Guidelines for illustrations

Frequently asked questions about illustrations

Martin LeBlanc avatar
Written by Martin LeBlanc
Updated over a week ago

You can now upload illustrations to Iconfinder and we are looking forward to seeing your beautiful work. You can upload them through our Upload flow as normally.

Here we gathered the basic information that you need to know before uploading illustrations to Iconfinder.

How are illustrations different from icons

Icons are stylised and simplified graphics whose aim is to capture the essence of an object or action (it zooms in). Often using geometrical shapes, a good icon can be understood by everyone in a few seconds. Icons work very well in small sizes and are often used as UI elements.

Examples of icons:

Illustrations are more artistic and elaborate graphics whose aim is to enchant and bring life into a situation or action. Often using organic shapes and strokes, illustrations can be metaphorical and open to interpretation. They need to be seen in larger sizes in order to be understood. They are often used in presentations, landing pages, error pages, or even printed on books.

To see what we understand as illustrations, please check our entire illustration collection.

To see what we consider as high-quality illustrations, please check this landing page.

How to upload illustrations

For now, you can use the same upload flow as for icons. After your submission is approved, our team will categorise them as illustrations.

Here are the basics that you need to follow before uploading illustrations.

  • We recommend an artboard size of 1000 px. If you’re choosing a smaller one, you can also start at 512 px.

  • Use unexpanded lines.

  • Upload in SVG format.

  • Use a transparent background.

  • There is no maximum file size, but we recommend 2–3 MB for best performance during upload.

  • We recommend pricing each illustration at $5 (or higher if it is of great quality and complexity).

  • Have a minimum of 10 illustrations per pack.

Pricing and earnings for illustrations

Illustrations are more elaborate and require more work. Therefore, they can be sold at a higher price than icons and will receive higher earnings from subscription downloads.

While icons are generally priced at $2-$3, we recommend pricing illustrations at a minimum of $5 each. However, the price depends on the illustration’s uniqueness and complexity.

Additionally, when illustrations are downloaded by subscribers, earnings are distributed differently than for icons. When it comes to illustrations, these will earn you 5 times more compared to icon downloads. So, illustration downloads are multiplied by a factor of 5 and icon downloads by a factor of 1.

General recommendations when drawing illustrations


Illustrations occupy an ample space on a website and are the main point of focus. This is why their design quality has to be high. We recommend spending time creating beautiful illustrations with attention to detail.

Example of an illustration with great attention to detail:

To get an idea about what we consider high-quality illustrations, check the families featured on the Illustration section.


Illustration packs and families that match each other are essential for a consistent design language when used on a website, onboarding flow, newsletter, etc.

An example of a consistent illustration pack:


Illustrations come in handy when designing websites for clients. When working with several clients, access to a variety of different drawing styles becomes key.

Easily editable

Illustrations should be easy to customise to make them match the customers’ brand or the right atmosphere. Try to keep a limited colour palette so that the colours can be easily edited when needed.

An example of an easy-to-recolour illustration:

Expect custom job requests

As mentioned above, being able to edit illustrations is very important for adapting them to customers’ own use cases. On many occasions, customers will reach out to you to ask for modifications or custom illustrations.

We recommend that you are quick to respond to customer messages.

Diversity & inclusion

Illustrations are primarily about people. Our recommendation is to stay open-minded about the type of people you include in your designs.

We recommend including people with:

  • Different skin colours.

    Examples of illustrations with different skin colours:

  • Different ages, with a particular focus on age-positive illustrations (portraying old age as a happy and dignified age instead of showing sickness and frailty).

    Example of an age-positive illustration:

  • Different religions, ethnicities, cultural groups.

    Example of an illustration including a diverse group of people:

  • Disabilities and impairments (blindness, deafness, hearing aids, etc.)

    Example of an illustration about deafness:

  • Different sexual orientations.

    Example of an illustration portraying a gay couple:

  • No gender stereotypes (especially around professions and roles at home and in society; avoid portraying only men in management jobs, for example).

    Examples of illustrations breaking gender and cultural stereotypes:

Offering free samples

Customers often want to try an illustration before they buy it. This is even more important if they are planning to buy a whole pack or family. This is why we recommend offering one pack for free in each illustration family.

What are illustrations used for

The most popular use cases for illustrations are placing on websites, adding to presentation slides, creating social media material, or adding to newsletters, followed by a tail of other uses too.

Chart of most common illustration uses according to the customers we surveyed:

  • Website uses include: landing pages, onboarding flows, login pages, error pages (specifically 404 pages), empty pages etc. Some customers need illustrations for client websites they are designing.

  • Presentations uses include: Power Point presentations, Keynote presentations, slide decks etc.

  • Social media uses mean creating visuals to share.

  • Newsletter uses mean embellishing emails that are sent regularly to customer segments.

Example of one of our newsletter emails that has been embellished with an illustration:

What are the criteria for choosing illustrations

When picking an illustration or a pack, the most frequently mentioned criteria is the relevance/message, the style, whether the illustration is easily adjustable, and its quality.

Chart of the most important criteria when choosing illustrations according to the customers we surveyed:

  • Relevance/Message means that the illustration has to closely represent the message that is being conveyed and to be easy to understand for customers, either literally or with the use of metaphors. In some instances, the illustration is required to work well with the text appearing next to it on the page.

  • Style refers to the way the illustration is drawn and what vibe or atmosphere it creates.

  • Easily adjustable means that the illustration can be edited, either by modifying its colours or shapes, or by adding or removing elements.

  • Quality/Resolution is about the illustrations being well-drawn and having attention to detail and a good resolution.

Example of an illustration creating a great landing page header:

For more information and quotes from customers, check out this blog post.

We look forward to seeing your illustration work on Iconfinder.

If you could not find answers in this article, please write to us at [email protected].

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