Looking for icons or illustrations for your next digital project, check out these free icon packs, open-source icon libraries, illustration collections, and more.
Icons are a popular, compact design tool used to improve visual interest, grab attention, communicate an idea quickly, and lead users through a design. At the right size, they’re also easy to interact with using a finger or a cursor. When implemented well, icons can enhance usability.
Unfortunately, not all icon implementation is done well. The clean look and feel a design achieves by using an icon rather than a text label might look good, but if that design decision is made at the expense of clear user understanding and ease of use, it’s not a successful design.
As the Neilsen Norman Group explains:
“A user’s understanding of an icon is based on previous experience. Due to the absence of standard usage for most icons, text labels are necessary to communicate the meaning and reduce ambiguity Icons are, by definition, a visual representation of an object, action, or idea. If that object, action, or idea is not immediately clear to users, the icon is reduced to mere eye candy — confusing, frustrating, eye candy — and to visual noise that hinders people from completing a task.”
Successful icon use leverages a common design language, sticking with recognizable, familiar icons to represent expected things. For example, nearly everyone recognizes the icons for home (house), search (magnifying glass), mail (envelope), print (printer), edit (pencil), like (thumbs up), settings (gear) — and a user would be confused in the home icon on a website sudden was a highrise building.
A good rule of thumb: If it takes longer than five seconds to identify an appropriate icon for something in your design, the icon will most likely struggle to effectively communicate its intended meaning.
Check out History Of Icons for a fun and visual brief on icon history through different graphical user interfaces in different operating systems.
Icon Usage Considerations
When considering icons for your website design, app design, or marketing materials design, consider the following considerations shared as part of GitHub’s Octicons project:
When suggesting an icon, ask:
- Where will this icon be used?
- Is an icon necessary in that context?
- Could we use an existing icon?
- Is the icon trying to represent too many ideas?
- Does it follow the design guidelines?
When using icons, keep the following principles in mind:
- Icons are used to emphasize meaning, not as a replacement.
- Adding an icon should be intentional.
- Not everything needs an icon: consider a text label before adding an icon.
- Keep icons at their aspect ratio.
With that said, welcome to my running list of icon libraries!
Free And Premium Icon Libraries
When you know you want to use icons in your design, but can’t quite find the right icon style or can’t find all of the icons you need in the same style, it can be incredibly frustrating. I’ve wasted so much time searching for the right icon for website design projects, graphic design projects, and even brand style guide designs — it’s painful and it erodes profit margins too!
That’s why I started a reference spreadsheet to keep track of quality icon libraries as I discovered them. Now, I can quickly find the right icon library — and I’m sharing my collection with you.
Popular, quality icon libraries to check out for your next project:
Hericons consists of 230 free, MIT Licensed icons available as SVG icons and via first-party React and Vue libraries in bith outline-style and solid style designs.
Iconduck seeks to make open-source icons and illustrations more accessible. The collection includes 118,894 free icons and illustrations with no email required.
Remix Icon is a set of open-source neutral-style system symbols elaborately crafted for designers and developers. All of the icons are free for both personal and commercial use.
Shapefest is a massive library of 160,000+ free 3D shapes available to download as 512x512px transparent PNGs. Larger versions are available for a small fee.
Sensa Emoji is a high-quality, vector, dev-friendly collection of 300+ emoji in PNG, SVG, Sketch, and Figma formats, and of course, all cultures and skin tones.
Iconoir is one of the biggest open-source icon libraries with more than 1,000 SVG Icons. All free with no premium icons, no email sign-up, no newsletters.
Iconic is an icon collection with a semantic SVG markup structure that allows you to style icons down to the minute details with basic CSS. All icons come in three sizes and adjust to a viewer’s screen size.
Feather Icons is a collection of 286 open-source icons designed on a 24×24 grid with an emphasis on simplicity, consistency, and flexibility and the ability to customize the icon size and stoke width.
Bootstrap Icons is a free, MIT licensed, open-source icon library with over 1,300 icons. Use them as SVGs, SVG sprites, or Web fonts.
Drawicons is a collection of 100+ hand-drawn, vector icons that are editable and scalable and 100+ vectorized blob graphics.
Tabler Icons is a set of 1,420+ customizable, free SVG icons. Set the icon size, stroke width, and color, and click the icon to copy its code.
Kawaii Emoji from Streamline is a cute icon set of 1,300+ free vector emojis (link credit is required) inspired by the Japanese Kawaii Style.
Animations is a source for beautifully designed animated gifs that can be colored, tinted, and tweaked to fit your style.
Potlab Icons provides simple, clean, free, open-source, animated SVG icons. Search and click any icon to copy the SVG code.
System UIcons is a set of simple, consistent icons designed for systems and products. Use free without attribution.
Phosphor is a flexible icon family with 6,282 icons to customize for interfaces, diagrams, presentations, and more.
