Icon Library Resources – Top 16 Most Popular

icon library

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 in 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, but these 16 represent the best in terms of diversity, usability and value.

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.

Key Features

  • Free and paid download options
  • Icon sets
  • A Mac app
  • New icons uploaded on a near-daily basis

2. IconMonstr

This comprehensive icon library offers almost 3,500 icons sorted into 250 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.

Key Features

  • 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.

Key Features

  • 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. IcoMoon

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 4,000 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.

Key Features

  • Free and paid download options
  • A wide variety of download formats
  • Comprehensive icon management tools
  • Free and easy updates via Cloud synching

5. Pictonic

This site 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.

Key Features

  • 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

6. Icons8

With 34,900 icons and daily updates, this icons 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.

Key Features

  • 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

7. Freepik

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.

Key Features

  • 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

8. Pictos

Pictos offers both font icon sets and a Pictos Redux set designed especially for designers who need to resize and manipulate the site’s already-popular icons. With line, solid and color options available, this site offers sleek and elegant icons with plenty of design flexibility. Original vector paths are included in the Redux set to allow for unlimited editing of icons in Illustrator. The classic Pictos icon set features more than 800 simple line icons for design use.

Key Features

  • Both free and paid download options
  • Icons are available in a variety of file formats
  • Line, color and solid icon options are available
  • All Redux icons are designed on a 24 by 24 pixel grid

9. Glyphish

Glypish represents an icons collection with more than 1,600 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.

Key Features

  • 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

10. Iconfinder

Iconfinder is currently one of the largest icon libraries with over 1,150,000 free and premium icons. Additionally, they also offer 25,000+ 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 25 downloads of $29/month for unlimited downloads.

Key Features

  • Both free and paid use options
  • Flexible search features
  • Icons available in a variety of formats

11. PixelLove

With more than 5,000 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.

Key Features

  • 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

12. Flaticon

This collection of more than 200,000 vector icons represents another one of the “big players” in the icon collections space. Flaticon users can download an unlimited number of icons and enjoy easy control over design features too. All icons can be adjusted to meet the color 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.

Key Features

  • 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. Iconic

This is the go-to icon library for designers seeking basic, clean icons that can be used across a wide variety of platforms and applications. All icons are easy to edit and can be downloaded in a variety of color schemes. The icons are designed on pixel-precise grids for ease of sizing and use. Iconic also offers free, open-source icons to those who are interested in trying out the service.

Key Features

  • Responsive icons adjust to end-user displays
  • All icons can be stylized using CSS
  • Use licenses can be transferred between designers or companies
  • Icon fonts are also offered

14. Font Awesome

font awesome banner

Available as a single font that features 634 icons, Font Awesome offers a flexible icon solution to designers. The icons can easily be modified using CSS attributes, and they’re designed to work seamlessly on a variety of frameworks. Every icon is a vector graphic, which means that designers also have infinite control over icon size and scalability. These icons don’t require JavaScript, which means that they’re free of the compatibility issues that some icon sets face. Animated icons and icons designed for use in lists are also included.

Key Features

  • 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

15. Graphic Burger

This unique site 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.

Key Features

  • 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

16. Behance

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.

Key Features

  • 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

Icon Library Resources – In Summary

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.

icon library trends

Based on the time of when this article was written, font awesome continues to be the frontrunner in terms of popularity according to Google trends. However, 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’s no excuse not to shake things up when so many awesome icon resources are readily available today.

Icon Library Resources – Top 16 Most Popular was last modified: January 9th, 2017 by Cody Arsenault
  • Szymon

    Thanks for your helpful post, Cody! Also Futuramo Icons – https://futuramo.com/apps/icons – with over 45k visually compatible UI icons is worth checking out.

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