Iconfinder designer report Q2 2019
Data from the Iconfinder marketplace to help icon designers focus their creativity.
Table of contents
- Top 10 most searched keywords
- Seasonal icons to create in Q2
- Top 10 category-style combinations with most sales
- Top 10 category-style combinations with unmet demand
- Top 10 keywords with no results
- Top 10 keywords with few results
- Best practices for set preview colors
- Our golden rules for approving icons
- Top seller Categories & Styles
- Categories & Styles with unmet demand
- Search keywords with no results
- Search keywords with few results
- Question 1. What are some best practices for the icon set preview?
- Question 2. What are the criteria that Iconfinder follows when approving icons?
Introduction and structure
We are excited to share yet again another quarterly designer report. This report focuses on the second quarter of 2019, which corresponds to the months of April, May, and June. It contains advice on what are the right icons to create based on demand data on Iconfinder. Apart from numbers, it also contains answers to some important questions that we consider designers can become better at. For instance, this report gives recommendations for choosing good set preview colors and also shares our golden rules for approving icons for our marketplace.
The report is structured in 2 main parts:
Main takeaways: a 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 the entire data to dig deeper.
The Complete data is further divided into 3 different sections, for clarity:
- Section 1. Expected trends in Q2. This first section gives recommendations about what icons to draw in Q2 specifically.
- Section 2. Overall opportunities in the Iconfinder marketplace. This second section contains more general advice about keywords, categories, and styles where more icons are needed on Iconfinder.
- Section 3. Questions and answers. Finally, this third section contains answers to questions that are relevant to icon designers. In this report, we cover some best practices for set preview colors, together with the golden criteria our review team follows when approving icons for Iconfinder.
Top 10 most searched keywords
The list of keywords that customers used most times in search in Q2 of 2018, ordered from most searches to least.
- facebook (108,546 searches)
- arrow (73,528 searches)
- instagram (71,142 searches)
- phone (57,799 searches)
- download 53,038 searches)
- search (50,589 searches)
- user (48,467 searches)
- email (40,923 searches)
- home (39,014 searches)
- youtube (37,980 searches)
Get the full list here: Top search keywords
Seasonal icons to create in Q2
The main topics for icons that customers searched for in Q2 2018 are as follows:
- Summer (starting in April)
- Labor day (May 1st)
- Ramadan (May 6th)
- Mother’s day (May 13th*)
- Father’s day (June 5th*)
*Mother’s day and Father’s day shown are for US customers, which are the great majority of Iconfinder’s paying customers. Dates might vary for other countries.
Top 10 category-style combinations with most sales
These are the specific categories and styles that sold most on Iconfinder between March 1st, 2018 and March 1st, 2019.
- Business & finance — Outline (68,437 icons sold in 1 year)
- Business & finance — Flat (61,924 icons sold in 1 year)
- Business & finance — Glyph (60,680 icons sold in 1 year)
- UI — Outline (44,726 icons sold in 1 year)
- Avatars & smileys — Flat (42,973 sold in 1 year)
- Business & finance — Filled outline (40,207 sold in 1 year)
- UI — Glyph (34,721 sold in 1 year)
- Network & communications — Outline (33,919 sold in 1 year)
- SEO & web — Outline (30,564 sold in 1 year)
- SEO & web — Flat (29,774 sold in 1 year)
Check out the full list ordered by sales: Top seller categories & styles.
Top 10 category-style combinations with unmet demand
These are the categories and styles for which it is a good idea to add more icons, as demand (March 1st, 2018 to March 1st, 2019) is higher than supply (March 1st, 2019).
- Avatars & smileys — Flat (42,973 icons sold in 1 year)
- Animals — Flat (9,286 icons sold in 1 year)
- Family & home — Flat (7,187 icons sold in 1 year)
- Avatars & smileys — Badge (6,537 icons sold in 1 year)
- iOS optimized — Outline (5,675 icons sold in 1 year)
- Maps & navigation — Filled outline (5,185 icons sold in 1 year)
- Arrows — Flat (3,172 icons sold in 1 year)
- Avatars & smileys — Smooth (2,921 icons sold in 1 year)
- Transportation — Smooth (2,332 icons sold in 1 year)
- Network & communications — Smooth (2,077 icons sold in 1 year)
Check out the full list of Categories & Styles with unmet demand.
Top 10 keywords with no results
The list below contains the search keywords ordered by the number of searches between March 1st, 2018 and March 1st, 2019. None of them have premium icons.