Icon Shock offers a wide variety of icons that are free for personal use. Upgrade to premium and gain lifetime access to 2M+ icons and commercial use license.
Iconshock also has a free pack of interactive SVG icons for gradient lovers. Choose a gradient or set your own colors and download the icons or copy the CSS.
Mono Icons is a simple, consistent, open-source set of 177 MIT licensed icons designed to be used by designers and developers in a wide variety of digital products.
Ionicons is an open source, MIT licensed icon library with 1,300 icons designed for use in web, iOS, Android, and desktop apps, with support for SVG and Web font formats.
Eva Icons is a pack of 480+ beautiful open-source icons. Choose outline or fill style, choose the icon animation effect, then download the SVG or PNG.
The Icon Of is a collection of 1,100+ pixel-perfect icons. Purchase the collection or use select icons for free. Figma user? There’s a plugin for that.
Font Awesome is an icon library and toolkit with 1,500+ free icons and a Pro plan with nearly 8,000 premium icons, styles, kits, and human tech support.
Icons8 offers a small, open-source icon collection you can download for free. Most icons, however, require a paid monthly subscription.
Flaticon is a large database of free icons available in PNG, SVG, EPS, PSD, and BASE 64 formats and 4,000+ free stickers for WhatsApp, Instagram, and Facebook available as PNGs and SVGs.
Streamline requires a premium subscription. It includes 100,000 icons, illustrations and emoji to be used in applications and websites. Browse, modify and download PNGs, SVGs, and PDFs.
Iconmonstr offers 4,500+ free icons organized in 316 thematic collections. All icons are free for commercial use, available in outline or solid formats, and available in SVG, EPS, PSD and PNG formats.
Podcast Font is a collection of podcast-specific icons and glyphs. Grab the font and CSS for your website or download the full Podcast Font Package to install and use the podcast icons on your local machine.
SVG Repo is an icon repository with 300,000+ free SVG icons and vectors sorted in themed collections and available for commercial use. Search by icon style and customize icon appearance in browser.
The Fontisto Iconic font and CSS toolkit gives you 600+ scalable vector icons that can instantly be customized by size, color, shadow, and anything that can be done with the power of CSS.
Orion is a highly-flexible library of 6,000+ vector SVG icons available in line, solid, color, and flat icon styles. Attribution and a linkback is required without a Pro subscription.
Twemoji is Twitter’s open-source emoji library that features 3,245 free emojis. Grab all emojis as PNGs or vector SVG artwork and use them for any commercial or personal project.
Iconify is an icon generator that turns any image you upload into a custom set of app icons for everything from iOS and Android to React to Quasar, and even custom sizes.
IconKitchen is an app icon generator that gives you the ability to create your own custom app icons. Customize the color, icon style, padding, shape, texture, and more.
The free Google Material Icons, based on the Material Design principles, are available in five styles and a range of sizes and densities, including a plugin for Figma.
Simple Icons provides 2,150+ free SVG icons representing popular brands. Sort brand names by alphabetical order or brand color, view icons in light or dark mode, and download icons in SVG or PDF format.
Ikonate is an adaptable set of accessible SVG icons. Customize the stroke weight, size, corner style, and color, view in dark or light mode, and download the icons as images, inline SVGs, or SVG sprites.
The 1,500+ SVG and PNG Glyph Neue icons are free to use as long as link attribution to creator Icons8 is placed on the finished page.
Evericons is a collection of 460+ well-crafted icons for your next project. It’s free for personal and commercial usage. Main 420 icons are designed on a 24×24 grid, and additional 50 icons are designed on 16×16.
Zondicons is a set of free, premium, scalable, legible SVG icons that were designed with a geometric approach and consistent proportions to ensure crisp edges and smooth corners on all platforms and browsers.
Snoweb SVG is a database of optimized SVG icons with subtle animated hover states and built-in HTML and CSS. Social media brand icons are included.
Unicode Arrows is a website dedicated to the variety of Unicode arrow symbols. View symbols and buy jewelry, t-shirts, and prints featuring the glyphs.
IconStore provides professionally designed icons that are free to use personally and commercially without attribution.
Health Icons serves up more than 1,100 free, open-source medical and health-related icons in filled and outline styles.
Atomicons is a customizable icon library. Adjust the stoke width, radius, corner style, and terminus; choose one-color or duotone; set the stoke color, fill color, and fill opacity; and download the SVGs.
Iconscout is a collection of vector SVGs, vector icons, illustrations, 3D graphics, and Lottie animations. Most items require a fee. Sign up for their email list to get one free asset each day.
Digital Nomad Starter Icon Pack is a collection of lifestyle icons you are free to use as long as you give credit back to its creator.
Tilda Icons provides 700+ free SVG icons organized into 47 sets for landing page design. Use requires an attribution link to the source.
Lineicons offers 5,000+ free line icons organized into 40+ different categories. Select, view, edit, and download the SVG.
