A few days ago, I posted about six sites you can use to help you find images for your blog posts in just a few seconds. But what if using photos from Flickr isn’t really your thing? What if you want to use a snazzy icon or two to go along with your text? A Flickr search engine certainly isn’t going to help you there.
That’s why I’m showing you some of the best icon search engines on the internet. Whether you like to include icons with your blog posts or you’re just looking for a little something to spice up your desktop, these web apps should be right up your alley. Check them out, see if they offer what you want, and move on down the list if they don’t. And, in case you’re wondering, they’re in no particular order.[For each site, I looked up two icons, one for Safari and another of a Dog. Some could find an image for both, some could only find one, and others couldn't find any--but your mileage may vary.]
1. Iconlook On first glance, Iconlook seems to be the most professional of the icon search engines. Glossy logo, big search field, it’s a regular web 2.0 site. Even when you search, you have plenty of options to check. Do you want big icons, small icons, or something in between?
However, Iconlook only found one icon for Safari (and it looked amazingly similar to the default icon) and only one icon for a Dog. Both were usable, but for a site that looks so promising, I would have expected more.
If you’re willing to browse, though, Iconlook gives you the option to check out all of the popular icons in a handy grid.
2. Iconfinder Iconfinder’s appearance is surprisingly similar to that of Iconlook. Big logo, big search field, grid layout for found icons. However, it lacks the selection feature to choose a particular icon size you need and it is missing a page filled with popular icons.
Also, searching for both Safari and Dog rendered nothing. In their defense, though, searches for more general topics like Drive, Computer, or Internet all came back with a fairly large number of results.
3. Iconlet Iconlet strays from the gaudy, glossy look of the previous two sites and goes for a more minimalist approach. While this is all well and good, their search feature can be annoying when you find multiple sizes for a particular icon–each size gets its own listing instead of simply combining multiple sizes and showing the largest. Not particularly user friendly.
Iconlet’s database is rather large, however, as a single search returns a number of results in multiple sizes. All icons are free, open source, or creative commons licensed. But, it wasn’t able to find a Safari icon–though it did find a couple of Dog icons.
4. SearchIcon SearchIcon is supposedly listing over 60,000 icons as of this writing, and I can totally believe it. The search engine feels stronger and more robust than some of the other contenders, and it really shows with the quality of results it returns.
SearchIcon also includes a handy feature that I’d like to see all of the other search engines incorporate. A path button which takes you to a page filled with related icons from the same series.
Searching for Safari came up with quite a few attractive results while the search for Dog churned out a handful of others (though no true picture of a dog).
5. Icons Search To be honest, I wasn’t too fond of the way Icons Search looked before I entered any search terms. It seems almost amateurish–but then again, so does Google.
The search feature itself, however, is fast and accurate, coming up with quite a few results for both Safari and Dog. Icons Search is also the only site thus far that 256×256 size icons. Really the only drawback here is the way the icons are displayed after a search. Much like Iconlet, there are multiple pictures of each icon depending on what sizes they come in.
6. The Icon Browser The Icon Browser is easily the most hastily put together of all of the icon search engines we’ve seen. It resembles an early web app from a decade or so ago. In a lot of cases, appearance can be deceiving–but that’s not entirely true here.
The search for Safari returned nothing while the search for Dog returned quite a few results, all of which were low quality, pixelated GIF files that look like clipart from the days of the Windows 3.1.
7. deviantART Last, but certainly not least, we have DeviantArt. Yes, I know it’s not a true icon search engine, though they do have a massive supply of amazing artwork that really blows the rest of the sites out of the water. Just type what icon you’re looking for then click on Customization followed by Icons on the left side of your screen.
Obviously, given the huge amount of art hosted on DeviantArt, finding a Safari icon and a Dog icon was a piece of cake.
So which of these search engines was the best? Search Icon is the clear winner as it totally outshines the rest of the true icon search engines. However, if you really want the highest quality content, you’re going to have to pay DeviantArt a visit.
Photo: Pink Sherbet Photography