Flat, simple icons for interface design

Here’s a bit of backstory on why I began hunting for icons, and a few thoughts about icon design in general. If you don’t care about that, skip to the roundup.

A few weeks back, a client remarked that they didn’t like the folder icon used in a project. At first I thought nothing of changing it. I own about a bajillion icons, and how hard could it be to find or design a folder icon?

As it turns out, finding quality, versatile icons is pretty hard, and designing my own is a nightmare. I should have known it wouldn’t be easy to whip up the perfect icon, having witnessed how Dan slaved over his Ballroom icons back in the day.

So, after scouring CandyBar for an hour and coming up short, I did what any modern girl does when confronted with a problem. I tweeted about it.

As usual, Twitter saved the day. I was reminded of a handful of old classics, and introduced to a number of new, gorgeous icon sets. I promised myself and the internet that I’d do a roundup of these icons. I then proceeded to promptly set the task aside and forget about it.

These icons would’ve remained buried in Simplenote, if not for Studiomate and all-around-fantastic-designer Mike Fortress, who sent me a nudge. (Thanks, Mike!) (Also, you should go buy his gorgeous slab-serif font, Deming.)

I usually can’t stand roundup posts (“Top 45 websites using green and yellow!” “Top 30 websites by people with vaginas!”). However, I’m hoping this post will actually help interface designers build a better toolbox, and will also give some much deserved business to the tireless icon designers of the world.

I can’t overstate the value of a good flat, sharp, detailed icon. You can style it any way you please, use it in a variety of projects, and communicate difficult interface concepts in a 16 pixel space. Considering the incredible amount of work that goes into designing each icon, and the quality exhibited below, these sets are scandalously low priced. So get ready to do some serious tax-deductible shopping.

Geomicons

Picons

  • $19 – $42, free social pack
  • Mix of outline and solid, elegant, good range
  • 300 icons
  • AI, PDF, EPS, CSH, PNG’s, and PSD
  • Made by Morphix: Twitter, Dribbble

Symbolicons

Bixel

Tabs

Gentleface

Iconic

  • Free
  • Blocky, thick, classic
  • 136 icons
  • PNG, SVG, OFT/TTF/EOT, Omnigraffle
  • Made by PJ Onori: Twitter

Glyphish

IconSweets

  • Donation
  • Detailed, crisp, lovely
  • 60 icons
  • PSD 32×32 and 16×16
  • Made by Yummy Gum: Twitter

IconSweets2

  • Donation
  • Detailed, crisp, lovely
  • 292 icons in 16×16, 400+ in 32×32 and 64×64,
  • PSD
  • Made by Yummy Gum: Twitter

Glyphicons

Pictos

  • $19 – $240
  • Versatile, simple, sharp
  • Loads of icons (couldn’t find exact count)
  • PNG, Font
  • Made by Drew Wilson: Twitter, Dribbble

The Noun Project

Chameleon

Gcons

  • Free
  • Detailed, versatile
  • 100 icons
  • PSD, PNG, GIF, JPG
  • Made by Greepit: Twitter

Pixelated

Eddit iPhone UI

Simplicity

Tipogram

Picas

  • $10 – $25, free social icons and sample pack
  • Simple, classic, versatile
  • 250 icons
  • vector
  • Made by Rok Benedik: Twitter, Dribbble

Helveticons

  • $259 – $439, free desktop and social icon sets
  • Flat, simple
  • 479 icons
  • PNG, PDF, EPS, GS, PSD, AI, CHS
  • Made by Goodbye Horses

Roam Design

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