The tiny icon that appears left of the web address on your browser is commonly known as a favicon (name so after Microsoft introduced the convention in 1999 with their release of IE 5) but it is also known as the bookmark icon and website icon. If you are really interested, you can read all about the favicon’s long history and its basic implementation on Wikipedia.

The favicon was standardized in HTML4 by the World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) and is now supported across all modern browsers and mobile devices. If you don’t create a your own favicon then most systems will use a generic favicon or generate one from the source page. But as web designers and site owners, we want to preserve our brand every way possible so taking a moment to create a custom favicon is just good practice.

There are lots of tools for creating the .ico file format but when you need something free, simple, and fast then can’t be beat. Typically, I upload the 16×16 .png version of my icon and let generate the .ico version. handles transparency and variable sizes. You can also create an favicon from scratch one pixel at a time.