Introduction and structure

A new year is here and so is the need to look at new data for supply and demand on Iconfinder. This report brings you recommendations for what to draw in Q1 2019 (January, February, and March), as well as for what are the general opportunities that our marketplace offers. If you are wondering which category-style combinations are worth investing into or the most searched keywords with no results, this report is for you. If instead you would like to know what the main events and festivities with growing demand of icons in Q1 are, or would like to hear about customers’ feedback about diversity in icons, this report carries the insights you need to create the right icons.

The report is structured in 2 main parts:

  • Main take-aways: short overview of the entire report. Reading this part is enough to get the most important ideas and recommendations.
  • Complete data: full data is shared in this part. It contains a more detailed explanation, together with full data to dig deeper.

The Complete data is divided in 3 different sections:

Follow-up on previous report

Since we shared with you the Designer report Q4 2018, exciting things have happened. 10,288 new Christmas icons were uploaded to Iconfinder, out of which 7,071 were sold in Q4. At the same time, 5,900 new Halloween icons were added as well, with 5,710 being sold in Q4.

In terms of searches with no results, reactions are also starting to be noticed. 1,320 new icons were added for keywords that previously had no results or only a few results. Specifically, 108 new icons were created for “fortnite” and 111 icons were added for “pubg”, two of the most demanded keywords identified in the last report. The demand for fortnite and pubg icons is still very high, so we think it is a good idea to add more icons.

With these good news, we’d like to share new data-based insights with you, so you can continue creating the right icons in the months to come.

Main take-aways

This part helps you to get the most important information extracted from the report in a brief format. To dig deeper, continue to the Complete data below.

Main icon themes to focus on in Q1 2019

Between January and March 2019, a few large events and festivities are happening. The most important for our customers, in chronological order, are:

  • Chinese New Year (February 5)
  • Valentine’s Day (February 14)
  • Carnival (February 28 — March 5)
  • Sakura festival (cherry blossom) (beginning of March)
  • Spring (beginning in March)
  • Easter (April 21)

We recommend uploading icons for these themes 1–2 months before each of them is happening, to take advantage of the entire sales period and to be eligible for some of Iconfinder’s marketing campaigns. Check out the entire list of Search keywords rising in popularity in Q1.

Top 10 most searched keywords

If you are opting for a strategy to create popular icons, the top 10 most searched keywords on Iconfinder, based on the number of searches in Q1 2018, are:

  1. Facebook (118,009 total searches in Q1 2018)
  2. Arrow (76,491 total searches in Q1 2018)
  3. Instagram (70,999 total searches in Q1 2018)
  4. Download (61,127 total searches in Q1 2018)
  5. Phone (60,383 total searches in Q1 2018)
  6. Search (51,836 total searches in Q1 2018)
  7. User (50,060 total searches in Q1 2018)
  8. Email (43,131 total searches in Q1 2018)
  9. Youtube (41,443 total searches in Q1 2018)
  10. Home (40,017 total searches in Q1 2018)

You should know that the competition for these keywords is extremely high, which means achieving good sales might be difficult. Check out the entire list of Top searched keywords.

Top 10 category-style combinations with most sales

If you are looking to create icons in the most popular category-style combinations, the list below contains the top 10 best selling ones.

1. Business & finance — Outline (59,687 icons sold in 2018)

2. Business & finance — Glyph (57,205 icons sold in 2018)

3. Business & finance — Flat (56,165 icons sold in 2018)

4. UI — Outline (41,000 icons sold in 2018)

5. Business & finance — Filled outline (34,384 icons sold in 2018)

6. UI — Glyph (32,814 icons sold in 2018)

7. Avatars & smileys — Flat (31,696 icons sold in 2018)

8. Network & Communications — Outline (31,237 icons sold in 2018)

9. SEO & web — Outline (29,240 icons sold in 2018)

10. SEO & Web — Flat (27,785 icons sold in 2018)

Keep in mind that these category-style pairs are also the most competitive ones, so good sales are not guaranteed. See the full list of Top seller Categories & Styles.

10 category-style combinations with unmet demand

The list below identifies the category-style combinations with opportunities to add more icons, as their demand is higher than the number of icons available.

