Searching for that perfect icon for your design can be monotonous, browsing through the multitude of icon sites (my last icon article: Top 25 Free Icon Resources for Web Designers) can take hours, wasting good productive time. Thankfully a solution has presented itself with Icon Search Engines. This is a new idea that has sprung up over the past year or so.
For the people out there who don’t know what an Icon Search Engines is, here is a very simple description: Type in the keyword in the search box and you are
presented with a number of results.
1. Iconfinder (http://www.iconfinder.net/)
Iconfinder is probably the most popular engine, and rightly at nu.1. You have the choice of using the search box or browsing a search cloud, which I find interesting, and would be interesting to all you icon designers out there, to find out exactly what everyone’s needs are.
All icons are in .png format and are protected by the following licenses: Creative Commons, GPL or LGPL. So make sure you are familiar with each license before usage.
2. Iconlet (http://www.iconlet.com/)
Before downloading an icon from Iconlet it gives you a lot of information about each individual icon, resolution, authors info (rightly so), image format and license type. This site works the same as Iconfinder, a simple search box, but sadly relegated to nu.2 because of its lack of Tag Cloud.
3. SearchIcon (http://www.searchicon.net)
On the front page of this site it proudly shows the amount of icons in there database, currently at over 61,000. Which is pretty impressive. No tag cloud here either, but it does have an ‘advanced search‘ link, were you can select size and format (either gif or png).
4. Icon DB (http://www.challenger.se/)
To be honest I had never heard of this site before researching for this article. Boy, was I impressed. For starters it is not just an icon search engine, it also offers excellent info on Ajax. The site is powered by Ajax, and the effect is excellent, every page loads very quickly, and compared to all the other engines the web design is stylish.
Click on the IconDB button on the right sidebar, and search for the icon. The results appear very quickly, and the quality of the icons are excellent. It has a handy slider at the top of each result page to help you scroll through the rest of the results. If this site was a standalone Icon Search Engine, I think I would have made it Nu.1. I don’t think there is any chance of that: from IconDB: