If you’re not using icons on your website, you’re losing people’s attention – and subsequently leads and customers. There’s no excuse not to use them because there are so many places to get free icons and so many varieties.
Why Use Icons?
You may already have text and images on your website and think that’s engaging enough, but it’s not. Why do you need icons?
Because they’re widely used in apps, and people are familiar with apps. That’s how icons can be beneficial for your website.
Icons help to communicate actions or information quickly. Most people only spend a few seconds on your website skimming, and they make a decision whether to stay or leave.
If they can quickly understand what your site is about and what to do next, it’ll improve their time on your site.
Where to Use Icons?
The most common use for icons is to compliment listing things out, such as features, benefits, services, or some other list.
When your website is viewed on mobile devices, icons become essential for navigation and quick actions, such as menu, account or checkout.
It’s important that your icons are easy to recognize, unique to your site, and consistent in design. Here are some of my favorite places to find icons.
Free Sources for Image Icons
Image icons are standard image files such as PNG or SVG.
Flaticon is an ever-expanding icon database with 4.5 million icons, most of them free and some paid. They include filters for single color and multi color, with the ability to change the icon to whatever color you want and download. You can also add icons to a collection to download at once, which is helpful for finding icons of a similar style.
Icons8 has over 170,000 free icons that are grouped into useful categories by style or theme, though you can search as well. What makes this unique is that you have a much higher level of editing for icons, including changing color, applying special graphic effects, or adding text.
FlatIcons offers 2,500 free icons broken up into different categories. What’s unique about FlatIcons is that they let you place a filled or outlined container around your icon, and let you choose separate icon and container colors. It can really help make your icons consistent and unique to your brand.
IconFinder has over a million icons available, though it’s a mix of free and paid. There is a good selection of free icons, while the paid ones are fairly inexpensive. IconFinder has a wider range of icon styles from flat to sketches to photo-realistic, though it lacks the ability for you to change the color of your icon.
Free Sources for Font Icons
If you know a little bit of code or work with a web designer, font icons are great to use. They’re flat icons, but displayed as its own font. That means they load faster because you’re not uploading an image file. Another advantage is you can change their color and size in the code, without having to upload a new file.
Font Awesome is one of the more popular ones. They currently have almost 8,000 free icons, and are adding more on a regular basis. What’s great about Font Awesome is that they host the code for you, so you or your web designer just needs to link directly to it without uploading a font file.
IcoMoon has packs of icons. They have some paid ones, but the free pack has 490 icons. You actually download both a font file and image files, so you can use either method.
Ionicons has about 700 icons that are clean and beautiful. They are completely free, and hosts the font code for you to link to, but you can also download and upload to your own site as well.
Using Free Icons with Other Tools
You can put together a great brand when you have everything working together, including your fonts, colors and images. Though a good web designer can help you really pull everything together, you can get a decent start on your own with these free resources. They’re actually the very same resources I use when designing websites for clients.
Here are are some other articles to help you put together a strong brand design:
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