Icons are versatile visual tools that can be used for a range of things, from company logos to infographics, presentations and other visual communication. Creating your own icons doesn’t necessarily require advanced design skills if you can use an icon maker.
Icon makers are online tools or software that marketers, entrepreneurs and others can utilize to craft custom images and illustrations for their visual communications, branding and more. Let’s explore the best icon makers for 2021 and how to get the most out of each one.
Whether or not you use Venngage to make your icons, it’s an excellent solution for quickly and efficiently building effective and engaging visual assets for your business.
Sign up for a free account and check out the easy-to-edit templates filled with icons and illustrations you can easily customize—no design experience required.
Click to jump ahead:
- How can I create an icon?
- 1. Venngage’s Icon Maker
- 2. Adobe Illustrator
- 3. Iconsflow
- 4. ICO convert
- 5. Graphicsprings
- 6. Brand Crowd
- 7. Iconion
- 8. Softorbits
- 9. Favicon Generator
- 10. App Icon Generator
- Icon maker FAQ
How do I create an icon?
The term icon is quite broad and essentially refers to a visual element that’s meant to illustrate one or more aspects of a design. They can lean toward the very simplistic with clip art-style design, while they can also be more detailed, as the above examples illustrate.
There are many tools for creating icons, but the right one for you depends mostly on the types of icons you want to make and how you want to use them. The more advanced the icon you’re hoping to create, the more robust a tool you’ll need to use.
1. Venngage’s Icon Maker
Venngage’s Icon Maker is an ideal combination of icon maker and graphic design suite thanks to how simple it is to use. Customize your icons: change their colors, size, shapes to reflect your brand or group icons together to make new ones.
With a free account, users can test-drive the icons immediately so they can see what will work best with their design. Modify, rescale or replace on the fly. Here’s an example of a design that you can create using Venngage’s easy-to-edit templates and icons:
If you want to change any of these icons to new ones, simply double click them and choose the icons you want from the pop-up menu:
Venngage also offers over 2,000 diverse icons and illustrations out of their 40,000 in total. What’s better is that you can change the skin colors in some of these diverse icons easily with a double click, and your designs can better represent your diverse audience just like that:
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Venngage’s Icon Maker is free to start, but you will need to create an account to download and use the icons and designs you make.
2. Adobe Illustrator
For many professional designers, Adobe Illustrator is the gold standard when it comes to creating icons. The software lets users create icons and illustrations from scratch. So, what’s the downside? It’s expensive, and mastering it requires years of training and experience.
Still, for those who can get past the initial investment, Illustrator’s tools are peerless when it comes to making completely custom icons and illustrations. Draw freehand using the pen tool or combine triangles, squares and circles to build complex shapes.
The minimum cost for a standalone Illustrator subscription from Adobe is $21 per month, which is about $250 per year, which makes Illustrator a big-ticket item that many teams have a hard time justifying.
IconsFlow is a web-based icon creator that lets users modify icons selected from a vast library, while they can also use a limited set of tools to create unique shapes. It’s free to create or collect a maximum of two icons sets that can have as many as five icons. The most robust plan is $19.99 per month, or about $180 per year.
IconsFlow’s icon editor is still in beta as of summer 2021, so it’s possible new features will continue to be added, but making precise designs is challenging. If you’re working only with squares and circles, you’ll have no trouble, though.
And using any web interface to build custom shapes and make them into icons means that at least some of the functionality of Adobe Illustrator can be available on the web.
4. ICO Convert
ICO Convert is a simple tool for creating avatars, favicons and profile icons. It’s not an icon maker in the same sense as other tools on this list, but being able to quickly create profile icons or favicons will save time for folks who need to create these visual assets for their brands’ blogs or other sites.
It’s also completely free and generates multiple types of files, including PNG and .ICO files that can be used on websites and for the Windows operating system.
GraphicSprings‘ icon maker is another web-based tool, though it was made for allowing entrepreneurs and small-business owners to quickly and easily make their own logos. While you can’t draw your own custom shapes, you can use the tool to create and download icons.
Another big limitation, beyond not being able to draw any shape you want, is that downloading your icons will cost you at least $19.99, though when you think about the fact that this is primarily a logo-building tool, it makes some sense.
6. Brand Crowd
Brand Crowd is another web-based icon-creating tool that’s geared toward those looking to build an icon-based company logo. As such, the built-in supply of icons is a bit limited. Still, you can see the available icons and customize them as you wish or use the editor to make your own combinations.
One very cool and unique aspect of BrandCrowd’s icon editor is that if you’re editing an existing icon-based logo and you want to bring a new shape or symbol into the frame, the system will automatically change its color to match your existing palette.
The tool is free, but you will be asked to provide your email address in order to download your icons and logos.
Need a logo for your new business, or looking to update your existing logo to add a new spin on it? Check out our recommended best logo makers.
Iconion is a unique tool that turns icon fonts, which contain symbols instead of letters, into icons you can use outside of web, email and other text-based platforms. Iconion must be downloaded and run as a desktop program, and most features are only accessible after purchasing a commercial license.
Still, choose from dozens of styles, shapes and symbols to create a unique icon set that’s perfect for your brand’s visual communications. Once you have your icon set created, export PNG or jpeg files ready for use in all your design assets.
SoftOrbits‘ icon maker is designed for web developers, user interface designers and others who need to make graphic icons, but it can also be used for creating icons for use in visual assets like infographics, presentations and white papers.
It’s free to download, but accessing the full feature set for commercial use requires a purchase of at least $50, though the company often runs sales, so you could pick it up more cheaply. Once you’ve created your icons, download PNG, jpeg or other files for use.
While it’s a true icon maker in that you can create whatever shape you want, most people will have a steep learning curve as they get used to the tools and functionality, so be prepared for frustration in the early going.
9. Favicon Generator
Create favicons and app icons with Favicon Generator, or download favicon-sized graphics of dozens of icons, shapes and other illustrations. This free tool is a great resource for those who need to create website favicons and app icons, though it’s less useful for graphic designers and marketers.
No customization is available with this tool, so what you see is what you get, and while you can create favicons from uploaded images, you can’t add any embellishments or shapes to them.
10. App Icon Generator
App Icon Generator is another entirely free favicon/app icon creator that lets you upload an image and allow the system to automatically generate a diverse array of app icons. As with most other app icon generators, there’s not much customization you can do.
Still, the strength of this icon generator is in creating the sheer volume of image types that make it easy to get your app on the platforms you need.
Icon maker FAQ
Do you have questions about creating icons for your communications needs? We’ve got answers.
How can I create my own icons?
Many free online tools are available to help you create your own icons, be it app icons or favicons. You can then use your custom-made icons in infographics, presentations, social media posts and more.
The best platform overall is Venngage for both icon-making and graphic designing. Good free tools include Iconion and IconsFlow.
How do you make an icon online?
Creating an app icon and favicons online is easy by using tools like App Icon Generator, Favicon Generator or ICO Convert, while you can create custom icons for infographics and other designs with online editors like Venngage, IconsFlow and Iconion.
In summary: Icons are extremely versatile, tiny graphics you can use throughout your communications to engage audiences
Build your icon set as you create infographics and presentations with Venngage’s Icon Maker. Choose from and customize our 40,000+ icons and illustrations that can help visualize any of your communication ideas.
Once you’ve refined and perfected your icon set, see how they look immediately within a design. With a Venngage for Business account, you can even apply your brand color palette to monocolored icons and share your designs with team members for instant feedback and real-time collaboration.