20 Icon Search Engines and Libraries Designers Should Know
Icons – “We’ve come a long way, baby.” Just consider how far icons have come since Xerox first developed theirs
to Microsoft’s Windows 7.
While icons may seem like a little thing in the grand scheme of design, choosing just the right icons for a design project can be more important than you think, especially because they may be used many times and for different purposes. While icons take up little space, they can capture interest of users and visitors and come to be symbolic of a business’s culture. In the overall design of a site, we study the latest in design and development, but often think of icons as just an afterthought. But choosing the perfect icon is important and can present a challenge for even the best designer.
Fortunately, there are a number of icon search engines and libraries that can save both time and design agony and allow designers to find what they want, even if they must then tweak them a bit.With the ability to search by keywords and phrases, designers can narrow the possibilities from among thousands and thousands of stunning icons and save hours of time.
Here are 20 of the best icon search engines and libraries.
With 950,000+ icons and a thousands of icon sets, it would be tough not to find something that will be perfect for your needs. Some of the library can be accessed for free, and the premium packages can be purchased for $9 and $29, allowing 25 and unlimited downloads respectively. One nice thing about this search engine is that the icon designers receive 70% of sales.
Here you can search by category or set up your own search parameters. Unique features include sorting by color, ability to save and organize favorites for future use, a drag and drop interface, and group sharing via email.
3. Find Icons
This engine claims to have the largest free icon collection on the web – it is pretty impressive, actually. It also claims to have a better matching and filtering system. They track every query and download, so that future users know which icons have had the most downloads. You can set up and organize your own favorites box right on the site and access it 24/7.
Both free and fee-based icons are available, along with free fonts for logo design. Like other search engines, you can bookmark, organize and save chosen icons in your own account on the site. One nice feature of this site is there is a great blog and, as well, icon design tutorials for those who want to venture in. This search engine is a great resource for looking at how small things like icons and logos fit into the latest digital marketing trends.
A great selection of free and paid icons, and a library that has virtually anything a designer/business could want. It also features an image to icon generator tool and a favicon generator. These are great features.
SoftIcons is generally always running a sale on its paid icons, often up to 50% off.
VeryIcon is a smaller search engine, offering about 20,000 icons and about 1000 sets. These are free for personal use or you can purchase the author’s license agreement for use with your business website and other communication. Icons come in several formats and can be downloaded in Windows, Mac, or Linux. Designers of icons are invited to submit their artwork at any time.
Search by keywords or choose from among their most popular categories. There are some nice icons to be found and they are all free, if you can put up with the massive amount of advertising that pops up everywhere. This site does not have as large a library as others, but some of the icons are nicely done.
A well-organized site. Clicking on “top tags” will give you the most-used search terms – hundreds and hundreds of them. You can browse icon sets by alphabetized category, and new icons appear to be seasonal. Once you get into a category, you refine your search, by color for example, and there are minor editing features once you have selected the icon you want. Clean and ad-free too!
Literally, there are at least 2 million icons in this library. Choose your set, decide on your style – flat, 3D, etc. – and many would be great for apps. You could spend several hours just looking, but you will definitely come away with something you love. Custom projects can be ordered too. Free for personal use, but commercial license per set is only $19. Or, you can buy a bundle of 396 sets (almost a million individual icons) for $99.
If you are a designer with varied projects, this I probably the best deal out there – 2500 icons for $29. Categories are a bit limited, however, this would be a nice library to have for lots of basics in flat, 3D, shiny, hi-gloss, etc.
Very professional designs, many quite unique. Every set has style consistency, so that designers can keep themes, colors, etc. consistent too. One nice thing about this library is that you will not find “inflated” numbers by additions of useless combinations of the same icon. There is also a free toolbox for customization. A company-wide license for $289 may be well worth the price.
17 categories with some unique and fun icons. Very high quality for use in Windows, Mac and Linux. Browse through categories quite easily, but watch where you are clicking – there are lots of ads on this site. Nevertheless, these icons are definitely not “run-of-the-mill.”
Serious and playful icons – most are free for personal or commercial use. Many different genres and styles. Any restrictions are clearly stated. Because this library is not as well-known as many others, you may find icons that are not so commonly used – a nice feature.
Formerly IconEden, this new library has some pretty amazing features. The best feature, however, is the ability to customize complete icon sets and the fact that at least 100 new icons are added every month. The free subscription gets you 800+ icons; the yearly subscription ($49) gets you about 2500 icons, and there is a lifetime membership for $149. Definitely worth checking out.
If you are a designer who likes to add a personalized and customized tweaks to existing icons then this library is for you. This is an icon library, because you have access to over 1300 free icons; however, it is so much more. You can design, convert, modify, and more. This is a tool and a library rolled into one. $35.50 is a pretty reasonable price.
Here, you can download more than 40,000 icons in well over 350 libraries. Lick on the site map and you will find all of the categories and tools. A lot of icons for free or you can become a pro member and have access to everything.
This is a bare-bones site with its categories listed on the main page, and nothing else. Once you choose your category and refine it by the drop-down menu, you will find at least 100 icons. These are pretty much all $5 apiece, although if you find a couple that are perfect, then it is probably worth the price.
18. Open Icon Library (SourceForge.net)
This is an open source consolidated library which currently houses about 10,000 free, unique icons in png, ico, icns, xpm and svg formats. The site is a bit difficult to navigate and icons are a bit basic.
This library offers far more than icons; however, if you type “icons” into the search bar, you will see a dropdown menu from which you can choose our category. Within each category are pages and pages of icons, but there are only seven categories. Obviously, this limits selection.
20. RealWorld Graphics Open Icon Library (rw-design.com)
This library is only for Microsoft Windows systems. Nevertheless, it is large and every file has the same icon in different color, depth, and size options. They can be downloaded as individual .png images or as .ico files.
You may know of many more search engines and libraries that are contained here. If you have found other good ones, please let us know in the comments below.
Author: Dante Munnis
Dante Munnis is a blogger on Essay Supply and idea maker from Stockholm who is interested in self-development, web related topics and success issues. He shares ideas for students living a better life and building habits that stick.
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