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Join Justin Seeley, lynda.com staff author and design enthusiast, each week for a new 5-minute, self-contained tutorial that you can use to instantly improve your design workflow. This series covers techniques for print, digital, and web design, addressing the tools that creative professionals like you use most. Learn new ways to leverage layer styles and vector shapes in Adobe Photoshop, work more efficiently with text in Illustrator, and embed videos and even tweets in WordPress posts, and much more. Check back each week for a new installment, and a new design hack.
- Hey everybody. Welcome back to another installment of Creative Quick Tips. My name is Justin Seeley, and this week I’m gonna be showing you where I go on the web to find free icons that I use throughout various projects. Whether it be web designs, print designs, or just doing something like an app mock-up. Finding free icons on the web can be somewhat challenging, but I’ve three different websites for you that are gonna make it a little bit easier. The first of which is my favorite one. It’s called ‘Iconfinder,’ and you can find it at icons on this site.
You can also see down here at the bottom that they have a new Iconfinder Pro where you can go in there and actually pay a flat rate for premium vector icons. What you’re gonna do on this site is you’re just gonna simply type in whatever it is you’re looking for. They give you some examples down here like “arrow, phone, user” etcetera. So let’s say that I’m doing some sort of project where I need a like icon, like a thumbs up. What I’m gonna do is just type in “like,” and you’ll see that it comes up with several suggestions. I’m just gonna click on the word “like,” and once I do that I’ll click the “Search” button over here.
Now, once you get on to the Iconfinder website, you’re gonna notice a bunch of icons appear. Initially you’re probably going to see a lot of the ones that say “Buy now” for x amount of dollars. Over here on the left-hand side though, you can actually filter these out. So if you wanted to, you could say, “Okay, I want only vector format. “I want them to be free. “And I want them to have “a certain kind of license.” So you can actually see what types of licenses they have there. And then you can also adjust the icon size, so maybe you need one that’s 256px. And the background you want to be transparent.
And then as you’re doing this, it is applying those filters in real time over here to the right. So you can see all of these are free, and across the top you can actually see the formats that they come in as well. So there’s “SVG, PNG, ICO” and “ICNS” for this one, whereas this one down here only has “SVG, PNG” and “ICO.” So you find the icon that you like in the format that you need at the size that makes sense for the project you’re working on, and then all you have to do is click on that icon. It takes you to this page right here, and you can simply download the SVG, the PNG, the ICO, or the ICNS file directly from here, and you can also choose specific sizes if you wish.
Downloading is very simple. You just simply click right there. And once that is downloaded it gets on your computer, and this is inside of Preview on the Mac, and you can kinda see that this icon, since it was the PNG version, it’s not scalable, but I could’ve downloaded the SVG and made it easily scalable there. Alright, let’s jump back over into the web browser now. And let’s take a look at the second option for finding icons. This one is called IconArchive, and you can find it at: iconarchive.com This one works much the same way as Iconfinder does; all you have to do here is type in what you’re looking for.
So in this case I’ll just type in something like, let’s say, “wifi,” and then we’ll hit “Search icons.” And so this is gonna run a search, just like on Iconfinder, and you’re gonna see all of the options that you have available to you here. The difference here is these are not paid, so all of these are free. So you can see any one of these that you want, and then you can also see at the top they do have the same format filtering here. I’ve found that IconArchive is great about having some obscure icons that not a lot of other services have, but they don’t have quite as much selection as Iconfinder does.
But they are getting better, and as you can see here they’ve got a pretty big selection already, and it’s just a matter of finding what works for your project. So you may have to go to one, two, or even all three of these sites in order to find exactly what you want. So in this case, when you want to grab one of these icons, you just click on it like this, you take it in. You can download the PNG at 512px, you can download the ICO, and download ICNS. As I said before, these are free, but there is a button down here to donate to the artist. So if you use this in some form of commercial project or something like that, I recommend that you go back and you give ‘em, you know, a couple of bucks or something like that, because these people are creating free assets for you to use and they’re giving you full range to do pretty much whatever you want with it.
You can read all about the license right there where it says, “CC Attribution-No Derivative” right there. You can read all about that. It’s a Creative Commons license. You can see what you can and can’t do with that piece of artwork, but it’s always nice to go back and sort of pay it forward once you’ve used something that they’ve created. Next up is something called flaticon.com You can imagine what this is. It is another icon finding search engine, basically. And so here if I wanted to find something like a download button, I’ll type that in and I’ll hit “Enter,” and that is going to bring me this.
I think this is a great site because it has a really big area for me to search in. It’s not encumbered by any sidebars or anything. However, you do not get the filtering capabilities that you do in the other ones. So that’s sort of a drawback, but this is great for finding, like it says, flat icons. You’re not gonna find a lot of skeuomorphism in here. These are gonna be just monochromatic very simple little icons that are great for wire framing projects and things like that. So no matter which one of these you choose, there’s probably an icon search engine for you. It’s all a matter of finding the right one for the right project.
And while you’re at it, if you’re into icon design you might want to check out my courses at lynda.com, “Creating Icons with Photoshop,” and “Creating Icons with Illustrator,” which walks you through my personal process for actually creating your own custom icon set.
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