Icon Library Resources - Most Popular Sets
Icons are some of the most-used graphics in web and application design. They're so commonplace, in fact, that most non-designers take them for granted. For designers, though, icons are more than just graphical afterthoughts. They're guideposts that lead web visitors and app users through a complex set of interactions with their favorite sites and tools. Such icons might be flat in design terms, but they're certainly not lifeless. They're a crucial component of user experience, and designers must pick them with care.
Enter icon collections and libraries, where designers at all levels can find the best icons for their website and app projects. These incredible online collections offer everything from basic icons that viewers are accustomed to seeing in everyday life to specialty sets that speak to a tailored audience.
There are thousands of icon collections out there. In this blog post, we will explore some of the best icon libraries available in terms of diversity, usability, and value and help you find the perfect set of icons for your next project.
Why use icon libraries?
There are several reasons why designers use icon libraries in their projects.
Firstly, using pre-designed icons can save a significant amount of time and effort. Rather than creating icons from scratch, designers can simply browse through a library of icons and choose the ones that fit their project's needs.
Secondly, icon libraries provide consistency in design. By using a consistent set of icons throughout a website or app, designers can create a cohesive and professional-looking design. This consistency is especially important when working with a team of designers or when designing for a brand.
Lastly, using icon libraries can help ensure accessibility. Icons are essential for communicating information to users, particularly those who have difficulty reading or understanding written language. Using clear and well-designed icons can improve the user experience and make a website or app more accessible to a wider range of users.
How to choose an icon library?
Choosing the right icon library for your project can be a daunting task, particularly with so many options available. Here are some factors to consider when choosing an icon library:
Icon libraries come in various styles, from flat icons to realistic icons. Consider the style of your design and choose an icon library that fits your project's aesthetic.
Icon libraries cover a wide range of categories, from social media icons to business icons. Consider the categories you need for your project and choose an icon library that covers those categories.
Icon libraries come in different file formats, including SVG, PNG, and AI. Consider the file format you need for your project and choose an icon library that offers those formats.
Some icon libraries are free, while others require a license fee. Consider your budget and choose an icon library that fits within your budget.
Top icon libraries to consider
Now that we have covered what icon libraries are, why they are essential, and how to choose one, let's look at some of the most popular icon libraries available.
1. The Noun Project
One of the largest icon collections out there, The Noun Project has an icon for almost anything you can imagine. Sourced from a variety of designers, the site offers plenty of icon diversity so that web and app designers can choose unique graphics that users haven't already seen a hundred times. This is a comprehensive icon library that's easy to search.
- Free and paid download options
- Icon sets
- A Mac app
- New icons uploaded on a near-daily basis
iconmonstr is a comprehensive icon library offering over 4,300 icons sorted into 304 different collections. Every icon set offers both outline and filled versions of the graphics to ensure that they can be used for a variety of design applications. The site offers robust search functions and allows users to add icons to their favorites. Every icon is designed using a 24 pixel grid for hassle-free use in a variety of designs.
- Free use of all icons
- Convenient icon sets
- Four format download options
- Downsized icons optimized for web use
3. Good Stuff No Nonsense
The funky, hand-drawn icons at Good Stuff No Nonsense are sorted into more than two dozen categories for ease of use. These quirky icons are perfect for designers who want the hand-drawn look but don't have the time or skill to create and upload their own icons. All of the icons on this site are created by one artist, so they offer design consistency and can help bring a branded look to any site or app. Many of the icons are also vectorized for flexible design use.
- Low-cost and free icon sets available
- Custom icon creation services are available
- Ability to buy icon sets or single icons
- Icons are available in a variety of formats
4. Orion Icon Library
Orion is a relative newcomer to the icon library world. It is a project created by Pixeden and sets out to provide highly flexible web icons which can be modified directly from their web app. The web app allows you to perform a variety of modifications including corner and cap style, stroke width, and primary/secondary color selection. You can also search through their icon packs or directly from the search bar if you know exactly what you're looking for.
