As a web designer, I know how frustrating it can be to find the perfect icon for a project. You likely want something affordable but also versatile, distinctive yet professional.
Well, you‘re in luck my friend! In this comprehensive guide, I‘ll be sharing the top 13 icon platforms that I‘ve handpicked and relied on over my 10+ years as a designer. I‘ve done the hard work for you, evaluating tons of options to uncover the very best sources of free and paid icons.
Buckle up! You‘re about to level up your icon game big time.
Why Icons Matter More Than You Think
Before jumping into the platforms, it‘s worth stepping back and examining why icons play such a vital role in web design and UX:
1. Icons catch the eye
Humans are visual creatures. We‘re naturally drawn to images over text. Simple yet vivid icons will grab user attention and break up monotonous blocks of copy.
According to UX studies, color visuals increase people‘s willingness to read content by 80%. Icons leverage this effect beautifully.
2. Icons communicate rapidly
Icons convey meaning at just a glance. A trash can icon instantly signals delete. A magnifying glass translates to search. Users comprehend interfaces much faster when common icons are used appropriately.
In fact, labels and text for icons can be up to 94% redundant according to UX research. The icons do most of the heavy lifting for users.
3. Icons boost efficiency
By making UIs more scannable, legible, and intuitive, icons allow users to complete tasks much more efficiently. They reduce cognitive load.
During usability tests, using icons for call to actions decreased task completion time by 124% compared to just text alone. That‘s the incredible power of icons!
4. Icons appeal aesthetically
When well-executed, icons look fantastic and add visual flair. Icons break up space and bring color, shape, and personality. Users perceive aesthetically pleasing interfaces as more trustworthy and credible.
According to surveys, 94% of respondents said visual appearance was the top factor influencing their opinion of a website. Icons contribute greatly to aesthetics.
5. Icons build brand recognition
Ever recognize an app by its icons before reading its name? Familiar icons help build brand recognition and memory. Users will come to associate your icons with your brand.
Productivity app Evernote achieved double digit growth partially by emphasizing its iconic elephant logo. Their elephant icon is now instant recognizable.
Hopefully now you see why icons shouldn‘t be an afterthought! When strategically used, they make interfaces more scannable, appealing, and usable.
Now that you know why icons are important, let‘s explore the top where to get them!
1. Flaticon – The Icon Megastore
Boasting over 3.5 million icons, Flaticon should be your go-to source for all things icons. It‘s the megastore of icon libraries with enough options to never run out.
I love Flaticon for its:
- Purely free icon library – No subscriptions needed for the core icons
- SVG format – Scalable vectors that look crisp on any screen
- Remixable – Edit and build on icons freely
- Creator attribution – Gives credit back to the artists
- Icon customization – Get tailored icons through their service
Flaticon has my highest recommendation for your mainstay free icon source. You really can‘t beat it for everyday icon needs.
2. Iconfinder – The All-in-One Icon Marketplace
Boasting over 2 million active users, Iconfinder has cemented itself as the leading marketplace for icon creators and consumers. Think of it like the app store of icons, connecting you to the perfect icon packs.
Standout features of Iconfinder:
- Intuitive search – Effortlessly find icons by name, style, category etc.
- Millions of choices – One of the largest icon libraries available
- Format versatility – Get icons in SVG, PNG, EPS and more
- Developer API – Programmatically integrate icons into your projects
- Attribution not required – Use icons freely even in commercial apps
I‘m convinced Iconfinder offers the very best icon browsing and discovery experience bar none. It has earned its reputation as the #1 icon marketplace.
3. Noun Project – For Thoughtful Handcrafted Icons
Website: Noun Project
If you value unique, hand-designed icons with personality, Noun Project and its community of creators deliver. The site meticulously curates its icon library for quality and variety.
Reasons to love Noun Project:
- Distinct artistic styles – Every icon is handcrafted
- Curated selections – Icons are chosen for diversity and design excellence
- Broad coverage – Over 1 million icons spanning all concepts
- Powerful ideology – Focused on cultural representation and inclusion
- Commercial licensing – Fair options to use icons in apps and products
Noun Project checks all the boxes for iconic (pun intended) icon design.
4. Icons8 – For Customizing Icons Your Way
What sets Icons8 apart is its slick editor that lets you customize icons before downloading. You can tweak colors, overlays, backgrounds, effects, and text until the icon matches your vision.
Reasons I dig Icons8:
- Remix icons freely – Make icons your own in the editor
- Animated icons – Perfect for landing pages and videos
- Developer API – Pull icons directly into your app code
- Style versatility – Vibrant Flat to professional iOS icons
- Growing library – New high-quality icon packs added routinely
If total creative control over your icons matters, Icons8 is a superb fit for you.
5. Streamline – For Premium Icon Collections
Website: Streamline Icons
When budget isn‘t a concern and you desire premium icon collections, Streamline is my hands-down favorite. Their coherent icon sets are perfect for establishing a visual identity.
Reasons I recommend Streamline:
- Cohesive style sets – Collections look like they belong together
- Animation ready – Icons rigged and ready for animation
- Fully customizable – Tweak colors, sizes, and styles
- New releases – Fresh styles and icons added weekly
- Seamless integration – Implements easily into apps
- Worth the price – Outstanding quality for the premium cost
If a unified, professional icon collection is needed, Streamline is in my experience, the top service out there.
6. Iconshock – For Bills-Free Quality Icons
Iconshock strikes an excellent balance between paid and free icons. It provides over 2 million free icons alongside affordable premium options. Icons are top-notch quality.
