10 of the Best Places to Find Free Icons and Image Assets Online

Posted on March 14, 2015 by in Resources | 29 comments

10 of the Best Places to Find Free Icons and Image Assets Online

Like many creative types, I tend to get a bit giddy when I find art that inspires and captivates. However, as a web designer, I jump for joy when I stumble across websites and graphic design images that have been masterfully crafted (I’m a geek like that *wink*).

No matter what type of designer you are, you will probably agree with me when I say that for as much as we love designing, there are days when you just don’t have the time to create certain elements from scratch.

When we run into issues like that, we are left with one option: finding free design assets to work off of.

Thankfully, the web is not short on free image assets for people to find and use in their designs and many of those free options are just as amazing at the premium ones out there.

In this post, we have rounded up some of the best sites where you can go to find those free image assets and stock up on your design arsenal for those times when you just can’t create it from scratch.

A Word of Caution About Using “Free” Images

Free is great — no one will argue with that. However, even if an image or icon is free of cost, that doesn’t always mean that you can just claim it and use it as you wish.

Many times with free images such as the ones that will be listed, in order to use them for free, you have to give attribution to the creator. The Creative Commons license will define if, when and how to do so, so be sure to take note of that.

Now on to the good stuff!

Best Online Resources for Free Image and Design Assets

FlatIcon

Find free icons on flaticon

FlatIcon is an amazing online resource for finding the flat style icon you’re been searching for. With close to 70 thousand icons on their site, they have the largest database for free vector icons on the web. Not only do they have a ton of icons to choose from, but they also have a couple other really cool features that many are sure to love.

If you use Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, or After Effects, then you can use the free FontIcon plugin so that you can use and have direct access to all the icons in their database.

Another really cool feature is the fact that you can use all these fonts as web fonts via the font-face generator that is available on the site. This will allow you to download files that you would then upload to your site which will give you the ability to type icons instead of letters alone (my inner web designer is doing a happy jig about this).

The icons on FlatIcon come in the following formats and sizes:

  • Formats | SVG, EPS, PSD and PNG
  • Sizes | 16, 24, 32, 64, 128, 256 and 512

After you sign up you can create collections that you can save and come back to later. Most, if not all, the icons on FlatIcon come with the CC by 3.0 license which means that attribution to the author and a link to the license are required in order to use the image for free.

IconFinder

Find free icons on iconfinder

Unlike the above-mentioned site, IconFinder has a mix of both free and premium icons available on their site. To find free icons, simply enter a search term in the search bar to see what IconFinder generates. After that, you have the choice in the left hand menu to show only the free icons in that search term.

You also have the choice of pixel size up to 512 and you can change the background from transparent to gray, black or white.

Each icon or icon set comes with a different license for use. Some are absolutely free to use and no attribution is required, while others place different restrictions on what can and cannot be done with the images and may require attribution.

Either way, the site is an amazing resource for finding icons.

Iconmonstr

free icons on iconmonstr

Want to add another free icon resource to your designing arsenal? Then be sure to check out Iconmonstr. They don’t have as many icons as FlatIcon or IconFinder, but there are plenty of choices there still.

Simply enter your search term in the search bar, choose the icon you like, agree to the license terms and then download the icon in either PNG or SVG format.

Pixeden

free image assets on Pixeden

If you’re looking for some great and free image assets, then be sure to take a look at Pixeden. They have a few categories to choose from and a free section inside each section:

  • Print | You can find editable print templates including business cards, brochures, resumes and more.
  • Web | If you’re looking for some free web wire framing assets or things of that nature, then this is the section for you.
  • Icons | Yep, even these guys have some great free icons to choose from.
  • Vector | Why start from scratch when you can work off or with elements that have already been made? The free Vector graphics sections on Pixeden has some nice options that you can use in your designs.
  • Graphics | Looking for free textures, mock-ups, backgrounds, text effects, UI and Mobile app type graphics? Well, Pixeden has some great free options that could be exactly what you need for your next design project.

The site is always being updated with fresh products so it would be a good idea to bookmark the page and check back ever so often to see what else they’ve managed to add to their selection.

Subtle Patterns

Use subtlepatterns for subtle background images

There is power in subtly and sometimes, a softer touch to your design is what will set it apart from the rest. If you want to use a more subtle background but don’t want to hassle with designing one yourself or paying someone to do it for you, then Subtle Pattens — an online resource for free backgrounds — should be on your list of places to check out.

The site has hundreds of background patterns that take a softer approach that add a hint of texture to whatever you’re working on. They also have a PS Plugin that you can download, however, it’s a premium plugin so you’ll have to pay for it, but it’s not more than $15.

Freepik

find vector images on freepik

As the name would suggest, Freepik is an online resource that homes a ton of free images assets. You can search their database for free vector images, illustrations, icons, PSD files and photo and they are adding new sources every day.

Many of the images require some form of attribution, so be sure to check the license requirements too.

Premium Pixels

Find free image assets on PremiumPixel

Need free image assets?