- Thousands of icons available for free, even more if you purchase their pro plan
- Pro plan provides a "No attribution required license"
- Easy to use and intuitive web app to modify your icons
Used by large and small companies alike, IcoMoon is an icons collection that sets itself apart by offering both icon fonts and icon packs that support basic glyph editing. Available as both a website and an app, IcoMoon offers more than 5,000 free icons and offline storage of icons. Each icon pack features detailed licensing so that designers and developers know exactly how icons can be used. Users can also make their own custom icon fonts.
- Free and paid download options
- A wide variety of download formats
- Comprehensive icon management tools
- Free and easy updates via Cloud synching
Pictonic offers an array of icon fonts sorted according to theme. All of the icons are designed using a precise pixel scale so that they can be resized without loss to quality or integrity. Because they are offered as font sets, the icons in this collection can also be stylized using CSS elements instead of outside image editors. The Pictonic site also features a robust blog that details new icon releases and provides use tips for both new and experienced designers.
- Ability to buy icon sets or single icons
- Icons are totally scalable
- All icons can be styled with CSS
- Icons are available in a variety of file formats
With over one million icons and daily updates, the Icons8 collection is hard to beat when it comes to selection and diversity. Users can search icons by tags or can browse more than 50 different thematic collections to find graphics that meet their needs. Icons8 focuses on flat icons that can be used across a variety of platforms and operating systems. Users can send in suggestions if they don't find icons that fit their needs too.
- Both free and paid subscription options
- Access to vector icons that can be modified
- The ability to easily edit icon color
- Easy drag and drop to Photoshop, Xcode, Sketch and more
Like its name suggests, Freepik offers a huge database of free graphics, vectors and icons for use by web and app designers. The icon library section of the site offers more than 100,000 graphics that users can search or browse by theme. The icons range from simple to complex, and an array of line, filled and colored icons are available. Each icon has its own licensing restrictions.
- Free for personal and commercial use
- Icons can be downloaded in PNG, EPS and SVG formats
- Other vectors and images available on the site can easily be edited for use as icons
- New icons are added on a regular basis
Glypish represents an icons collection with more than 2,200 items in both line and filled-in styles. The icons are available in a large paid bundle or in individual bundles. This site features icons for iOS, Android and the Apple Watch. Designers and developers who are interested in trying out Glyphish can download 50 free icons licensed through Creative Commons. All icons are sized according to Apple specifications but can also be edited by designers.
- Icons for both iOS and Android platforms
- A set of 50 free icons
- Easy drag and drop into Xcode
- Icons specially sized for Apple Retina displays
Iconfinder is currently the largest icon library with over 6 million free and premium icons. Additionally, they also offer 155,000+ icon sets. Iconfinder provides users with a variety of search options including icon format, price, size, background, etc. They offer a wide selection of free icons but if those just aren't doing the job for you, you can also upgrade to premium icons for $9/month for 10 downloads, $19/month for 50 downloads, or $49/month for 500 downloads.
- Both free and paid use options
- Flexible search features
- Icons available in a variety of formats
With 15,000 icons for iOS and Android platforms, PixelLove is a go-to icons collection for designers creating mobile sites and apps. All icons are available in a variety of pixel sizes. Layer and slice files ensure that icons can be edited in both Photoshop and Sketch. Both icons and icon fonts are included to meet a diverse array of design needs.
- Free and paid icons with four subscription levels
- A variety of license options
- Icons specially designed for the Apple Watch
- Editable vector and bitmap formats
This collection of more than 10 million icons represents another one of the "big players" in the icon collections space. Flaticon users can download an unlimited number of icons in PNG and enjoy easy control over design features too. All icons can be adjusted to meet the colour and size needs of individual designers. Users can also generate icon fonts for use on personal and commercial projects. Flaticon offers a Mac app for easy integration of icons via Sketch, Photoshop, Illustrator and more.
