Icons are uploaded in sets. This guide will tell all you need to know about how to create and name icon sets.

Design Quality

The icon market is very competitive. It seems that every day some young, hotshot designer is releasing a new icon set with thousands of beautiful icons. In many cases, these icons are even free. Customers have a lot of choices when it comes to icons so it is really important that your icons be very well-designed. Iconfinder also has an obligation to our customers (who are also your customers) and to our community of designers to be very picky about the icons we accept for sale in the marketplace. Because of the high volume and high quality of icons on the market, we have to reject more and more icons to make sure everything we present to site users is the highest quality. So please don't take it personally, but we are very picky. We have put together the following resources to help guide you with regards to the level of quality we are looking for. You can read more about designing high-quality, premium icons here: http://blog.iconfinder.com/better-icon-design-in-6-easy-steps/ and here: https://www.google.com/design/spec/style/icons.html#icons-system-icons/

No Logos, Trademarks, or Copyrighted Works

For legal reasons, we cannot sell icons that include company logos or trademarks such as those belonging to social media sites like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or common banking and payment logos such as Visa, MasterCard, and/or PayPal. This restriction also includes cartoon and gaming characters. There is some gray area as to what constitutes "fair use" but we are strong supporters of intellectual property rights and copyrights. We wouldn't want our copyrights violated, and we won't knowingly violate someone else's. The bottom line is, you can't sell someone else's intellectual property for personal profit. If you have an awesome set of social media icons, we'll be happy to include them in the marketplace as a free download, but we won't charge for them under any circumstances. If you find examples on our site where we are, we assure you it is an oversight and it will be corrected if you send us a link to the set.

No Copying Other Designers

This is an important issue for us, for designers (especially the ones who are regularly the victims of copying), and ultimately for customers. 

Imagine you spent 6 months doing research about which icons are most in demand. You did pages and pages of sketches, keyword research, developed your own style, then created the icons. You publish them and they are fairly successful. And then someone who has done none of the work described sees that you are selling well and so just copies your icons making his/hers only slightly different.

That wouldn't feel fair, right? So please, don't do it.

Not only is it unethical, but it's also bad for customers and your own sales. The best way to be successful as an icon designer is:

  1. Be ORIGINAL. 
  2. Be an expert on something. Pick a niche that you are excited about and become the best in that niche that there is.
  3. Create kick-ass designs.
  4. Have fun.

Inconsistent Design Style

When a web or app designer is evaluating an icon set, a major consideration is the consistency of the icons in the set. In other words, do they all match one another? Even if all of the individual icons are great, if the set is not consistent, chances are they will choose a different set that is.

Read more about icon set consistency here: https://app.intercom.io/a/apps/ak03zhw0/educate/articles/18155

You can learn more about designing consistent icon sets in our blog post: http://blog.iconfinder.com/better-icon-design-in-6-easy-steps/
Or by studying Google's Material Design Icons guide: https://material.io/icons/

Not Enough Variety, Too Repetitive

This is an important point. While customers can and do buy individual icons on Iconfinder, most of our sales come from subscribers who download multiple icons at a time. In most cases they are looking for entire icon sets that focus on a particular theme, such as say, Football. Think about this from the customer's perspective, who, in most cases on Iconfinder is a web designer or app interface designer. If you have an awesome set of 50 different footballs, your whole set is probably not going to be very useful to the customer. The customer might need 1-2 different footballs, but there are probably no instances where they would need 50 slightly-different footballs.

What they do probably need, however, is a set of 50 icons that depict different aspects of the game of football: boots, jerseys, flags, referees, goals, etc. The goal is to make your entire set appealing for a particular use. And the more useful your set is as a whole, the more likely customers are to buy the entire set. So instead of $1-2 for a single icon, you can enjoy sales of $5, 10, or more dollars to  a single customer who liked your whole set.

No Arbitrary Combos and Repitition

In most cases, we do not accept icons that arbitrarily combine unrelated icons such as location markers and random symbols. There are, however, exceptions to every rule and we mostly judge this one on a case-by-case basis. But be aware, we reject icons for this reason probably more than any other because what we often see is designers trying to simply inflate their number of icons without thinking much about the possible uses and value added for the customers.

We don't suggest necessarily shying away from sets of something like location markers, but follow a few basic rules:

  1. Do no take two icons that are the same size, shrink one of them down, and call it a new icon. The scale of the lines and shapes will be obviously different and we will reject it, no exceptions, for poor design quality.
  2. Do not combine elements that have no meaning. If you are going to create high-quality "combo" icons, make sure the symbols that are put together actually say something meaningful and will have a likely use.
  3. Don't create icons just for the sake of having more icons. They need to be useful and serve a purpose. Having a lot of icons isn't helpful to anyone if nobody buys them. They simply clutter up the search results and make it harder for customers to find what they need which decreases the chances of them buying anything (or coming back to the site).
  4. Be a sticker for high quality and consistency.