- millennial (a person born in between 1980 and early 2000s and savvy with digital technologies; 121 searches in 1 year and 0 premium icons)
- undertale (a popular role-playing video game; 59 searches in 1 year and 0 premium icons)
- kol (abbreviation for “Key opinion leaders”; 58 searches in 1 year and 0 premium icons)
- hentai (anime and manga pornography; 48 searches in 1 year and 0 premium icons)
- kaizen (the Japanese word for “improvement”; 47 searches in 1 year and 0 premium icons)
- verb (a word that expresses an action; 47 searches in 1 year and 0 premium icons)
- webtoon (a type of webcomic originated from South Korea; 44 searches in 1 year and 0 premium icons)
- pmo (abbreviation for “Project management office”; 39 searches in 1 year and 0 premium icons)
- vaporwave (a microgenre of electronic music and an Internet meme that emerged in the early 2010s; 36 searches in 1 year and 0 premium icons)
- whitelist (35 searches in 1 year and 0 premium icons)
Check out the full list here: Search keywords with no results
Top 10 keywords with few results
Another interesting data piece to look at are the searches with few results, ordered by the number of searches between March 1st, 2018 and March 1st, 2019. They all have very few premium icons.
- ocr (abbreviation for “optical character recognition”; 188 searches in 1 year and 9 premium icons)
- depend (44 searches in 1 year and 5 premium icons)
- inversion (39 searches in 1 year and 1 premium icon)
- grievance (35 searches in 1 year and 2 premium icons)
- compensate (34 searches in 1 year and 1 premium icon)
- incremental (32 searches in 1 year and 2 premium icons)
- siding (32 searches in 1 year and 1 premium icon)
- microservice (30 searches in 1 year and 3 premium icons)
- openness (28 searches in 1 year and 8 premium icons)
- dbz (abbreviation for “Dragon Ball Z”; 27 searches in 1 year and 10 premium icons)
The complete list of keywords can be found here: Search keywords with few results
Best practices for set preview colors
The role of set previews is to have as many customers click on them as possible. Find out what are some pitfalls and also what Iconfinder’s recommendations are: Learning about set previews.
Our golden rules for approving icons
Iconfinder manually reviews all icons uploaded to our marketplace. We follow a set of rules when we decide what sets are approved and which ones are not. To optimize your efforts, make sure to get familiar with our Criteria for approving icons.
We start by looking at supply and demand data for Q2, then we continue with identifying more general opportunities in the Iconfinder marketplace and we finish by answering two questions that are relevant to icon designers: firstly, what are the best practices for icon set previews and secondly, what are the criteria that Iconfinder follows when approving icons.
Section 1. Expected trends in Q2
This first section focuses on data in the second quarter of 2019. It uncovers some of the themes that designers should create icons for, based on the top searched keywords, the keywords that become popular in this quarter, and finishes with a list of our upcoming marketing campaigns, where we will feature themed icons.
Top search keywords
This list shows the keywords that were used most times to search for icons in the second quarter of last year. Given that our customers use icons to build websites and apps, keywords for social media sites, and UI elements such as “arrow”, “download”, “search”, “user” are naturally the most demanded. The icons for these keywords can be a good place to start for new designers, though they are also very competitive, so good sales are not assured.
Search keywords rising in popularity in Q2
The main themes and events to focus your designs on in this quarter are as follows:
- Summer (start uploading icons in April)
- Labor day (May 1st)
- Ramadan (May 6th)
- Mother’s day (May 13th)
- Father’s day (June 5th)
Note that the table below is from 2018, so it identifies events that happened in 2018. It clearly shows just how important staying up to date with the news and what is happening in the world is. For example, in 2018, customers did many searches related to countries and football due to the World Cup (June 14th — July 15th, 2018), to Marvel superheroes due to the release of new movies in 2018, and to the announcement of the GDPR law (May 25th, 2018).
In 2019, there are other trends that are not reflected in the data yet. This is why we strongly recommend icon designers to stay up to date with the latest news. For example, there are many discussions about climate change and sustainability, gender equality, Brexit, or fake news, which could become good topics for an icon set. As always, we also recommend keeping an eye on Google Trends, as searches on Google will most likely be similar to the ones made on Iconfinder.
Trends for keywords in Q2
In case of wondering when exactly to start uploading these themed icons, the graph below can give an idea of when customers start searching for specific topics. For example, summer begins in June, but customers start looking for summer icons as soon as March. This is because they might be creating an app or some marketing campaign that needs to be launched in June. We, therefore, advise designers to upload themed icons for Summer, Mother’s day, etc. early enough to take advantage of the entire sales period.
Marketing campaigns in Q2
Here is the plan for our upcoming marketing campaigns, for which we will feature themed icons. As mentioned earlier, we recommend designers to upload themed icons well in advance. Note that the indicated dates may be subject to change.
Section 2. Overall opportunities in the Iconfinder marketplace
This section offers inspiration for what icons to create all year round. It identifies the top seller category-style pairs, as well as the category-style combinations with opportunities to add more icons and finally, searches with few results or with no results at all.
Top seller Categories & Styles
The table below shows the categories and style combinations that have sold most icons between March 1st, 2018 and March 1st, 2019. They are very competitive, so achieving good sales here can be difficult, which is reflected in the supply-demand ratio.