- Both free and paid subscription options are available
- New icon packs are added every month
- A variety of file formats are available
- Both raster and vector icons are available
13. Font Awesome
- A completely free icon library
- Built with accessibility in mind
- Features easy upgrading across websites
- Offers a desktop cheat sheet for the entire icon library
14. Graphic Burger
Graphic Burger offers an array of free and paid graphic elements of use to web, application and graphic designers. Among these is a robust selection of icons that includes graphics fitting an array of subjects and themes. Users can browse through the latest icons added to the site or can search for icons meeting their specific needs. Many icon sets offer line, filled and colored versions of icons for design flexibility. An array of file formats are available with some icon sets offering both free and paid download options.
- Both free and paid icons are available
- Most icon sets offer flexible design options
- Icons are arranged in sets according to theme and style
- New icons are added on a regular basis
Less a traditional library and more a place for designers to showcase their talent, Behance can be used to find thousands of free icons and graphics for use on both apps and websites. A variety of icon sets can be found by using basic search terms, but designers must have patience to get the best out of this site. Design flexibility of individual icon sets varies widely depending on configurations set by original designers and uploaders. Users can search icons from this page to cut down on the difficulty of navigating the Behance interface.
- Thousands of free icons are available
- Designers can filter search results by tools used, color and more
- New icons are added on a weekly basis
- The site offers a variety of specialty icons and graphics
Nova is a collection of more than 5,000 vector icons built to follow Google's Material Design guidelines. That makes them perfect to use for any Android applications, websites, and desktop apps. Nova's icons also come with 2 different styles so regardless of if you choose the free pack, essential pack, or ultimate pack, you'll actually receive twice the number of icons. Nova icons are provided in all essential files used by developers and designers. This includes Sketch, Illustrator, SVG, and PDF.
- Each icon comes in Line + Solid style, for a total of around 8,000 icons
- Designed with Google Material Design guidelines
- Offers a wide range of icons in multiple different categories
- Free and paid options available
Smashicons offers an extremely comprehensive collection of icons with over 510,000 icons currently in their library. The library is constantly growing, with new icons added every week. Smashicons offers icons in SVG, PNG, and AI formats and allows you to customize the icons' colors and size. The library also offers icon sets that are designed specifically for certain industries, such as food and beverage or fashion. However, unlike some of the other icon libraries metioned, not all of these icons follow the same style. Therefore, if you want to keep a consistent look and feel on your website, app, etc. you'll need to ensure that all of the icons you required are within a particular icon set. The library also offers a lifetime subscription option, which gives you access to all current and future content, making it a great value for designers who need a variety of design resources.
- Very large collection of icons although they don't all follow the same style
- All icons are multi-platform compatible
- Easy to use web app to search and find the icons you need
Another icon bundle service is Roundicons. This icon provider offers 45,000 icons separated into various icon bundles for a one time price of $99. Furthermore, they also offer a variety of free icons as well as custom icon creation. So if you're building a brand that needs a consistent look and feel, then getting custom icons made could be a great solutions.
- Multiple icon bundles for a one-time price
- Free updates when new icons are pushed out
- Offers a service for custom icon creation
From the list above, we've chosen a few of the most recognized names in icon library resources and stacked them up against one another in Google trends.
According to Google Trends data, Font Awesome appears to be the most popular icon library among the ones mentioned in this article, followed by Flaticon. However, it's important to note that popularity can vary based on factors such as design trends, user preferences, and the specific needs of a project. It's always a good idea to evaluate multiple options and choose the one that best fits your design needs and preferences. Choosing the right icon library resource for your project should not be based on what is considered most popular but rather what best suits the needs of your project.
Hopefully, this post has helped shed some light in regards to which icon libraries are currently available as well as each one's key features.
Whatever the design project, icon libraries offer a solution for the most basic branding and user experience needs. As they search icon collections, designers should remember that style consistency is key. It's best to use a single library or icon set for an individual project, but it's also important to diversify icon library usage across projects. Doing so will help differentiate websites and apps from one another, and there is no excuse not to shake things up when so many awesome icon resources are readily available today.