Choosing an icon pack is like marriage: once and for a few years. Therefore, it needs some preparation. We decided to create a run of 3 articles about different sources of icons.
All in all, there are 3 types of sources you can use to find your perfect icon:
What is meant here is the services which not only present icons for downloading, but also offer a fair amount of editing features—recoloring, resizing, choosing formats, etc. These are our three favourites:
- Iconic—In short, it’s great. We are the fans of PJ Onori, the guy who created it. We adore both his work and his tech philosophy.
- Icomoon—A great tool for using the icons from various companies. It has a number of unique functions, such as renaming the glyph names.
- Icons8—A service for recoloring the icons, converting the icons, and generating fonts. It comes with the desktop apps for Mac and Windows, and contains its own collection of icons (over 13,000 as of June 2015).
All the tools are very different, and we can’t generalise their pros and cons. Let’s take a closer look to each of them.
Advantages of Iconic
- Icons have the same great style.
- Both sources have convenient search systems.
- Iconic has tools for editing icons.
- Iconic has 613 icons and it’s usually enough for the simplest applications.
Disadvantages of Iconic
- Iconic has 613 icons and you can’t be sure that next feature will require an icon they miss.
- What you get is a bunch of files and several scripts. Search, conversion to other formats, inserting into DOC/PPT/HTML/Google Docs etc. documents requires manual operations with the files and editing the code.
- Finally, I don’t feel it’s a full time project even for one person, but rather a hobby. They have added only 20 icons for the last 10 months.
Iconic charges $129 and you get all the products: SVGs, Webfont, tools.
Advantages of Icomoon
- They have free and paid icons.
- Free and paid icon tools.
- Their font generator is beyond all praise.
- The paid plan stores your icons in the cloud — great if you share the icons with your teammates.
- The top plan allows hosting your icon fonts — a unique feature.
Disadvantages of Icomoon
- The icons are tiny.
- You have to bring your own icons.
Icomoon has a freemium model. For paid plans it charges from $9 to $19 a month. Paid icon packs are priced separately.
Disclaimer: the authors of this article work on Icons8, therefore we are inclined to talk a lot about our service, the ideas we live with, and the features we develop day to day.
Icons8 is the largest icon pack of a single designer team: 13,000 icons (as of June 2015). All icons are produced by the same designer team, therefore they have consistent quality and style.
Also, people say Icons8 is the only collection that is updated regularly creating at least 3 icons a day for 3 years. If you need an icon, you can either get it for $80 in 2 days, or get if for free by submitting it to our idea bank and get few friends to vote for it.
It’s the only library that creates icons by the guidelines of iOS, Android, and Windows. The icons may be drawn in line or flat style depending on the OS design specifications. If you create an app for different platforms, you already have the icons in the matching style.
Try this scenario:
- Find an icon of a butterfly (or guess some other icon);
- Recolor it to light-gray;
- Export it in PNG 50×50 px;
- Insert it in HTML.
In some libraries you won’t find this icon, with no hope of getting it anytime soon. With others, you’ll spend half an hour with files, Photoshop, Illustrator and other tools. The most popular articles on Icons8 blog are: How to Color Vector Icons in Adobe Illustrator and How to Recolor a PNG Icon in Photoshop.
In Icons8, you’ll get it in 20 seconds:
Also, Icons8 clients enjoy the desktop app for Mac and Windows. You get all your icons stored locally:
I’d sound like a salesman explaining all the features, but there’s a fact: Icons8 is a full time team of 10 people, of which 4 are designers, 6 are the software developers. No wonder they create a lot.
Icons8 is quite expensive: $149-249, but that covers unlimited usage within a company. Usually the icon packs don’t charge for updates, nor do they have any regular ones. Icons8 does have a charge of $50/year of updates (around 6000 icons).