  1. iOS optimized — Outline (6,388 icons sold in 2018)
  2. Transportation — Smooth (1,823 icons sold in 2018)
  3. Avatars & smileys — Smooth (1,744 icons sold in 2018)
  4. Animals — Cartoon (1,395 icons sold in 2018)
  5. Healthcare & medical — Smooth (1,032 icons sold in 2018)
  6. Nature & outdoors — Smooth (1,011 icons sold in 2018)
  7. Recreation & hobbies — Handdrawn (991 icons sold in 2018)
  8. Gaming & gambling — Smooth (751 icons sold in 2018)
  9. Animals — Smooth (677 icons sold in 2018)
  10. Gaming & gambling — 3D (649 icons sold in 2018)

See the full list of Categories & Styles with unmet demand.

Top 10 keyword searches with no results

Using the searches that have no results is a good way to create icons that customers are looking for but cannot find. These are the 10 most search keywords that have no results on Iconfinder, ordered by the total number of searches made from August 1, 2018 to Nov 30, 2018:

  1. idm (Could refer to “internet download manager”; 172 total searches)
  2. tableau (Software for business intelligence; 168 total searches)
  3. uplay (Software for digital games; 149 total searches)
  4. caixa (Bank in Spain; 113 total searches)
  5. edema (Medical condition, 108 total searches)
  6. kubernetes (Open source software; 98 total searches)
  7. olx (Online marketplace; 73 total searches)
  8. depend (68 total searches)
  9. warface (Online shooter game; 59 total searches)
  10. institutional (55 total searches)

Take a look at the full list of Search keywords with no results.

Top 10 keyword searches with few results

If we look at the keywords with few results, here is the list ordered by number of searches between August 1, 2018 and November 30, 2018:

  1. plc (Programmable Logic Controller; 271 total searches; 2 premium icons)
  2. founded (94 total searches; 6 premium icons)
  3. kafka (Open-source stream-processing software; 85 total searches; 2 premium icons)
  4. variables (81 total searches; 1 premium icons)
  5. dotnet (72 total searches; 2 premium icons)
  6. ivr (Interactive voice response; 76 total searches; 3 premium icons)
  7. RPA (Robotic process automation; 75 total searches; 5 premium icons)
  8. deliverables (63 total searches; 4 premium icons)
  9. humanities (62 total searches; 2 premium icons)
  10. nps (Net promoter score; 55 total searches; 5 premium icons)

Check out the entire list of Search keywords with few results.

Diversity matters to customers

Customers have been asking for more diverse icons on Iconfinder. By “diverse”, they mean icons that represent all different kinds of people — skin color, gender, religion, ethnicity, age — in different roles in society. For example, the majority of icons for “doctor” or “business person” show a white male. On the contrary, icons for “nurse” show mostly females. Other people can also do the same jobs, but icons are excluding them.

Another aspect that business customers have been mentioning is the need for non-religious holiday icons. For example, Christmas icon sets do not need to include religious symbols such as Jesus, Mary or the cross. Instead, a more suitable set for commercial use would be around the theme of winter, holidays and festive food/drinks and customs. The same can be applied to all other holiday icon sets.

Learn about diversity in our blog post The issue of diversity in icon design. Check out more tips about why Diversity matters to customers below in the report.

Complete data

This part of the report contains full data and more elaborate explanations for the findings shared above. First, it goes through the trends expected in Q1, then it elaborates on the overall opportunities on Iconfinder and, finally, it contains answers to four frequently-asked questions from icon designers.

Section 1. Expected trends in Q1

This section contains recommendations about what icon designers should draw in Q1 2019 (January, February, and March). For that, we present data about what customers are searching for in Q1, together with the marketing campaigns Iconfinder is planning to launch in this quarter.

Top search keywords in Q1

Table 1 below presents the keywords used most frequently in search in Q1 2018. These top keywords are not surprising, as they are often needed for professional websites and apps. It is always a good idea to create icons covering these keywords, as their demand is very high. However, keep in mind that the competition for them is also very high, so it might be hard to maintain good sales.

Table 1. Top search keywords in Q1 2018 as compared to Q4 2017 (Date ranges: Jan 2018 — Mar 2018 and Oct 2017-Dec 2017). See full table in Google Sheets

Search keywords rising in popularity in Q1

The keywords above are the all-time popular. Instead, if we want to know what keywords are becoming popular in Q1 specifically, Table 2 below is more helpful. Table 2 shows the keywords used in search that gained more popularity in Q1 2018, as compared to the previous quarter. We can observe that many of them are related to the main events and festivities happening in Q1: Easter, Valentine’s Day, Carnival, Chinese New Year, Cherry tree blossoming.

