Icon styles that include PNG format (32-bit)

Details: You may already be familiar with the many benefits and versatility of PNG icons; there is little doubt that PNG is quickly becoming the dominant force in the graphics extension wars. It continues to gain popularity with both web designers and software developers alike due to its use of alpha transparency and reasonable file sizes. Its high portability makes it a great choice for Windows, Web, and Macintosh users. For this and other reasons, nearly all of our icon packages include PNG icons along with other popular bitmapped formats. You'll find a list of compatible offerings listed below.

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Why was PNG invented?
PNG (pronounced "ping") is an acronym for Portable Network Graphics. It was originally developed for the internet as a replacement for GIF due to patent issues with GIFs creator, CompuServe. While this was the initial motivation for its development, PNG's superior color and transparency has helped it to become extremely popular for both software and web graphics. Even desktop development platforms such as Visual Studio are now starting to support it.

Finding a PNG icon set can often be difficult due to the overwhelming popularity of GIF and ICO. Realizing the power and potential of PNG, we have made it a staple of nearly all our stock icon products.

What's so great about it?
If it had to be summed up in one word, it would certainly be "portability," hence the 'P' in 'P N G.' It's flexible, compact, supports 24-bt color, and can blend effortlessly into any background, making it an excellent choice as an icon format. It also offers a lossless data compression, resulting in beautiful, crisp images. To fully appreciate this effect, considering taking a look at our Office Icons which include samples demonstrating PNG's authentic reproduction of our often highly guarded vector source files.

PNG vs. ICO (XP/Vista):
PNG and ICO icons share a lot of similarities, particularly in their strengths which lie in their high-color capacity and support for transparent layer merging, also known as Alpha Blending. ICO has the ability to embed multiple resolutions into a single file, unlike other formats, including PNG. This advantage comes at a price as file sizes also tend to be much larger.

The future of PNG on the Web:
Adoption on the web has been somewhat slow, probably due to Microsoft Internet Explorer (IE) not supporting it until recently (v7.0). With adoption rates for new browser versions taking up to five years, this will likely be an issue for quite some time. While this might sound surprising to those in the technology community, one has to remember the millions of non-power users whose priorities are not set on having the latest versions of the programs they use.

Several different incarnations:
PNGs come in several different encodings, although this FAQ focuses only on the 32-bit version that we use when creating PNG icons.

Still worried about compatibility?
Download sample PNGs from select icon packages.

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