Too Many Variations

We are trying to minimize duplicate icons with only minor stylistic differences such as background shapes and/or colors. You can submit one version per design style. For instance, 1 glyph, 1 line, 1 flat, 1 3D, etc. Submitting duplicate designs with only the colors changed, or placed in or on a circle (or other shape) is not allowed. You can read more about this issue in the Icon Set Variations section here: http://support.iconfinder.com/contributor-s-handbook/icon-set-variations

Keyword Over-Saturation

In some cases we might reject a perfectly well-design icon set because we simply have too many icons in that category already. A great example of this is country flags. We have thousands and thousands of country flags in every possible configuration. We honestly do not need more flags. There are certain categories of icons that every icon designer thinks they have to have in their collection. The problem is, every other designer had this same thought and now we have way too many icons that are almost all the same. The result is, very few people make any sales when this happens. The irony is that this often happens in categories where there are not a lot of sales to begin with. A great example is "Weather" icons. Every designer makes a set of weather icons but the truth is, they don't really sell all that well because there aren't a lot of people building weather apps and web sites. There are some, but not many. 

The point is we try to tailor our marketplace to serve what customers want and need. The best policy when choosing icon sets to create is to find a category that has medium to high demand, but not much supply.

Too Few Icons

We require at least 10 icons for each submission to be considered for inclusion in the marketplace. We may, in some circumstances, and at our discretion, accept sets with fewer than 10 icons but for the most part, we are sticklers for this rule. Sure, you will find some sets on the site from some years back with fewer icons, but make your sets 10 icons, and you'll be fine.

Too Many Icons

In the same way that we require a minimum number of icons in icon sets, we also allow no more than 250 icons per icon set - and we are real sticklers on this limit. We recently raised the limit from 100 to 250 icons to make life easier for designers uploading thousands of icons, but we decided that in doing so we will enforce this rule to the letter. 251 icons in your set? Sorry, you'll have to split it into two sets. We won't approve it with 251 icons. 

Why the limit? We're glad you asked. We do this to keep the value of icons high and to keep the marketplace competitive and fair. We want Iconfinder to be a resource of the best quality icons available anywhere. Allowing designers to submit a single set of say, 2,000 icons priced at $5 drives down the price of icons and makes it extremely hard for icon designers to make a living. 

Ideal Icon set Size

The ideal icon set size is between 30 and 50 icons. This is large enough to offer the customer ample icons around a single topic, but small enough to not devalue icons and give the store away for free, as it were.

White Fill Error

A common error we see when reviewing icons is line or glyph icons that have a shape filled with white that clearly should be transparent. This is usually just an oversight by the designer. Be sure to review your icons on a dark background to make sure they appear exactly as you intend.

No Silhouettes

We are looking for graphics that are "iconic" in nature. By "iconic" we mean simplified, idealized, and/or stylized images that represent an action, object, or idea. We do not accept artwork that is simply a literal silhouette of an object without creative interpretation. 

No Letterforms/Numbers/Fonts

We do not accept artwork that is simply a collection of letters, numbers, or keyboard characters. Read more about this topic under "Icons Vs. illustrations" here: http://support.iconfinder.com/contributor-s-handbook

Colours Inconsistent

Colours are inconsistent. Try to avoid using too many different colours. You can read more about that here: http://support.iconfinder.com/contributor-s-handbook/colors

Unique, Memorable Set Names

Your icon sets are not just a collection of symbols. They are a digital product and that product has a brand. Make it a memorable and unique brand by giving your sets easy-to-understand an easy-to-remember names. Also, if you have multiple sets of say, Football icons, make the names distinguishable from one another by adding - Vol. 1, Vol. 2, etc. How you differentiate the names is up to you but make them different and don't just name them all "Football".

Good

Flat christmas
Christmas elements
Merricons
Christmas accessories 

Bad (generic)

Circle icons
Flat icon set
Flat style icons
6 Rounded icons

Avoid names like “Flat icons”. This name describes a general style and this name will be chosen by many icon designers. Try to come up with unique names likes “Picons”, “Linecons” or “Cosmo”. Icon set name should not end in "icons" or "icon set" Do not include “Icons” or “Icon set” at the end of the name. We don’t believe this is important information and is considered unnecessary information in this context.

"Icons" Not Allowed in Set Names

We do not allow the words "icons" or "icon set" in icon set names. Sorry, but these words are reserved for our use only.

No Numbers in Set Names

Do not include the number of icons in your icon set names. You may create your awesome Football set to have only 20 icons to start with, but you will likely find that you want to add more icons later. It's better to just leave the icon count out of the set names.

Set Name Capitalization

Please do not use all caps or all lowercase in set names. Set names should use normal capitalization (first letter capitalized, other letters in the word lowercase). For example, if you have a set named "Business Concepts", do not use "BUSINESS CONCEPTS" or "business concepts" (and please no "BuSiNeSs CoNcEpTs").

Raster Image Sizes

We have said it a few times now but it bears repeating: The icon industry has evolved beyond raster (PNG) icons. Since the major web browsers have good support for SVG, nobody is buying PNG icons any more. There are exceptions, such as highly realistic 3D icons that require alpha channels, but this style doesn't sell well any longer (but it will likely come back around some day). The best bet is to only submit SVG icons.

If you absolutely must upload PNG icons, however, they must be no smaller than 256 x 256 pixels.

Read more about image sizes here: https://app.intercom.io/a/apps/ak03zhw0/educate/articles/18156

Fit Icons to Artboard

Vector icons must fit within the art board. If the artboard is too large compared to the icon, the thumbnails will appear to small to be seen. If your icons extend beyond the edge of the artboard they will be cropped. Also, your artboards must be perfectly square. If the artboards are not square, our system will not be able to process them.

Read more about artboards here: https://app.intercom.io/a/apps/ak03zhw0/educate/articles/18162

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