It is interesting to look at the first keyword on the list, “vader” (referring to Darth Vader from Star Wars), which was used in search 29.000% more than in the previous quarter. This is a normal behaviour from customers, as the new Star Wars movie had been released on December 15, 2017. Therefore, the search term “vader” experienced a boom in January. This might happen to other keywords as well, as these trends follow the media and popular culture. To stay up to date with what people are searching for online, we recommend keeping an eye on Google Trends, as it is a good indicator of what people search for on Iconfinder too.

Table 2. Search keywords rising in popularity in Q1 2018 as compared to Q4 2017 (Date ranges: Jan 2018 — Mar 2018 and Oct 2017-Dec 2017). See full table in Google Sheets

Trends for keywords in Q1

Icons representing events and festivities usually start becoming popular 1–2 months before the festivity happens. As an example, in Graph 1 below, “spring” icons start becoming popular in December and peak in March, while still having many searches in April. We thus recommend icon designers to upload these seasonal icons 1–2 months before the search peak, to take advantage of the entire sales period.

Graph 1. Trends for keywords during Q1, grouped by month, based on number of searches in Q1 2018 (Date range: Dec 2018 — April 2018). See data in Google Sheets

Marketing campaigns in Q1

Table 3 below contains a list of our upcoming marketing campaigns planned for Q1 2019. We often feature icons to be part of these campaigns, so we encourage icon designers to upload icons for them beforehand, up to 1 week before the campaign is launched.

Table 3. Marketing campaigns on Iconfinder in Q1

Section 2. Overall opportunities in the Iconfinder marketplace

This section presents the current general opportunities we identified on the Iconfinder marketplace. We start by presenting cross-referenced data on categories and styles that have unmet demand and also those that are rank as top sellers. Next, we show the search keywords with no results or few results and, finally, we explain the increase in demand for diversity in icons.

Categories & Styles with unmet demand

Many designers have been asking what category-style combinations are in need of more icons. We have then looked at each category and style together and created Table 4 below.

Table 4 contains the list of the category-style pairs that have more sales than number of icons uploaded. This means that their supply-demand ratio is lower than 1 and they have higher opportunities for adding more icons to them. Demand means the number of icons sold from that category-style pair from Jan 1, 2018 to Dec 1, 2018, while supply refers to the number of icons present in that category-style pair by Dec 1, 2018.

For example, creating iOS optimised icons in outline style might be a good idea, as there are more sales than icons in that category-style combination.

The table is ordered by demand, which helps us understand what categories & styles have been selling more. The top of the table shows category-style combinations that sell many icons, while the bottom of the table contains category-style combinations that sell less. All of them, however, need more icons.

Table 4. Category-style combinations with unmet demand ordered by highest sales (Date range for demand: Jan 1, 2018 — Dec 1, 2018; Date range for supply: Dec 1, 2018). See full table in Google Sheets

Top seller Categories & Styles

If you are instead wondering what category-style combinations sell the most, take a look at Table 5 below. The Business & finance category with the main styles (Outline, Glyph, and Flat) top the list. Sharing the first places, we find the UI category, Avatars & smileys, SEO & web, also in the main design styles: Outline, Glyph, Flat and Filled outline.

Keep in mind that some of these categories are also very competitive, as they have many icons, so good sales might be harder to achieve. The sales opportunities can be intuited by looking at the supply-demand ratio. A ratio larger than 1 means that there are more icons available in that category-style pair than icons bought from it, so sales opportunities are usually lower. Instead, a ratio lower than 1 is an opportunity to add more icons.

Table 5. Top seller categories and styles, ordered by sales (Date range for demand: Jan 1, 2018 — Dec 1, 2018; Date range for supply: Dec 1, 2018) . See full table in Google Sheets

Searches with no results

The list below contains the keywords most used in search that return zero results. The list is ordered by number of searches, so the keywords with more searches are at the top. It is a good indicator of what customers search for but cannot find.

Table 6. Search keywords with no results (Date range Aug 1 — Nov 30, 2018). See full table in Google Sheets

Searches with few results

Alternatively, there are some search keywords that have very few icons, which might help us understand where more icons could be added. The icon to search ratio is calculated by dividing the number of icons by the number of searches. It is an indicator for how large the opportunity to add icons is: the closer to zero the ratio is, the higher the opportunities to add icons, as there are more searches than icons available for that keyword.

