate England (icon artist) come on board. The Y2K bug is a dud, AOL and Time Warner merge and NASA launches Mars Odyssey.
Apple introduces Mac OS X - Icons jump from 32x32 pixels to 128x128 with the release of "Cheetah". Iconfactory.com expands to over 100 pages, we start our annual Halloween "Spooky Makeover" and add Microsoft's Windows XP icon suite to our portfolio. MacAddict ends publication. :-(
We team up with our good friends at Panic and release Candybar, an app for customizing system level icons and folders in Mac OS X. Our project manager, Travis Zuker, joins the factory. Craig releases iPulse 1.0 late in the year and Apple launches the eMac and Xserve.
Artist Anthony Piraino joins the Iconfactory, Stockicons.com is launched in June as a one-stop shop for royalty free icons on the web. Panic and Iconfactory release Pixadex for organizing Mac OS X icons and xScope 1.0 is launched with ARTIS Software.
Artist David Lanham comes on board as an icon designer at the factory. Anthony Piraino whips up an incredible set of official icons for Paramount's Raiders of the Lost Ark. xScope wins the MacUser UK Reader Award for Best Graphics Utility and we release our 200th set of freeware icons!
We team up with Paramount and Dreamworks to release the official icon set for Steven Spielberg's remake of War of the Worlds. IconBuilder and Pixadex both get major updates. We all buy new iPod Shuffles and promptly lose them in the wash. Pixelpalooza goes on hiatus after 8 successful years.
Iconfactory celebrates its 10th anniversary and unveils the new 6.0 website design. Nintendo launches the Wii in North America. Shortly thereafter we spawn a fun meme in the form of Wii Safety Tips. The one billionth song is purchased from iTunes.
Twitterrific 1.0 for the Mac is released with Ollie the blue bird mascot designed by David Lanham. ARTIS and the Iconfactory launch our first game - Frenzic. Our friends at Panic celebrate their 10th anniversary with the release of Coda (we designed the icon for them). Apple introduces the iPhone. Everything changes.
What a year! Macworld gives xScope 4.5 mice. Twitterrific 1.0 for iOS hatches and wins an Apple Design Award at WWDC. Apple launches the App store and Twitterrific is there from the beginning. The factory is featured on a local FOX affiliate for its "Made in NC" series. Frenzic 1.0 for iPhone launches, artist Louie Mantia comes on board.
@Iconfactory is on Twitter! We are thrilled to team up with Paramount Pictures once again to create the official icon set for J.J. Abrams' Star Trek feature film. We partner with DS Media Labs to release Ramp Champ for iPhone. Engineer Sean Heber joins the factory. Pickin' Time 1.0 for iPhone!
Ollie takes the form of adorable vinyl collectibles and a cute iconic Gowalla-based promotion. Twitterrific for iPad hits the App Store, Louie gets beamed up by the Apple Mother ship and project manager Cheryl Cicha comes on board. Take Five and Astronut, both for iOS launch.
ARTIS and Iconfactory release Flare for Mac. An experiment to help iOS apps come to the Mac is launched - The Chameleon Project. Summer intern Tyler Anderson joins us full time as a Junior Developer. Twitter introduces OAuth and after a long battle with cancer, Steve Jobs passes away on October 5th.
Dine-O-Matic makes the leap from Mac Widget to iOS app, DS Media Labs takes ownership of Ramp Champ, and Candybar's development officially ends. Twitter's stance towards 3rd party apps "evolves" just as Twitterrific 5 launches for iOS. Marvel's 'The Avengers' hits theaters.
xScope gets an iOS companion to help with mobile development. We partner with the fine folks at IdeaSwarm to launch AppViz 3 to track AppStore sales and data. Twitter goes public at an initial offering of $26 and Edward Snowden leaks info about the NSA's data collection program.
The team of brothers Dustin and Dylan Bruzenak and Troy Gaul of IdeaSwarm come on board to help us bring client iOS and Android apps to life. We work with Twitter to design and launch their new emoji, called Twemoji to the interwebs.
We say farewell to David Lanham and Tyler Anderson as they move on to other endeavors. The Iconfactory's blog gets a much-needed overhaul. Programmer Andy Rahn and designer Ryan Pedersen join the company and bolster our development team. Tim Cook and team launch Apple Watch!
We consider changing our name to Emojifactory as Facebook Messenger's new emoji launches. We celebrate 20 Years of pushing pixels (how time flies!), launch BitCam and Exify and extend to all of our loyal fans and clients a huge THANK YOU for helping us get to where we are today. Here's to the next 20 years!
By the numbers
We took a look back at all of the freeware collections, client projects, and special events to try and discover just how many pixels we've pushed in the past 20 years. After much research, intense number crunching, and best-guessing we arrived at a number:
13 billion pixels
Or to put it another way…
That's 40 pixels per person in the USA
1,294 pixels per person in North Carolina
1.82 pixels per person on the planet
There is one pixel for 12% of the people who have lived throughout history
Only about 4% of the stars in our galaxy would get a pixel
If the pixels each cost a nickel, it’d total $650,000,000
Assuming a 4 byte pixel…
52 GB of raw storage would be required. That's about 80 CD-ROMs or 520 ZIP disks (but given their failure rate, make sure to have at least 1,000.) If you're using 3.5” floppies, you'd only need 36,110.