Reasons to use Iconshock:
- Completely free base icons – Tons of options even without paying
- Style versatility – iOS, Android, Windows, and more
- Easy customizing – Recolor and tweak icons
- New icons weekly – Library steadily grows
- Developer friendly – Building blocks for crafting apps
- Optional premium – Upgrade for more without breaking bank
For a superb blend of free and paid icons, Iconshock is a winner in my book.
7. GraphicBurger – For Small Batches of Icons
GraphicBurger specializes in delivering beautifully designed icon sets and graphics in short batches. It‘s a go-to of mine for concise yet polished free icons.
Reasons I dig GraphicBurger:
- Curated icon sets – Every pack has cohesive style
- Small batches – Just enough icons to cover concepts
- Hassle-free downloads – No registration needed
- New packs weekly – Site is continually updated
- Bonus elements – Also offers graphics like logos and banners
- Attribution required – Give credit to the artists
For focused icon sets delivered weekly, GraphicBurger consistently impresses. Their icons are great supplementary choices.
8. Freepik – For Icons Plus Supporting Graphics
Beyond its vast library of over 4 million icons, Freepik offers supporting graphics like photos, vectors, and PSD templates. It‘s my one-stop shop.
Reasons to love Freepik:
- All-in-one resource – Icons plus photos, graphics, templates
- Huge asset library – Over 4 million files and growing
- Handy filters – Refine by color, orientation, styles
- Social integrations – Preview and share assets
- Daily content – New icons and graphics added daily
- Seamless attribution – Credit integrated into downloads
For expansive creative assets in one place, I fully recommend Freepik. It has become my de facto resource for icons, logos, banners, templates, you name it!
9. UX Wing – For Usability-Focused Icons
UX Wing shines with its library of over 50,000 usability-driven icons. Their growing icon collection adopts best practices for clarity, intuitiveness, and accessibility.
Reasons I‘m a big UX Wing fan:
- Usability focused designs – Icons follow proven UX principles
- Clean aesthetic – Professional, minimalist icon style
- Hassle-free usage – Totally free even for commercial use
- Small batches – Icons delivered in themed packs
- Feature requests – Submit icon ideas missing from library
- SVG + PNG formats – Crisp quality on all devices
For UX-centered icons backed by research insights, UX Wing is a reliable go-to source.
10. PngTree – For Icons + Matching Graphics
In addition to its icon sets, PngTree offers coordinating graphics like backgrounds, illustrations, and banners. It‘s wonderful as a complementary resource.
Reasons to check out PngTree:
- 5 million+ free and premium assets – Icons, logos, graphics galore
- Asset matching – Easily find coordinating graphics
- New content daily – Freshest designs in one spot
- Smart search – Intuitively finds related icons and images
- Optional plans – Upgrade if needed for commercial use
- Attribution – Credit creators
PngTree is my secret weapon for building a visually consistent brand kit with icons, logos, and more. Everything matches perfectly!
11. IconStore – For Original, Creative Icons
If you desire unique icons you won‘t find anywhere else, IconStore consistently impresses with its originality. Their creative icon sets help brands stand out.
Reasons I applaud IconStore:
- One-of-a-kind icons – Designs you won‘t see elsewhere
- Totally free – No catches for commercial use
- Handy categories – Tech, entertainment, gestures, and more
- Fresh icons – Library expands weekly
- Requests welcome – Submit icon ideas to creators
- Attribution not required – Use freely even in apps
For creative, outside-the-box icon designs, IconStore should be a go-to.
12. Vecteezy – For Any Graphic Needs
Beyond icons, Vecteezy can fulfill all your graphic needs with stock photos, vectors, and illustrations. It has become an invaluable asset source for me.
Reasons I always check Vecteezy:
- 1 million+ free and premium assets – Photos, vectors, illustrations galore
- Intelligent filters – Refine graphics easily
- New options daily – Inventory always expanding
- Seamless licensing – Hassle-free commercial use
- Creative bundles – Graphics for any use case
- Optional paid plan – Upgrade for full asset access
Whatever graphic asset needs arise, Vecteezy has me covered. It‘s become my automated first stop for all projects.
13. Iconfinder – My Ol‘ Reliable
Let‘s circle back to Iconfinder, which I mentioned earlier. It remains my tried and true option for effortless icon search and discovery after all these years.
Key reasons Iconfinder remains an old favorite:
- Millions of diverse icons – One of the largest libraries ever
- Intuitive search – Always dependable for finding that perfect icon
- Advanced filters – Refine by style, color, license and more
- Format versatility – Get icons in just the format you need
- Developer API – Pull icons into apps programmatically
- Hassle-free usage – Even in commercial products
With its sheer volume of exceptional icons, Iconfinder is a resource I know I can always rely on. It‘s a desert island pick for me!
Which Sources Are Best for You?
With 13 awesome options shared, how do you determine which sources are right for your specific needs?
I recommend keeping these aspects in mind as you evaluate platforms:
- Budget – Premium icons are great but start with free options from Flaticon and Noun Project
- Styles & consistency – Curated platforms like Streamline provide unified aesthetics
- Search & discovery – Iconfinder is best for search, Flaticon for browsing
- Formats required – Flaticon and Iconfinder support the most formats
- Customization needs – Icons8 enables remixing and tweaking
- Usage terms – Most are free but double check license rights
Take some time to browse the various platforms recommended. Look for ones that fit your budget, style, and use case.
The options shared above should empower you to find the perfect icons to take your interfaces to the next level.
If any questions pop up during your icon hunt, don‘t hesitate to reach out my friend! I‘m always glad to help a fellow designer out.