Creating professional-looking graphics becomes easier and easier. What was only possible a few years ago for persistent Photoshop or Gimp users can now be done easily in Canva, which takes only a moment to learn. The world and the web do not stop and keep providing us with even more accessible tools that allow us to prepare graphics for social media or an illustrated presentation. Icons, or vector graphics, which usually are the base of such visual materials, are available for free (under free licenses, which you can read about in this article). Where to get them and what tools to use to get even more out of them than in popular graphic editors?
The Noun Project – free icons that change the world
In this list, it is by far the largest website with icons (and recently also photos) under Creative Commons licenses. Also, it probably has the largest number of extra features available to users who pay for a PRO account. The Noun Project has 3 million vector icons for every topic you can imagine. All of them are available under the CC Zero license (doesn’t require a signature) or CC BY (requiring only the author’s identification). If we agree to comply with the terms of the license, we may download, use and modify them for free.
With the PRO account (from $ 2.99 for an icon or $ 39.99 per year for an unlimited number of icons), we get the option to use them without attribution (i.e. tagging authors). In addition, we get access to customization tools that allow them to quickly adjust the icons to our needs. We can change the colors and outlines of characters without using additional graphics programs. With the help of applications and plugins for popular graphic programs such as Adobe and office packages like Google Docs and Microsoft PowerPoint, we can add icons to files without going to the website.
The Noun Project is also a business with a hint of social commitment. In addition to supporting creators who receive a share of the profits, The Noun organizes hackathons and promotes collections of icons on groups less represented in the media, e.g. women in atypical professions, people with disabilities, images of people of different religions and cultures.
Check and save to bookmarks The Noun Project
Blush Design – graphics that you can quickly redo
If you’ve been seeing more graphics with well-matched characters or simple cutscenes lately, chances are they were created with blush design. It is a simple tool for drawing illustrations based on a collection of ready-made graphics. We choose a specific subject, illustration or scene, and then adjust the colors, objects, faces, hairstyles, background elements, etc. Finally, we can download a medium size PNG image for free, in higher resolution for a fee (10 euro per month) or SVG vector files (such images can be further processed in Inkscape, InDesign, Sketch, or the popular Canva). A paid account also gives you access and the ability to use many more collections of drawings.
Check and save to bookmarks blush design
Hundreds of thousands of icons, patterns and photos available for free and hundreds more for a fee. This, in short, is how most websites with graphic materials already work. Vecteezy differs from them with convenient filters (licenses, graphics type), a panel (available after creating an account), in which we can save the graphics used, and an extensive graphic editor.
With the help of the editor (which works in Chrome or Opera), we can modify the icons and vectors, not only changing the colors of the elements, but also arranging them and changing their sizes (similar to Canva).
Check and save to bookmarks Vecteezy
Freeicons — free icons with no restrictions
This is one of the largest icon databases that authors from around the world make available for free. Icons are available in PNG bitmap and edited vector SVG formats (some also in EPS and PSD formats). The website’s own license allows for commercial use of icons on websites, in applications, publications or simply as illustrations.
In order to use the icon, you are required to provide the name of the author(s) and source: Freeicons, wherever they were used. To make searching for icons easier, we can also sort them into different graphic styles that suit us better, e.g. colored, with pattern, outline only.
Check and save to bookmarks Freeicons
Flaticon — free icons with no restrictions
3.5 million free icons and hundreds of thousands of kits available to users who pay for the PRO version – that’s the number of vector pictures, divided into thematic collections that can be found on the Flaticons website.
Here, too, we are dealing with the website’s own license, which allows for free use of icons, also for commercial purposes. After creating an account, we get access to an editor that allows us to change the colors of elements and backgrounds. A premium account that gives you access to more collections starts at € 10.00 per month.
Check and save to bookmarks Flaticon
Cover photo Tech Life, Karthik Srinivas.