Using mid-1990’s technology, it would take 12 hours to transfer the pixels over 10BASE-T Ethernet or SCSI-2, or just 13 weeks to download on a 56k modem. Today, all this data would fit on a single dual-layer Blu-ray disc, but just barely.
Using pixels from a 1996 Apple Macintosh 5400, a straight line of 13 billion pixels would be 3847.1 miles (6191.2 km)…
That's 97% of the Earth's radius at the equator
It would take light 21 milliseconds to travel this distance in outer space
It's also 97% of the length of the Amazon river
But only 1.6% of a trip to the moon
You could draw a 4px wide line between Dubuque, IA and Greensboro, NC. A 1px line would reach from Greensboro to London. Sadly, it doesn’t quite make it to Sweden :)
You're gonna need a bigger display…
Displaying all 13 billion pixels at once would require a 52 square meter Retina display. You'd only need 6,270 iPhone 6s Pluses to accomplish that.
A room with 74,242 Macs from 1984 could display all the pixels at once
Printing these pixels on a dot matrix printer would need about 100,309 pages (over 200 reams of paper)
You saw 13 billion pixels during the first six minutes of the original Toy Story (rendered in 1995 with 1536×922 at 24fps). Yeah, we're slackers.
How did we track down all those pixels? Check out our methodology.
From 1997 to 2004, we ran an icon design contest called Pixelpalooza. Hundreds of people from around the world contributed their tiny creations for all to see. The winners are shown below — as you scroll from left to right, you'll see how much icon design changed during this seminal period of user interface development.
Mounted Icons by Jason Chong
Lemur Icons by Wendy Lee
Native American by Sonny Del Castillo
MacTown by Matthew Kelleigh
ik's donut shop by Brian Brasher
Polaroid Icons by Andrew Payne
WannaBePixelled 98 by Albie Wong
Lovely System by Eleonora Galli
Cool Blue by Trevor Davison
Solar Patrol by Dave Brasgalla
MOZCO by Igarashi Susumu
Robots by Todd Kennedy
Hide's Kitchen by Hide Itoh
Rolling Icons by Arnaud Boutle
Citrus by Kate England
Mad Scientist by Michael Bentley
Pixie 99 by Albie Wong
Eitri's Icons by Jim & Julie LeDuc
eyeCONS by Brian Brasher
Mesoamerican Icons by Lee Kauffman
Gort's Icons Vol. 4 by Forrest Walter
Treasures by Tomoyuki Miyano
Sketching Copland by Paul Howells
iCopland One by Romain Gauvin
Macintosh Garden by Josh Williams
Classic X by Andy Runton
Sprightly by David Catmull
First Snow by John Marstall
Galactic Island by Casey Gorsuch
Industrial/Office by Ron Watson
Laserfight! by Michael C. Murphy
Hypochondria by David Croy
Boxed In by Mike Apolisn
Dress Code by Lutz Winter
@reGIS Millennium by Pierre Cavanna
X-Folder Icons by Atsushi Doi
Gort's Icons: Vol. 5 by Forrest Walter
More Birds by Yoshihiro Kondo
White Stuff by Silvio Almeida Jr.
Life is Good by Charles Chene
LustRazor Killer Icons by Tom Riedel
Squiver by David Catmull
Wood Craft Icons by Toshiyuki Iwasaki
Of My Copland Dreams by Eric Demay
Ladybug Icons by Shinobu Fukutake
Far-Fetched by Mathew Halpern
Sunny Aussies by Vanda Hudson
Fish 'n' CHyPs by John Marstall
Winter Games by Josh Williams
Cloths World by D. Picciau, E. Scichilone & M. Gandini
Pixel Feng Shui by Gary Gehiere
Invading Your Space by David Lanham
B'alam-a-rama by Jamie McCanless
Penguin Icons by Everaldo Coelho
Think Natural by Christophe Bouchard
Piou by Anne-Sophie Charpié
Comic Icons by Dirceu Veiga
My Neighbor Baby by Michelle Chan
Chinese New Year Icon Set by SeeWe
Smiling Glasses by Ramon G. Teja
Moccu Icons by Yenz
Arthropoda by Max Fiedler
Coffee Break Icons by Dirceu Veiga
Underwater by Yegor Gilyov
Spring Jam Vol. 1 by Josh Williams
Kids Icon Set by Everaldo Coelho & George Brayner
Impy by Denise Wilton
micropocketpixels by etherbrian
Cheese Folders by Saho
The fourth version of our website had a fun little animation in the upper-left corner. Below are all 72 GIF files that ran from October 1999 to September 2001.
Click on any animation to highlight and play it from the beginning.
Web Standards Redesign
Over the course of six days in 2006, we announced a site redesign which embraced web standards. Select the days below to watch the “videos” of that historic and humorous moment!
More Fun Stuff
The links below are other interesting things from our history. Enjoy!
For the past 20 years we've been crafting award-winning apps, stunning icons, and beautiful user experiences for users and clients around the globe. Discover how Iconfactory can make your app great.
Get in touch
General contact: firstname.lastname@example.org
Phone: (336) 299-5251
7204 West Friendly Ave.
Building Two, Unit F
Greensboro, NC 27410
Orvar Odds Vag 10
Stockholm 112 54