30 May
   Filed Under: Goodies   

After months of searching for a video converting app that would let me choose audio and subtitle tracks contained in the ubiquitous MKV format (which is very common for anime) and re-export it to an iPhone or PS3-ready video with or without burned in subtitles, I gave up. There simply wasn’t an app that would let me do it without undertaking at least 10 manual steps with dubious command-line software and a lot of script rummaging.

Then I found MKVTools. It’s not just super-fast (my previous alternative was Perian+Quicktime, which made gorgeous subtitles, but exporting literally took hours), but it also lets me pick audio/video/subtitle tracks, and 1-click convert it to something my iPhone can play. It’s free, to boot (a few advanced features like queuing are unlocked for a tiny 5 dollars).


The UI and the icon of the app are not that great, unfortunately. I can’t do much about the UI, but here are two nice icons so you can keep it in your dock without flinching. As a bonus, there is an alternative to the modern aluminium replacement icon in ‘toolbox red metallic’ included.

MKVTools can be downloaded here. Icons are for personal usage only.

27 May
   Filed Under: News, Personal, Personal Work   

It’s often said that there is great value in having a distinct shirt at WWDC, and while I’m not very preoccupied with that notion myself, I do have great fun in designing shirts. I first wanted to print a larger version of my twitter user picture, but I was curious if I could design something that was a bit more relevant to my work.


And I settled on this design. Hey, doesn’t everyone love exploded items on shirts these days? A nice large version of the shirt design is up on my flickr.

I’m printing 6 of these shirts today, and one of them will be sent off to a happy owner in a new giveaway post that’s coming up soon. Let me know if you’d like one of these shirts; with enough demand, I might print a few more.

24 May
   Filed Under: Announcement, Icon Design, iPhone   

As I alluded to earlier today, Sean Patrick O‘Brien and I are working on the very first Mac application that will be released under the Cocoia ‘brand’: Composition. Composition allows you to take any image and get a pixel-perfect preview of iPhone’s default effects at regular home screen size and Settings/Spotlight small icon size. It also lets you look at your icon in a virtual home screen to achieve a native look (and yes, both iPhone and iPod touch home screens will be represented), and export it for further usage on websites and other materials.


Composition is not an icon generator or designer in any way; it is made for people who care about the way their icons look, and want to get a break from the horrible workflow of mashing previews of icons together in Photoshop. There will be several easy-to-access Photoshop templates accessible from the app, but the actual design work is left to applications that are excellent at that kind of work. It will also be completely free!

I will announce more news about it as the application nears the beta milestone; in the mean time, drop an email to this address to get a spot on the list.

24 May
   Filed Under: Apple, Icon Design, iPhone   

iPhone icons are gorgeous. The home screen is a beautiful display of icons that have been extremely carefully designed to achieve a stylistic balance. On the desktop, the same applies, but icons have far less ‘rules’ imposed on them, and are generally very diverse in their appearance. One could conclude that there is less consistency in the design of desktop icons than there is in iPhone application icons.


As a result, icons in the Mac OS X dock also generally have less trouble looking good and blending in with the system icons. There’s simply more room for creative freedom and slight stylistic differences. The iPhone is a different story. I keep all third-party application icons (apart from a few notable exceptions) off my home screen, because they stick out like a sore thumb. Why is this, when it is so seemingly simple to fit into the consistent design standard, and what can Apple do about it?
Continue reading…

18 May
   Filed Under: Personal   

I really resisted the idea of writing a bit about myself, initially, but this year I was interviewed by newspapers and on radio shows and it seemed weird to not have something up on the place where I ‘live’ my professional life: on the internet. I think it’s also good to have something to link to for the ‘About me’ button.


Who are you?

I am Sebastiaan de With, a 2122 year old freelance designer and one-man company. I specialize in icon and visual interface design and consultancy, but I also design logotypes, and maintain a blog and a website service that teaches you how to design icons. I occasionally do presentations for teams and companies, too, on making apps that are beautiful and fun to use.

I live and work in my own studio in the northern region of the Netherlands, a tiny country in the west of Europe. I love Macs, technology, gaming, reading well-written stuff, mecha, and kittens – but that should be obvious. Everybody loves kittens.

Continue reading…

16 May
   Filed Under: Goodies, Icon Design, Personal Work   

Sometimes, I like to do a little bit of icon speed drawing. Like with my iWork.com icon goodie, I completed these icons in a short time of about 2 hours total. I really like the Palm Pre‘s web browser icon, so I speed-designed 3 of the nice-looking icons on the Pre’s launcher screen for usage on your Mac or PC.


They’re not amazingly detailed or even polished at their maximum size of 512 pixels, but that wasn’t my intention, either. Consider that a disclaimer before you start commenting that they don’t look nice enough to you at that size ;).

These icons are intended for personal usage and desktop customization only. Palm Pre, the Palm branding and its icons are © 2008-2009, Palm.