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Why we switched to Font Awesome for Balsamiq Mockups 3

It was with mixed feelings that we switched to the Font Awesome icon set with Balsamiq Mockups 3.

Our original icons were hand-drawn by Peldi's wife Mariah so they had special meaning to us.

But creating new ones and keeping them updated as logos changed (our Twitter icon was three generations old, for example) was time consuming and didn't provide as much value to our customers as adding new features and fixing bugs.

And then Font Awesome came along and it was free and, well, awesome. We used it internally and added it as an easy-to-install icon pack on our Extensions page and our customers loved it too.

In our Beta feedback forums our users started talking about integrating Font Awesome when we decided to remove the Account Assets feature. So Peldi contacted Dave Gandy, creator of Font Awesome, and asked him if we could use them in our tool.


From: Giacomo Guilizzoni peldi@balsamiq.com
Date: Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 6:28 PM
Subject: Hello from Peldi from Balsamiq!
To: Dave Gandy

Hello Dave!
This is Peldi from Balsamiq. We make a wireframing tool called Balsamiq Mockups, maybe you've heard of it?
We have noticed that quite a few of our customers use your awesome Font Awesome set of icons in conjunction with our tool. There's even a github repo of someone who made it easy to do.
We are working on a new version of Mockups, and were wondering if it would be possible to include your Font Awesome set as a built-in set, replacing our homegrown (and much inferior to yours) set.
I looked at your licensing page and it looked feasible, but I thought it'd be worth maybe having a quick chat first?
What do you think? I am excited about the idea, as it would give our users a standard set of icons that their developers would understand immediately...and probably also help cement Font Awesome as "the standard" for app and web design, even more than it is today. :)
I am in CET, and happy to meet any time.
Peldi

His response was delightfully straightforward.


From: Dave Gandy
Date: Tue, Feb 17, 2015 at 6:34 PM
Subject: Re: Hello from Peldi from Balsamiq!
To: Giacomo Guilizzoni peldi@balsamiq.com

Heck yeah. Go ahead and throw them in. It’s as open source as I can get it. :)

A few days later Peldi had swapped out the old ones for Font Awesome and remapped the labels so that existing projects with icons wouldn't break.

We were a bit giddy here when we used the first Beta build with the new icons. Getting so many great icons all at once felt like Christmas to us.

We'll also be updating our icon set whenever Dave updates Font Awesome. So, now, if you want us to add icons to Balsamiq Mockups, request them in Font Awesome and they'll make their way into our product!

We hope you're enjoying the new icons. And, if you're nostalgic for the old ones, we've made them available for download as custom icons.

Leon for the Balsamiq Team

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