Free Small Icons For Designers

In the last 4 years or so the icons have become significantly bigger. This trend was introduced by MacOS 10, but now designers use large icons wherever they can.

But still sometimes you need a small icon, and being an icon designer myself I can say that small icons are very difficult to create. I mean, you need to work hard to make your icons recognizable, especially if they represent some not so common objects (not just another folder of magnifying glass).

But if small icons play subsidiary role in your interface, or if you work on a pilot version of some project and do not want to invest much time and money in the design at this stage, there are free sets of small icons at your disposal.

Below is the list of several such sets given in no particular order. As usual, I selected only the best sets that easily fit into various interfaces.

12x12 free toolbar icons12×12 Free Toolbar Icons by Small Icons

This set offers probably the smallest resolution that allows to preserve the readability of all icons. There are 96 images most often used in software interfaces. A 16×16 pixel version of this icon set also exists.
License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Silk by FamFamFam
silk icons by famfamfam
This is probably the most well-known set of small icons. It includes over 700 16×16 pixel icons in PNG format. The main drawback of these icons is that they have already been used in far too many applications.
License: Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 and Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Fugue by Yusuke Kamiyamane
Fugue Icons
With 3000 images Fugue is arguably the largest set of free small icons. It includes every little icon you can imagine and several more.
License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Social Bookmarking Icons by FeedForAll
Free Social Icons
40 icons for popular social networking services. Sizes vary from 16×16 to 20×20, but visually they all seem to have the same size due to transparent parts.

Led Icon Set by Alexandra Bolshova
Led Icons
512 small icons inspired by FamFamFam. This collection includes a lot of icons representing various document formats and actions on documents.
License: Creative Commons

16x16 Free Application Icons16×16 Free Application Icons by Aha-Soft

This set contains 225 icons designed for use in application interfaces, but also includes icons suitable for Web (such as RSS, Twitter, Design Float and other). Each icon is provided in PNG, BMP, GIF and ICO formats.
License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Hamburg by Patricia Clausnitzer
Hamburg Icon Set
Hamburg is just one of the 10 small icon sets offered by PC.DE free of charge. Other 9 sets are also named after German cities: Frankfurt, Stuttgart, Essen, D?sseldorf, Bremen, Dortmund, Munich, Cologne and Berlin. Each of the collection contains 100 icons representing identical concepts but drawn in a unique style: Munich icons have orange bold outline, D?sseldorf icons are black, Frankfurt includes square orange icons with rounded corners etc.
License: Creative Commons Attribution 3.0

Splashy Icons by Dat Nguyen
Splashy Icons
400+ icons in PNG format suitable for software interfaces. The license is not specified (and the artist’s website contains really little text, just images).

Free Web Design Icon Set by SEM Labs
Free Web Design Icon Pack
310 icons (16×16 pixels) designed to be used on Web projects, but also suitable for software interfaces.
License: Free.

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