Icons are uploaded in sets. This guide will tell all you need to know about how to create and name icon sets.
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 are 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 of the highest quality.
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 in our blogpost Better Icon Design in 6 Easy Steps and Google's Material design guide, as a start.
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. You are not allowed to sell someone else's intellectual property for personal profit.
Icons representing trademarked elements can be uploaded to Iconfinder, but must be offered for free. If you have an awesome set of social media icons, we'll be happy to include them in the marketplace as a free download.
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:
- Be ORIGINAL.
- Be an expert in something. Pick a niche that you are excited about and become the best in that niche.
- Create kick-ass designs.
- 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 Consistency of icon sets.
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.
Read more about Icon set variations.
No arbitrary combos and repetition
In most cases, we do not accept sets 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. Please be mindful about this, as we often reject icons for this reason. Think about the possible uses of the icons and the value added to the customers.
We don't suggest necessarily shying away from sets of something like location markers, but we recommend following a few basic rules:
- 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 for poor design quality, without exception.
- 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.
- 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).
- 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 article.
Keyword over-saturation (oversupply)
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 that 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 that 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.
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. Try to split the icons into two or more sets if you plan to upload more than 250 icons.
Why the limit? 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.
White fill error
A common error we see when reviewing icons is line or glyph icons that have a shape filled with white that should be transparent instead. 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.
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.
Try to avoid using too many different colours. Read more about Colors.
Unique and 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".
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”.
"Icons" or "Icon set" not allowed in set names
We do not allow the words "icons" or "icon set" in icon set names as this is considered unnecessary information in this context.
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 capitals 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 (it might 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 Sizes.
Fit icons to artboard
Vector icons must fit within the artboard. If the artboard is too large compared to the icon, the thumbnails will appear too 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.