Captivate: Minimalist icons for Mac OSX.         —          Visual Communication Design          —          Spring 2018          —          Individual Project



A cohesive, minimalist iconset designed for Mac OSX.

The Challenge

To create 15+ .icns files to replace common application icons in Mac OSX. Icons must have a cohesive design language and complement each other as a complete set as well as work together with the graphic components of the operating system harmoniously.


My Approach

Concept Development

I found the default Mac OSX Icons to lack some unity and continuity of design language. Many of the icons were too skeuomorphic and complex in nature for my taste. I wanted to create a solution that removed graphic elements that were unnecessary and create continuity throughout the icons.


In order to create a set of graphics that had continuity, I knew I had to keep lighting, shadows, and reflections consistent. Since I decided to design flat, minimalist icons, lighting, shadows, and reflections were not as applicable. As another means to inspire unity within my design, I decided to have all my icons use the same gray background while keeping a consistent stroke width.


Color plays an important role in how the icons are recognized by the user. In order to breed familiarity for the user, I derived the color schemes of each icon directly from the default icons.

Icon Mockup White-32.png



I would design in Adobe Illustrator the 1024 x 1024 base image, and then export 10 .png files of different sizes for each icon (180 files total). I technically would only need to create 5 .png files per icon, but by creating 10 files with larger sizes, the icons would be optimized for retina display devices. By using these additional @2x.png files, I would ensure that the icons would display clearly across all types of devices. Each set of 10 .png files I sorted in a .iconset folder. By using Terminal's "iconsutil -c icns" command, I converted each .iconset folder into functional .icns files.

Final Design

Iconset Mockup1.1.png
Iconset Full.png
Captivate Moodboard-03.png
Iconset Full Isometric.png
Screen Shot 2018-08-30 at 4.53.26 PM.png

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