Iconfinder designer report Q4 2020

Understanding the icon market today is the only way to save the future of icons. Together, we can defeat icon poverty! To help you in this mission, we share the latest data from the Iconfinder marketplace.

This report contains:

The new search
Icon news
Popular searches in 2020
Subsequent searches
Seasonal searches in Q4
Most searched keywords
Keywords with unmet demand
Searches with no results (live data)
Customers requesting icons


Hi, icon designers! I’m Flluf and I come from the future — yeah, that’s my teleportation shuttle. Impressive, you say? It’s actually not the latest model. Anyways, there is no time for bragging!

I know you’re not going to believe what I’m about to say because you live in 2020, but please, listen to me. In my time, 2021, the world is not battling a pandemic anymore — we got over that fairly easily — but something far worse! It’s hard for me to talk about it but I come from a reality where people cannot … find the right icons!

You see, designers stopped taking the icon business seriously. They wouldn’t follow the market, they wouldn’t tag well, and they wouldn’t listen to customers. I don’t know why they would do that …

My people suffer from icon poverty and malnutrition. It’s cold and dark, and no one can communicate. Misunderstandings are everywhere — you see, words are not quite as powerful. If only we could get back the icons we once had …

Now, I have to be very careful with what I share with you or I’ll disturb the space-time continuum. I’ll help you understand the data already available in your time and guide you through this Designer Report. Only you can save the future of icons!

Psst! All data in this report is also gathered in this sheet, for easy access.

The new search

First, you have to understand the icon search algorithms — the little robots that find icons and order them. In your era, they are at the core of how people find their precious icons.

I learned a lot about them at the history museum last Friday. They were pretty advanced. In my time, we’re working on the MindReadX to exactly reproduce icons from the customers’ imagination.

In the last few months, we have been working on a new version of the icon search engine at Iconfinder. Here are the most important changes.

More relevant results

Icons with recent downloads now rank higher in the search results. It means that newer downloads count more than older ones. That way, search results will adapt to trends quicker, and new popular icons will rank higher. Tip: Upload icons often and stay up to date with the design trends and world events.

Icons that have been picked by our staff now rank higher in the search results. Staff picks (previously called “featured”) are icons that our team considers outstanding because of their high quality, uniqueness or creativity, beauty, and relevancy to current events. Tip: Strive to distinguish yourself and create good quality icons. Learn how we choose the staff picks.

Customers can now filter out explicit icons using the Safe search filter. This ensures that they can search for icons that are suitable for a work setting or if children are around. Read more about the Safe search.

Older icons that are underperforming will be put into Rest mode. These are icons that are not meeting any demand because their drawing style does not live up to today’s standard. These icons will still be available on the site, but they will not appear in the search results. You will be notified by email if any of your icon sets are placed in Rest mode.

New functionalities

Customers can now search for the designer’s name, the family name, and the icon set name, besides tags. This helps return more relevant results for customers who like a particular designer or icon family. Tip: Name your icon families well. Make them unique and memorable. Also, make your designer name easy to remember and easy to spell.

It is now also possible to search for styles and price. For example “user glyph” returns “user” icons in glyph style, and “computer free” returns free “computer” icons.

Search now corrects misspellings. A search for “ipohne” becomes “iphone”. “twiter” becomes “twitter” etc. Tip: Check your tags for misspellings and correct them.

Search results can now be sorted too. Customers can sort by relevance, newest first, and four different ranges of downloads. Tip: If you upload icons frequently, these will be showing up high in the results if customers sort by “newest first” or by recent downloads.

Icon news

Hey, have you met Bobby? He’s a cyberdog, my loyal companion! He knows how to sniff the fresh design trends. Show them, Bobby!

3D icons wanted

A new design style is trending in 2020 and that is 3D icons with soft and rounded shapes, and cute colors.

We have enabled PNG uploads on Iconfinder and we would love to get some of these icons.

‘Specify: Illustration’ by Romain Briaux on Dribbble

The style makes a good use of lights and shadows.

‘Card payment’ by Rahul Menon on Dribbble

It uses mostly light and ‘happy’ colors — probably to make us forget about how 2020 is going! We see predominantly purple and pink shades, but it is not limited to those two.

‘Dashboard Skill’ by Rafael Sharky on Dribbble

Characteristic to this style are the plump hands (and plump people, for that matter).

‘Designing in the open’ by Fabricio Rosa Marques on Dribbble

When you submit these to Iconfinder, we look a lot at the rendering quality — especially the shading and lighting.

A curved screen, you ask? That’s cute! It’s actually a 400k immerse-reality display — a bit outdated, I know. Oh, I forgot you can only see the first 3 dimensions without the implants. Sorry, buddy!

Icons needed for US presidential elections

There is a major event taking place this quarter that creates a demand for icons and that is the US presidential elections happening on November 3, 2020. Some relevant keywords are: “us elections”, “elections 2020”, ”vote”, “trump vs biden”, “republicans vs democrats”. Here is a good example of icons on this topic.

US Election 2020 icon set by Webalys LLC on Iconfinder

‘Aesthetic’ app icons for iOS14

The app icons for iPhone are more easily customisable and iPhone users are now looking for icons to make their home screens unique. This is interesting because it brings more visits to Iconfinder and more icon downloads for a new purpose.

Example of a customised iOS14 home screen

Popular searches in 2020

I know I said corona is long gone where I come from, but your reality is still 2020 and you can’t teleport either. The trend is very obvious, but I get that you don’t see it as clearly from 2020.