Boxicons is a collection of 1,500+ simple open-source icons that follow the official Google Material Design guidelines.
Stock Illustration Libraries
Sometimes you need to visually depict a message but a stock photo isn’t quite right and an icon is too simplistic. Sometimes you need an illustration — clean, crisp, lightweight, scalable vector artwork that communicates a specific message.
The thing is, many start-ups and small businesses can’t afford to hire an illustrator to create a collection of custom illustrations to represent their brands.
That’s where stock illustrations come into play — and luckily, there are several resources to not only get free stock illustrations for your graphic design, website design, and app design projects but also customize them to fit your brand colors and visual style.
Check out these stock illustration resources:
Artify Illustrations is a Figma plugin that provides access to more than 5,000 SVG and PNG illustrations in a variety of styles, directly within Figma. Use the built-in search feature to find just the right illustration.
Big Heads is a library that generates character avatars. You can change everything from hair color and style to skin tone and expression to clothing and accessories to fit your needs and download the SVG.
Skribbl is a collection of freely-usable, black and white, casual and fun, hand-drawn illustrations brought to you by a global community of aspiring creatives.
Free Userpics Pack provides 100 free vector avatars for commercial use. Avatars are created in various styles, in circle and square formats, and as SVGs and PNGs.
OpenDoodles is a free set of open-source illustrations. View solo, in compositions, in a page mockup, and change the color.
unDraw provides free, open-source, SVG illustrations that do not require attribution and tools to customize the image color.
DrawKit is a library of free and premium illustration packs and icon sets that is updated weekly. Choose by theme, style, and more.
ManyPixels provides 2,500+ royalty-free illustrations in PNG an SVG formats, with new illustrations added every week.
Illustation by Themeisle is a collection of free illustrations that can be used in commercial projects without attribution.
Vector Characters provides vector illustration collections of people, mascots, and superheroes in a variety of styles.
Handz is an illustration library of more than 320 free, 3D hand gestures and a premium upgrades to get more than 1,200 combinations.
While Absurd Illustrations make sense, they let you take every user on an individual journey through their own imagination.
Disabled And Here: A disability-led effort to provide free and inclusive images with photos and illustrations celebrating disabled Black, Indigenous, people of color (BIPOC).
humaaans is a library of illustrations of people. Free to use for commercial or personal use under the CC0 license. Change hairdos, tops, pants, rotate and position body elements, and more.
The Greats is a collection of free illustrations that touch upon important social issues. All artwork is given freely by great artists for use by anyone on a mission to change the world.
Pixel True: 500+ free illustrations and animations that are free to use for personal and commercial use without attribution. Premium illustrations available through annual and lifetime subscriptions.
Black Illustrations is a library of beautiful, professionally designed, free and paid illustrations of black people for your next digital project.
Fresh Folk is a free illustration library of people and objects to mix and match. Choose from varying poses, outfits, skin tones, scenes, and more.
Illlustrations is a open-source illustration kit with 120+ vector illustrations that are free to use in a variety of formats personal and commercial projects.
Smash Illustrations is a tool for creating unique, customized illustrations with colorful and trendy characters that are free for commercial or personal use.
Isometric is a library of beautiful, free, isometric SVG illustrations you can use on personal and commercial projects.
Sapiens is a browser-based library of modular, component-based, customizable character illustrations that are free to use.
404 Illustrations is a collection of images that are perfect for a fun 404 page design. Even better? The sites provides suggested copy to accompany the illustrations!
Open Peeps is a free, hand-drawn illustration library that lets you mix and match vector elements like arms, legs, clothing, hairstyles, poses, and emotions to create different Peeps.
Blush is a tool for creating and customizing illustrations. Pick a collection or style, play with variations until it’s right, and download a PNG or SVG.
That’s It! My Collection Of Icon Libraries And Illustration Collections
I hope you enjoyed browsing through this collection of icon sets and illustration sets. I also hope you found some new icon and illustration resources for your next graphic design or web design project. I look forward to updating this collection as I find new sources of beautiful icon design and cool illustrations.
As a designer and mentor for micro agency owners and freelance designers and developers, I was saving all of these resources in a spreadsheet for reference but then I realized that if these tools are helpful for me, they’ll probably be helpful for you too! So now, instead of storing my tool lists in a digital black hole, I’m publishing them on my site, in the Recommended Tools And Resources corner of my blog for easy reference!
While you’re here, check out my other recommended tool collections for designers and developers:
- Graphic Design And Website Design Tools For Professional And DIY Designers
- Tools For Working With Color, Building Gradients, And Ensuring Accessibility
- CSS Tools And Code Generators To Speed Up The Web Development Process
- Stock Photography And Diverse Image Collections For Visual Design
- Stock Video Clip And Audio Track Resources For Content Creators
- Background Pattern Generators And Design Pattern Resources
And of course, stay tuned for more posts like these!