This article contains resources and information to get you started with creating icons with the right dimensions and artboard fit.
When creating vector art in Adobe Illustrator or another vector program, the artboard should be sized to fit the icon artwork in order to properly render the previews seen on Iconfinder. If your icon is very small on a large artboard, then the icon preview will be small relative to the image background size. You can leave a few pixels of white space around your icon bounds, but only a few pixels are necessary.
It is also important that the icon artwork is fully contained within the bounds of the artboard. If any part of the icon is outside of the artboard edges, it will be cropped in the icon preview.
Align artboard to pixel grid
For best preview and raster image rendering, it is a best practice to always align the artboards to the pixel grid as seen below.
To help you out designing for specific devices, we have compiled a set of templates for Adobe illustrator, which are found at the end of the article.
Samsung, HTC, LG, Sony, Others
All of these uses 24/48 pixel icons
Websites, Web applications
Uses 8, 16, 24, 48, 64, 128, 256, 512px icons
Uses 62/62 pixel icons
How to setup Adobe Illustrator for better icon designing with templates
The process/guides explained below is a work-in-progress. We're constantly refining the process and learning new tricks and experimenting with different approaches, combinations, and tweaking the grid.
You can use a 32 x 32 pixel grid but you don't have adhere exactly to the grid. if you feel like adhering to the grid to rigidly can hurt the aesthetic of the icon. So you can follow the grid more as a guide than a set rule. Going forward, you could be using two grids: 24 x 24 for Android, and 30 x 30 for iOS.
There are some odd ball icons that don't adhere to the grid at all. In some cases, you can abandon the grid if it doesn't work with a specific design. In other cases, the icons can be slightly larger than the grid for aesthetic reasons.
You can use three palettes for almost every icon: Pathfinder, Stroke, and Transform. Pathfinder is the most heavily used for joining and knocking out shapes. Use stroke in conjunction with the menu Object > Path > Outline Path. This allows you to quickly outline a shape, apply a stroke, outline the stroke in cases where you need to convert an outline to a vector area rather than a stroke. Transform contains the "Align to Pixel Grid" feature. This is especially useful for making icons pixel perfect, along with the View > Snap To Grid option. But, be careful with this one. Using "Align to Pixel Grid" on a curved vector can give you funky results.
Snap to Point - Snap to Grid - Smart Guides you should keep Snap to Point enabled at all times. You can alternate between Smart Guides and Snap to Grid. The latter two can confuse one another because illustrator can't figure out which one you want to apply when a point is close to an object with a similarly aligned point and close to a grid intersection or line.
You should try, as much as possible, to work with line weights that are multiples of two because the lines seem to scale better, both larger and smaller (it's easy math). But visually, you should use a combination of 2 pixel lines and 3 pixel lines. At 100% scale, 3 pixel lines render clearly provided that they are pixel perfect.