Nick Harris

The Making of an Icon (by a developer with Flying Meat’s Acorn)

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I spent a year working for the Ohio University College of Visual Communication. I still love that Ohio U gave me the opportunity to make some money while letting me audit classes outside of my Major (Computer Science) and Minor (English).

I learned a ton about Adobe Photoshop that year.


I‘ve been working on a side project called “Suntracker”. Its a simple app that tracks sunrise / sunset times and how much sunlight there is per day based on Core Location. 

Last weekend I download Flying Meats Acorn 5.3 to make an icon. I’ve been an Acorn user for years so I was pretty excited to see the new version.

My review: Fantastic.

Here’s the icon I created in an evening:

Icon 180

CbttyXQUUAA8MEb jpg large


I’m by no means a graphic designer, nor would I ever hire myself out as one… but all of the personal apps that I’ve published on the app store have icons I created. I’m familiar with the process and how many icon sizes you need to make.

This one is my favorite.

I like how it looks on my iPhone 4S, 5, 6, 6S Plus, iPad Pro and Watch.

Its actually a really simple image. A circle shape with a yellow > orange gradient on top of a light blue > midnight blue gradient background.

The genius of Acorn is how I can scale it any way to fulfill all the sizes needed in todays iOS development environment.

Acorn wasn’t always that way. This is the first icon I’ve ever created with it for iOS. In the past I’ve used vector based image editors – particularly Gimp which is powerful but not fun to use.


Now I’ll admit that Gus Mueller is a friend. A few years ago, as I was introducing him to new friends at WWDC, my friend Rebecca asked me if he was one of my heroes. I paused for a second then answered with an easy and simple “yep”.


Thanks Gus for Acorn! Keep up the amazing work!

Written by Nick Harris

February 26, 2016 at 7:35 am

Posted in Uncategorized

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