Premium Pixels houses hundreds of free design resources that you can use to help jump start your designs. The site was started by Orman Clark, who started the site as a way to share his own designs and files with the world. Since then, the site has grown into quite the design supply haven.

There are tons of mockups, icons and PSD files stuffed inside the minimalistic style site so be sure to keep this one saved somewhere.

Web Designer Depot

Find free image assets on Web Designer Depot

Web Designer Depot has established itself as a great site for information about all things web design. Everything from coding CSS to WordPress and beyond, the site has a lot of information to offer anyone looking to learn something regarding web design.

Great content isn’t the only thing the site has to offer. There is an entire section on the site dedicated to offering free stuff and most of those freebies are assets that you can use for your designs. There is everything from mock-ups, vector files, icons, backgrounds and everything in between.

Graphic Burger

Get free image and design assets from Graphic Burger

Another amazing site for great design freebies is Graphic Burger. I recently stumbled across this bad boy and wondered how I didn’t know about it sooner.

They have a massive selection of both free and premium images assets and many of the things that I’ve found in the free area on this site, I haven’t been able to find on similar sites which is an added bonus in my opinion.

Web Design Dev

find free image and design assets on Web Designer Dev

To round out our top ten list is Web Design Dev. Much like Web Designer Depot, Web Design Dev provides great tutorials and content surrounding the topic of web design. However, they have a huge resource page of free images, PSD files, mock-ups and everything else you could want on the free design asset spectrum.

Wrapping It Up

No matter what type of designer you may be, saving time and money on a project is always a huge plus. These are only 10 places where you can find some great time and money saving image assets, but I’m sure there are plenty more out there.

Do you guys have a go-to resource for finding great design assets? If so, be sure to share with the rest of the community below.

Article Thumbnail by venimo via Shutterstock

29 Comments

  1. Wow what a great list of icons, thanks a lot for sharing. I have been using FindIcons for a long time for free icons to use on my web projects. I am going to check out these new resources as well!

  2. I do like Freepik, because they have a massive library of stuff. There’s also Design Crawl. If you haven’t heard of Design Crawl, it’s a site dedicated to good design resources. There are graphics, images, icons, templates, and just about anything you’d need.

  3. Hi Ariel
    Graphic Burger put out some fabulous free Photoshop material.
    My only problem… I use Fireworks not PhotoShop!!

    That aside, thanks for putting together this great resource.

  4. Watch out on http://commons.wikimedia.org/ I know of at least one instance of a copyright Getty image uploaded there under Creative Commons license.

  5. I love icon finder.com myself. Their website is user friendly and the prices are very good. I only discovered them recently and it’s suiting a lot of my needs with the design of logos and websites.

  6. Thanks ! so far i only used google images search, with my own criterias in the advanced options. Lot of free images there as well.

  7. Great article!

  8. Any thoughts on Pixabay? Not so great for icons – but they seem to have an incredible number of photos, vector graphics, and illustrations that are free for commercial use without attribution.

    • I love Pixabay and use their stuff all the time. It’s become my #1 resource for backgrounds with social media posts.

  9. my fav are freepik and icon finder. Thanks for sharing this post 🙂

  10. Great article, just in time for me as i have just come across Unsplash.com for free images but this article gives me more to look at. Thanks guys

  11. Does anyone know how you meet the cc requirements on an icon? I mean, are you suppose to provide credit at the bottom of the page or what?

    • I was wondering the same John.

      I suspect it’s easier to add attribution underneath CC resources when used in blog posts without it looking odd. Where images and icons as page elements are concerned it would be nice to have some thoughts or guidance on how to meet the obligations in such a way that isn’t intrusive to our designs.

      Perhaps that’s just the price we pay for not having to buy them.

  12. You can add http://medialoot.com they have a great freebies section, I use them a lot.

  13. Great set of resources. For high-quality images that are free to use, you can also check out unsplash.com. It’s a great tool. The only thing I wish it had as a search to make it simpler to find a specific category of image.

  14. Hi Ariel, thanks, really helped me, I think it was me flaticon Thanks

  15. Thank you for this valuable article – on often find yourself in a hurry for a quick image and then it’s like the mind goes blank… “Here is that site again?”

    Will certainly bookmark this article – it is a GREAT resource!

    Thanks once again!

  16. Hey Ariel,
    Thanks for the research.

  17. Thanks for share Ariel. Familiar most of these websites, but mostly I visit Freepik and Graphic Burger for find images, icons etc.

  18. Thank you for the great resources! Is there a way to add new icons to those already available in the Divi icon library?

  19. Awesome resources! Thanks for this.

  20. One more great source for free icons and images is https://plixs.com

  21. Hello Guys. I know this might sound like a silly question, but I am trying really hard to understand this.

    I can find ten trillion icons.
    BUT

    How do I actually USE them in DIVI?

    In DIVI when I use the divi builder it does not show the icons, just funny squares. I have seen many others ask this same question, and not receive help.

    Please help!!

  22. Good list. But, as you said, using many of these free images requires to give attribution to the creator. Thank your for sharing this list.

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