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Making unique icon, illustration and sticker packs

Cristian Bogdan Rosu avatar
Written by Cristian Bogdan Rosu
Updated over a week ago

Our Content Review team checks all the icons, stickers and illustrations uploaded to Iconfinder. For their decision, they follow a set of Criteria for approving content.

When approving content for Iconfinder, one of the things we look for is uniqueness. That a pack is unique means it has not been created with too much inspiration from other artwork. We value originality and we do not like to see icons, stickers and illustrations that simply copy other designer's work in terms of style, colors, themes etc.

All customers are looking for unique artwork that stand out. There are a lot of other factors at play when customers choose icons, stickers and illustrations for their projects (style, size, aesthetics etc.), but uniqueness is what will catch their attention. It is also what Iconfinder looks for when we feature packs on our homepage and what we promote. 

Creating original icons is important in icon design because it is a very competitive market. There are a lot of icon packs being uploaded every day, so it is a good idea to create something that stands out from the crowd and differentiate yourself.

For illustrations, uniqueness is also really important. This is because illustrations are mostly use to add character and atmosphere to websites, landing pages, branding material etc. Customers do not want to use illustrations that look like what everyone else is using. Find your own style and create truly individual and distinctive designs that stand out from the rest and have personality.

Examples of icon and illustration packs that are not unique

Below, you can see a few examples of icon packs that we see a lot of. There are way too many glyph business packs in a black and blue color combination and they are simply not interesting to look at. 

Here is another example of a typical outline that does not stand out.

When it comes to illustrations, here are a few examples of packs that do not stand out from the rest.

The two packs below does not have any strong style choices. The characters are anonymous and lack refinement. They definitely don't stand out.

Below are a few points and ideas that can make your packs stand out.

For icons: Style play

There are a few icon styles that have become the standard for all designers: glyph, outline, filled outline, flat, isometric etc. Even if there are a few standard styles, that does not mean that you should always play into just these presets. There are still new things to explore. Here are a few examples:

Here is a good example of a style play of outline and glyph elements.
Icons from Black pack by Sergei Kokota

Another example of combined outline, flat and filled outline design elements.
This pack also has a good color palette. Icons from Location Color by Elisabetta Calabritto

A fresh take on flat icons, avatars in this case, with a pixel-like shade twist.
Icons from Avatars by Lupislegi

For icons: Unique color combinations

Even if you stick to the classic styles, unique colors can make an icon pack shine apart from the regular pack. Using appealing colors can be a huge factor to boost the overall quality of a pack. A good choice of colors and attention to detail will always make a good combination. Read more about Colors.

This Icojam family of packs became quite popular and the colors chosen for it are one of the factors. Icons from Unigrid phantom - Biology by Icojam

Unique subject / category / theme

You can choose to tackle areas and subjects that nobody has done before. To get some idea what subject matter is not as populated, Iconfinder releases quarterly Icon designer reports, which contain search stats and numbers that can help you make a decision about this. 

Good glyph icons, subject is headache. Icons from Headache pack by Siwat V.

Unique outline icons, subject is trade wars. Icons from Trade wars pack by Siwat V.

Beautiful icons with good color choices and a very personal touch. Fantasy and Role-Play Game - Adventure Quest by Chanut is Industries 

For illustrations: Use playfulness and humour

Here, the cat character makes this pack more fun and can put a smile on everyone's face.

For illustrations: Use metaphors

Instead of depicting a concept literally, think of more creative ways in which it can be explained graphically.

The illustrations below are all metaphor and can be interpreted in different ways.

For both: Unique pack and family names

Try to be creative about packs/families names, a unique pack name can be very useful for search. Users will remember a unique name better than generic ones.

Some examples of unique family names are: "Scenarium", "Jumpicon", "Popicon". Customers can better remember these names than a generic name such as "Business flat". 

Read more about all of our Criteria for approving content.

Copyright infringement

If you get too much inspiration from other designers, it could become easy to fall into copying and copyright infringement. It is recommended that you make yourself familiar with our Policy towards copyright infringing material.

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