We compared popular search keywords from this year to the ones in 2019 to see what topics became important to people in 2020. The table below shows the keywords that experienced the largest increase in searches in 2020. Most of them are inevitably corona-related: “coronavirus”, “social distancing”, “work from home”, “hand sanitizer”, “cough” and so on.

Even if coronavirus has been an important topic this year, and still is, searches for corona-related keywords have a decreasing trend.

Monthly searches for corona-related keywords. Date range: Mar 1, 2020 to Sep 30, 2020

Corona has disrupted people’s lives in other aspects too. We noticed that searches for keywords such as “psychology”, “mental health”, and “anxiety” duplicated in the last few months on Iconfinder.

Monthly searches for various keywords. Date range: Jan 1, 2020 to Sep 30, 2020

Subsequent searches

Here’s another good hint: what icons people search for together. Like coffee and cake, phone and email, happiness and somaX. Oh, I forgot you won’t get that. SomaX didn’t get invented until January.

Customers refine their searches. This means they search for something first and then they change the keyword to something else and make a second search.

There are 2 types of subsequent searches:

Type 1. Complementary keywords

These are icons that customers want to buy together. For example, “phone” and “email”, or “ download” and “upload”.

Tip: Use these as inspiration for what icons to include in the same icon set or icon family.

Type 2. Synonym keywords

These are keywords that customers use to find the same icon. Some examples are “money” and “cash”, “file” and “document”.

Tip: Use these to tag your icons better.

The table below shows the combinations of subsequent searches on Iconfinder, from most searches to least.

To make it easier to use, we re-grouped the subsequent searches by the first search term in the table below.

Seasonal searches in Q4

And don’t forget the spooky Halloween and jolly Christmas icons. My people love those! Too bad you don’t celebrate A.I. Day yet — it’s my favourite winter holiday!

The autumn-winter season has some events and festivities that create icon demand. The most important ones are:

  • Halloween — October 31. Relevant keywords are: “halloween”, “pumpkin”
  • Black Friday — November 27. Relevant keywords are: “black friday”, “discount”, “sale”.
  • Winter — starting in December. Relevant keywords are: “winter”, “snow”, “snowflake”, “snowman”, “ski”.
  • Christmas — December 25. Relevant keywords are: “christmas”, “christmas tree”, “santa”, “santa claus”, “xmas”, “gift box”.
  • New Year — December 31. Relevant keywords are: “new year”, “fireworks”.

The chart below shows when the searches for seasonal keywords become popular.

Tip: Upload seasonal icons some weeks before the customers start searching for them. This helps the icons build up some popularity.

Searches per week for various keywords in Q4 2019

Most searched keywords

Self-driving cars are boring. We’ve got flying cars, baby! Where’s the fun in not being able to fly your own car around?

Here is the list of keywords that customers searched for in one year, ordered from most searched to least.

The most interesting keywords for you are those with a supply-demand ratio lower than 1. These are the ones with fewer icons than searches, so there are opportunities to add more icons.

Keywords with unmet demand

It’s so easy to find parking in 2020. You don’t have the rooftop gardens everywhere.

From the keywords above, we only selected those with a supply-demand ratio lower than 1. We ordered them from lowest to highest supply-demand ratio. This means that the keywords that are at the top offer more opportunities to add icons because their supply is much lower than their demand.

Searches with no results (live data)

Searches with no results are a nightmare in 2021. My people and I will be forever grateful if you could help banish icon poverty forever!

We have set up a list of searches that have no results on Iconfinder. This list shows the searches made in the last 7 days that returned zero results and it is automatically updated every other hour.

We have already noticed some popular terms:

  • Disney plus / Disney+ — The new streaming service is gaining popularity.
  • Among us — A trending online game.
  • Google Classroom — A tool from Google.

Being the first one to add icons carries huge benefits of attracting a lot of visitors to your icon shop.

Customers requesting icons

Here goes the best advice I can ever give to you: Listen to customers! When someone says “I wish there was an icon for …”, they are about to say something fascinating.

We recently ran a survey asking for input from our customers. A few of them mentioned that there are some themes for which they cannot find the right icons. Here is what they requested.

Radio & TV business icons

“Anything related to the radio/tv business. There are not a lot of choices for radio stations.”

Church-related icons

“Probably more church related icons. Churches are very much into marketing and yet there are very few icons that work well for us.”

Culturally-specific icons

“Cultural icons: for example Arabic, Asian-style icons. There is a limited amount available.”

“More ‘Australian’-focused content — Melbourne icons, Australian Made icons etc.”

Chemistry icons

“More icons of crystal in third dimension.”

Biology and medical icons

“More medical, biology-related. Seeing a lot of covid-related, which is helpful, so maybe this trend will continue. Areas like science, medicine, biology can be a bit lite on content. Then, I would need to go to a different source.”

Wine icons

“More wine icons — vines, more bottles, glasses, corkscrews, winery equipment to choose from.”

Teaching icons

“Some icons for teaching situations seem limited, such as for classrooms, students, table discussions, anything pertaining to instruction, lectures, speeches, assemblies, conventions, etc. Some of it seems kind of limited.”

I think my job here is done. Come, Bobby! Let’s go home and see some beautiful and relevant icons again!

This report is part of a series that is released every quarter. It crunches data on supply and demand on the Iconfinder marketplace, hoping to lead designers to create the right icons.

All data shared in this report is also gathered in this sheet, for easy access. Icons featured here are from the Future of Technology set, designed by Maxicons.

Drop us a message at support@iconfinder.com if you have any questions or feedback.

Are you interested in becoming a contributor on Iconfinder? This is the place to start: Become a contributor.



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