The supply-demand ratio shows the relationship between the supply and demand for that category-style pair. If the ratio is larger than 1, it means that the supply is larger than the demand. This is not a good thing, as there are more icons added than being bought. The larger the ratio becomes, the less interesting it is to add icons. The ideal is to have a ratio that is lower than 1.
The reason why these top seller categories have more supply than demand shows just how competitive they are. Among so many icons, it is hard to get good sales. However, there is the newness factor that is not accounted for in the data. Design trends are changing, causing some icons to look outdated. This is where there is room for fresh-looking icons.
Categories & Styles with unmet demand
The list below shows only the category-style combinations which have more demand than supply (notice that the supply-demand ratio for all of them is lower than 1). This means that there are more icons being sold than the number of icons available, which looks like an opportunity to add more icons.
Search keywords with no results
The table below shows the keywords that customers have used in search and which have no premium icons. These keywords are a good source for inspiration to create new icons, as well as for re-tagging some of the existing icons.
Search keywords with few results
The list below contains the keywords that have searches, but very few results on Iconfinder. They present good opportunities to add more icons.
Section 3. Questions and answers
This section goes over two questions and provides answers for icon designers contributing to Iconfinder. We touch upon the topic of colors for icon set previews and we also present the criteria Iconfinder follows when deciding which icons make it into our marketplace.
Question 1. What are some best practices for the icon set preview?
Icon set previews are the way the sets are presented on Iconfinder and become important when customers are browsing the website.
Iconfinder has a template where 6 icons are arranged on a rectangular background, for consistency. What designers can decide is the background and the icon colors. The role of the preview is to make the set stand out from the rest and convince customers to click on it.
We notice that some sets choose a light shade of grey as the set preview background color. This is not the best choice, as the sets will blend in with the Iconfinder website background and it makes the icons look dull.
In other cases, the color combination hides the icons instead of highlighting them. With a darker background and light grey icons, the icons become hard to see. This is the case of the icon set shown below.
Other times, the icons might need a background that creates more contrast, so they can be fully seen. This is the case of the icon set shown below, where the light purple icons are not fully standing out on the white background.
Additionally to the colors, sometimes the icons themselves do not have the right line weight or are too small compared to their artboard size. If their lines are too thin, they can be barely seen. If the icons are not created with the right artboard size, they can appear very small in the previews. Here you can learn about Artboards.
As examples of good practices, having colored icons on a white background works well because there is enough contrast which makes the icons look appealing.
Background colors look good if they make the icons stand out, as in the case of the two sets below.
Question 2. What are the criteria that Iconfinder follows when approving icons?
At Iconfinder, we follow 8 golden rules to decide which icons can be included in our marketplace. We recommend all designers to get familiar with them and apply them to their icons, for best results. These are:
- Meeting the upload specs. These are the technical specifications which all icons must follow on Iconfinder. Read about our Upload specifications.
- Quality standards. Our quality standards are increasing day by day, as we expect icon designers to become more skilled over time. We value icons that have a good style and are well drawn. Find out what we consider as Good quality icons.
- Aesthetic appeal. Icons need to be beautiful and nice to look at, so they can appeal to customers and make their apps, websites, and presentations look great. Aesthetic appeal is achieved by paying attention to the use of colors, aligning of elements, or harmony of shapes, among other things. Learn more about How to make beautiful icons.
- Business relevance. Icons need to be interesting for customers and match their needs. Even though some icons might match all the other criteria, they might not be accepted because we consider their sales opportunities to be low. When creating a set, designers need to think of the use cases and which icons could be bought together as a set. Understand what we mean by Business relevance.
- Uniqueness. We value icons that represent new themes and that do not copy other designer’s style or color schemes. We want to see originality and playfulness and not only conformism to a style that has become mainstream. Read more about Uniqueness.
- Variety. This refers to repetitiveness within an icon set. If a set contains the same icon with small differences, then it is hard to think of cases where all the icons in the set could be used together. A lack of variety within a set can hurt sales. Read more about Variety.
- Variations. If designers submit the same set in several styles, that can clutter the search results. At the moment, we accept only one variation per major icon style. Understand what we mean by Variations.
- Consistency. It is important not to mix different line weights, color palettes, shapes, and effects within the same icon set. All the icons must be following the same rules and should look uniform. Learn all about Consistency.
Read about all these Criteria for approving icons in the Contributor’s Handbook.
This designer report is part of a series released on a quarterly basis. We aim to help designers focus their creativity in making the right icons by sharing data on supply and demand on the Iconfinder marketplace. We make efforts to make these reports as straight-forward and easy-to-read as possible and share advice that can be put in practice right away.
Please share your feedback and questions below in the comments or send us an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Header image credit goes to Sergei Kokota.