Software developers be it developing web application or desktop application will always end up in spending unproductive time searching for the right icon to jazz up the application. The icons display in a software often provide a important role in implanting a first good impression of the software in use. Hence, it is crucial that developer know where to source for high-quality icons in the first place.
However, sourcing for icons is not a straight forward activity if cost and flexibility are taken into consideration. Aside from looking out for beautifully-crafted icons, the developers have to decide whether to source the icon commercially or use the free open-source LGPL icon pack in their free or commercial software.
Purchasing icons give the developers the right not only to use but also create derivative work through modifying the original icon and distribute it royalty free in their application. On the other hand, LGPL gives the developer the freedom to use but with the need to re-contribute back the modified icon. Hence, it is astute for the developers to decide the type of license and flexibility they need before sourcing the icons in order to alleviate the cost of time and money involved.
One of the challenging tasks is to find professional-designed icon package that meet a board range of uses. That to say, searching for the icons is a time-consuming activity.
For commercial icons, the user are overwhelmed with wide choice with different cost packages separated into different categories like business, art that developers end up paying more because few icons they needed often residing in diverse packages that has to be purchase individually. Indeed it is overkill and offer little value of money especially those package usually only consists of very few useful suitable icons. Even though the cost of package seems affordable, it will quickly add up if several packages are purchased, especially each tend to cost no less than US$99.
Despite many sites offers free icons, majority of them end up in disappointment as the icons found in them are created more for ‘fun’ factor than for use in professional software. These are compound by serious lack of well-designed LGPL icons that are designed by professional. Rather LGPL icons, on the whole, tend to commonly created by amateurs and hobbyists that offer a very limited choice of icons, if they are at all functional. Which to say that those free professional-created icons by professional delivered as full set of icons, rather than just paltry of six or five icons, are extremely hard to find.
Through somewhat studious Internet search for icons that can be used in own software, I discovered two outstanding professional-created icon solutions, one commercial and the other, LGPL, that offers plethora range of icons streamlined into one convenient package that meet the diverse range of applications.
Nuvola, the LGPL icons http://www.icon-king.com
The Nuvola icon package license under LGPL license is created and generously contributed by the talented 27 years old David Vignoni who now works and design icons for , the popular universal Web 2.0instant messaging site (Now am I surprise that Meebo look cool and funky ?).
Nuvola’s collection of icons although design specially for KDE, a graphical environment for Linux, is more than versatile enough to be used for general application. The contribution of icons by David through LGPL easily rivaled the quality and quantity of those found commercially.
The Full icons
These amazing myriad of icons available only in PNG format come in different sizes and surprisingly everything is available in a download-friendly size of zip file that less than 13mb ! Talking about kitchen sink !
The following are the previews of all the icons available in the collection. Are you not impressed ? If so, download it and start creating the professional look of your application without burning your pocket ! It’s just a click away at
(Note that some icons are duplicated in preview list because this is a consolidated list that span across different icon directories akin to functional type eg apps, devices.)
Commerical Icons from glyphlab, http://www.glyphlab.com
Delivered and available solely as a single package of 620 different icons, glyphlab brings together a excellent range of professional-designed icons that highly cost-effective at US$199, and which is a bargain consider that it is designed specially to satisfy most general need of application. Indeed, it may be all it ever need for most software developers. The license allows the users to modify the icon to their heart content and distribute them in their application royalty free without restriction as indicated by the following license agreement:
You will be granted a non-exclusive license to display the graphical media royalty-free in any personal or commercial software applications, web design, presentations, and multimedia projects that you create and/or distribute.
The icons are available in gif, ico and png format, and comes in popular sizes. The icon catalogue can be downloaded at http://www.glyphlab.com/stock_icons/glyph_lab_stock_icons.pdf
Developing functional software represents one part of the equation. Delivering a presentable-looking software is another important part that will improve usability and ‘user-friendliness’ of the system. I hope the comprehensive icons from the two compelling solutions will aid the software developers to offload some effort in delivering a beautiful, pleasant software.