Table 7. Search keywords with few results (Date range Aug 1 — Nov 30, 2018). See full table in Google Sheets

Diversity matters to customers

According to customer feedback, Iconfinder needs more diverse icons, especially for avatars and professions, and more inclusive sets for the main festivities. Diversity refers to representing people of all kinds (skin colors, gender, sexual orientation, religion, ethnicity, culture, age, etc.). It is about not discriminating certain groups. This is important, as icons are used in business all around the world and they perpetuate ideas of what people look like and what jobs they can do. Read more about what diversity means in our blog post: The issue of diversity in icon design

Diversity in avatars and professions

The current available icons that represent a “leader”, “executive”, “doctor” or “nurse” are often based on stereotypical ideas of what kind of people perform these jobs. Instead of limiting yourself to drawing a white male icon for “doctor” or only white female icons for “nurse”, try to include people of other skin colors and genders, for instance. Additionally, when creating avatars, a good practice is to also include people of different cultures, ethnicities, ages or religions.

As an example of a good set in terms of diversity, the one below includes icons of different skin colors, professions, cultures, religions and ages:

Another example is this set of female icons of different professions:

Inclusiveness in holiday icons

When using icons for picturing the main festivities (such as Christmas or Easter), business customers prefer icon sets that do not have references to religion. For example, a Christmas set, even if it is a major Christian holiday, does not have to contain religious elements such as the cross, Jesus or Virgin Mary. Instead, try to focus on winter elements such as snow, cold, skiing, sledging, skating, Christmas tree, warm drinks, champagne etc.

A good example of a Christmas set with no religious elements:

To learn more about diversity, check out our blog post on The issue of diversity in icon design.

Section 3. Questions and answers

In this section, we will answer 4 of the most frequent questions we received from icon designers.

Question 1. What are the designers with biggest earnings on Iconfinder?

If you go to the list of Designers on Iconfinder, you will find icon designers ordered by top sellers. This list is based on each designer’s sales, so the ones with largest sales will rank at the top.

Question 2. What are some best practices for using icon families on Iconfinder?

Icon families are a way to organise your icon sets on your public seller page. Families are mostly used to gather icon sets in the same style or color themes. Customers have the option to purchase entire families and get a large collection of matching icons. Therefore, the more icons the family contains, the easier it would be for the customer to find icons that cover all needs and that match well together in the same app, website or presentation. We thus recommend to treat families as a product, as some customers purchase them to get consistent icons for their projects.

Examples of icon sets grouped in families

Question 3. Do customers care about pixel perfect precision?

Pixel-perfect is a popular buzzword in icon and user interface design these days, but it is important, especially when designing for small sizes. Anti-aliasing on the edges of an icon at small sizes can make the icon appear fuzzy. Space between lines that doesn’t align to the pixel grid will be anti-aliased and become blurry. Aligning the icon to the pixel grid makes the edges perfectly crisp on straight lines, and more crisp on precise angles and curves.

Even though pixel-perfect is becoming less important for the new retina displays, it is still important for icons that will displayed in smaller sizes e.g. in a menu. The outline style has been popular for many years now, and this trend continues. However we are seeing more icons in the outline style using 2 or 3 px borders. The effect is that the icon has more ‘weight’ and is easier to see on smaller screens and retina displays.

You can read about Designing the Iconified icon set or Better Icon Design in 6 Easy Steps for more tips.

Question 4. What type of customers visit Iconfinder?

While we have many visitors from the United States, India, Brazil and some European countries (Graph 2), the majority of paying customers are located in the US (Graph 3).

Graph 2. Location of Iconfinder customers (Date range: Jan 1, 2018 — Dec 1, 2018)
Graph 3. Percentage of Iconfinder Pro subscribers by country (Date range: Jan 1, 2018 to Dec 1, 2018)

Additionally, we have identified 3 main customer groups: Designers, Developers and Marketing professionals. The first group is composed of designers who need icons for their design projects, typically for their clients. They have high needs of icons in different styles, as they work for several clients and the projects have different requirements.

The second customer group is composed of Developers, who need icons for creating user interfaces, often for client work too. Their needs of icons are similar to those of Designers, which means they have a high demand for icons.

Finally, the third main customer group is what we call Marketing professionals. They use icons frequently for presentations, marketing material (banners, newsletters etc.) and their needs of icons are also relatively high, though they usually do not work for clients.

Wrapping up

This designer report is part of a series released on a quarterly basis. It is meant to help designers create the right icons, by sharing data on supply and demand on Iconfinder. We tried to make it as clear and straight-forward as possible, so designers can easily apply the tips in their creative work and optimise their sales. For questions or comments, please write us to

Are you interested in becoming a contributor on Iconfinder? This is the place to start: How to sell icons on Iconfinder



Monica Matei
The Iconfinder Blog

Community Strategist at Iconfinder