What Is a Favicon? [A Beginner-Friendly Guide]

Deyan Georgiev
Deyan Georgiev

Updated · Jul 19, 2022

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What is a favicon – now that’s a question most people don’t ask themselves very often, although you see hundreds of them each day. You have probably even memorized many of them without knowing it!

They’re a huge part of our internet experience, yet not many of us realize what they are or how important they are for websites.

What Is a Favicon?

The simple favicon definition is a 16x16 pixel icon that represents a page on the web browser. You see it most commonly on your web browser’s tabs.

Favicon web browser

The term favicon is short for “favorite icon,” and it’s different from the logo, though sometimes they might be identical. Here are some famous favicon examples you definitely know:

 Favicon Gmail Favicon InstagramFavicon Facebook

In most places on the web, you have very little space available for visual representation and you need to use a favicon. This results in a better visual experience for the web user and more straightforward navigation through multiple pages.

Some of the places you can find favicons are:

  • Tabs on your browser
  • Different toolbar apps such as bookmarks
  • Bookmarks menu
  • Browser history
  • Search bar

Are Favicons Important?

Although they’re small and aren’t required, it’s strongly advised you consider a site favicon. If you don’t use one, the browsers will display a generic, boring gray icon

Users flip through tons of visuals and pages every day. So, if you want to make a good impression and be remembered, use every opportunity you get. Favicons are a crucial element for that exact purpose.

Look professional

The lack of a website favicon doesn’t look serious, creating doubts in the user’s mind. They might think your website isn’t secured or, even, fake. Instead, you should present your business as trustworthy. Such an icon gives your page credibility, a distinct look, and it shows attention to detail.

Improve overall user experience

When users have multiple tabs opened in their browser, it can be hard to differentiate between websites. Favicons help them to navigate their tabs easily. Therefore, they can locate yours effortlessly and quickly return to your page.

Good favicon icons will prompt users to save your website in their bookmarks toolbar. This will save them time from searching through tabs and links. 

Increase brand visibility & create identity

Brands these days have a hard time grabbing the attention of users. There’s too much visual stimulus everywhere. The favicon image might be small, but it plays an imperative role in your brand identity. If you want your brand to appear cohesive, don’t overlook the details - small or big.

Much like your logo, favicons will stay in people’s minds. They’ll increasingly be able to identify your brand and business on the web. More importantly, they’ll find you easily on small screens such as smartphones - if your design is done well!

Improve SEO

Having a favicon on your website doesn’t impact your SEO directly. Its effect is in the overall improvement of the website’s visibility, recognition, and design.

If your website is user-friendly, people are more likely to return to it. They’ll be more motivated to put it in their bookmarks, which is a positive for Google’s search engine. These things might seem insignificant, but they all make a difference to the success of your SEO.

How to Create a Favicon? 

There are favicon generators out there, but you can also do it yourself. If you want to make the best favicon possible, just keep in mind these things:

  • Size: The most common size for a favicon is 16x16 pixels for web browsers. For taskbar shortcut icons, use 32x32 pixels and for desktop shortcuts - 96x96 pixels.
  • Space: 16x16 pixels is not much, so use it wisely. If you can’t squeeze your company logo into that square, innovate. Choose only an element from the logo and adapt it. Don’t forget to see how it looks upside down! It’ll be used in many different places, so better safe than sorry.
  • Brand: The favicon meaning is to be a part of your brand identity. It has to complement your logo and show the essence of your business. People have to associate it with your product.
  • Keep it clean with a simple favicon: Don’t use overly complicated concepts. People tend to scan over images, so they need to easily spot and distinguish your favicon logo from the rest.
  • Colors: Try to use your brand colors. Don’t forget that a favicon has to be effortlessly spotted and recognizable. Brighter colors catch the eye and contrast is also a good weapon. Don’t use shading or too many lines as it gets blurry at this size. Also, test your favicon sample against different backgrounds and see how it looks in black and white.
  • Letters and numbers: Having a lot of letters isn’t the best option. You might notice many favicons contain only the first letter of the brand. For some businesses, a color or a picture isn’t an option. In that case, use only capital letters and try to keep it to a maximum of three. Get creative and test different combinations until you find the best one.
  • Format: There are several formats that you can use to create a favicon design:
    • The most preferred one is ICO. Almost all operating systems and apps support it.
    • The next best PNG. It’s preferred by many because it’s easy to make and it has great resolution. The only downside of the PNG format is that Internet Explorer does not support it.
    • Other formats include JPEG, SVG, GIF, APNG. They aren’t the best options when it comes to favicon best practices. Plus, the animations aren’t always supported by browsers.

Whatever you choose, make sure it’s compatible with all the browsers and devices it’ll be used on.

Wrap Up

Favicons may be small, but they have a huge impact. They facilitate our web surfing and make it easier to find our favorite websites. Thanks to them, we spend less time searching our tabs for a particular page. They enhance our brand awareness and help us portray our business as professional and trustworthy. 

In conclusion, use a favicon! It’s a must for your website. With its many benefits, this tiny element can bring big change.

FAQ.


Does my site need a favicon?

Yes. Even though it’s not mandatory to have one - it’s highly recommended! It’ll boost your website’s SEO, improve your brand consistency, and give your website a professional look.

Can I use my logo as a favicon?

Yes. But you have to make sure your logo meets the criteria and looks good when small. It has to have a good design, be visible, simple, and handle resolution changes well.

How do I get a favicon?

You can make your own, hire a graphic designer, or use a generator. There are many generators online. Make sure to create it following simple favicon guidelines in different formats and sizes just in case.

How big should a favicon be?

The most common size is 16x16 pixels. Although, sometimes, you might need a larger, 32x32 pixels version. You could use other sizes as well for more specific displays.

What is a favicon used for?

It represents your website and brand on the web. It’s visible in the tab bar on top of browsers, your bookmarks, and your history. Favicons help users navigate quickly through multiple tabs and locate your website more smoothly.

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Deyan Georgiev

Deyan Georgiev

Deyan has been fascinated by technology his whole life. From the first Tetris game all the way to Falcon Heavy. Working for TechJury is like a dream come true, combining both his passions – writing and technology. In his free time (which is pretty scarce, thanks to his three kids), Deyan enjoys traveling and exploring new places. Always with a few chargers and a couple of gadgets in the backpack. He makes mean dizzying Island Paradise cocktails too.

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