10 Big Sets of Free Icons for Web and Application Designers

March 8th, 2013

emoticon-happy-128If you’re designing software applications, you need icons. Lots of icons.

You could buy an icon set or commission to have your own icons custom made but, if you’re just getting started on a design project, chances are you don’t actually know what you need yet.

At least, not until you’ve explored the application design a little more and developed the requirements.

That’s where a good set of free icons can come in very handy.

(Big smiley face icon courtesy of GraphicsFuel)

Big Sets

Many free icon sets are high enough quality to use in production. But, whether or not you use the free icons in your final application, having a large set of icons at your disposal will prevent you from stalling in your design project and get you to your deliverables faster.

You can mix and match but when you have to find and combine icons from lots of different sets, you lose congruency in your design. That’s not so bad in the initial stages but can get distracting as the design progresses.

Hunting for Icons

To that end, I’ve been on the hunt for some good icon sets to use in our own projects, and to share with you. I thought it would be a simple task…

After many days of searching, I found hundreds of free icon sets. But there’s a reason this post only lists 10.

Rather than hit you with as many sets as I could find, I’ve chosen fewer, high quality icon sets containing a large number of icons, so you can maintain consistency throughout your project.

The images, below, are typically just a small fragment of the overall set to give you an idea of the icon styling in the sets.

Important:
In most cases, these icon sets are free to use for personal or commercial projects. Some may need attribution. None may be re-sold or re-distributed. Please make sure you read the terms and conditions or license file for each set before use.

Using icon sets in GUI Design Studio

GUI Design Studio lets you incorporate icon images of practically any type into your mock-ups and prototypes, and can scale them to any size. You can also choose to display them all in monochrome to minimize distractions.

For details on how to incorporate these icon sets into GUI Design Studio, please take a look at these Forum Articles:

Now, on to the icon sets themselves…

1. Farm-Fresh Web Icons

Provided by: FatCow Web Hosting
Created: 2010 – 2012
Format: PNG
Sizes: 32 x 32
16 x 16
Quantity: 3000+ (of each size)
Ideal for: Web, Apps

An incredible set of beautiful, well-crafted icons to cover a huge variety of applications. In two sizes, perfect for ribbon bar applications with buttons that need to adapt.

Farm-Fresh Web Icons

2. Addicted Flavour

Designed by: Oliver Twardowski
Created: 2010
Formats: PNG, PSD
Size: 48 x 48
Quantity: 750
Ideal for: Web

A very nice set of bright but smart looking icons for a broad set of applications, including keys, lots of social media icons and round-styled flags.

Addicted Flavour Icons

3. Silk

Designed by: Mark James
Created: 2006
Format: PNG
Size: 16 x 16
Quantity: 1000
Ideal for: web, Apps

A fantastic assortment of high quality, consistent icons. Small sized icons, this popular set has been around for a while and has stood the test of time.

Silk Icons

4. Flags

Designed by: Mark James
Created: 2005
Formats: PNG, GIF
Size: 16 x 11
Quantity: 247
Ideal for: Web, Apps

All the flags you’ll ever need (probably). A complementary set to Silk. Small but very useful.

Flags Icons

5. WooFunction Web

Designed by: Liam McKay
Created: 2009
Format: PNG
Sizes: 32 x 32 (159)
16 x 16 (19)
Quantity: 178
Ideal for: Web, Apps

A nicely themed icon set that will blend well with many other icon sets.

WooFunction Web Icons

6. gCons

Designed by: Sarfraz Shoukat
Created: 2010
Formats: PNG, JPG, GIF, PSD
Size: 32 x 32
Quantity: 100 (in each of 12 colours)
Ideal for: Web, Mobile

An interesting collection of flat icons in various colours that are ideal for mobile projects or prototyping where colour can be a distraction.

gCons Icons

7. Token

Designed by: Evan
Created: 2009
Formats: PNG, ICO
Sizes: 128 x 128 (PNG)
256 x 256 (ICO)
32 x 32 (ICO)
16 x 16 (ICO)
Quantity: 128
Ideal for: Mobile

A good collection of flat icons in light and dark shades for mobile projects.

Token Icons

8. Payment Method Set Vol 1

Designed by: (Pixeden)
Created: 2011
Format: PNG
Size: 64 x 64
Quantity: 21
Ideal for: Web e-commerce

A very nice collection containing some of the most common payment options. Of all the payment icon sets available, this one stood out.

Payment Method Set Vol 1 Icons

9. Social Media Icons

Designed by: Nick (Elegant Themes)
Created: 2010
Formats: PNG, PSD
Size: 64 x 64
Quantity: 42
Ideal for: Web sites, Blogs, Apps

While other sets contain social media icons, this is a beautiful set that work really well together, with a large selection available. You’ll probably want to make smaller versions, though.

Social Media Icons

10. Medical Icons

Designed by: (Centigrade)
Created: 2010
Format: PNG
Sizes: 128 x 128 (14)
32 x 32 (46)
Quantity: 60
Ideal for: Healthcare applications

While not a huge set, it’s good to see a carefully designed icon set for a specialist area like healthcare.

Medical Icons Icons

Share and Comment

Having filtered through over 100 icon sets, I’ve got a few more waiting in the wings that deserve to be shared in another post.

Share this article to spread the word about these fantastic icon sets.

Leave a comment if you’ve found this list useful or if you know of other, high quality, free icon sets you think we should mention.

 

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