Open Source Icons
Here are some consistent families of general user interface icons. While there are thousands of free icons available from many venues (check out via search engines), there are fewer that have sufficient diversity and scope to encompass most user interface needs. Since it is noticeably jarring to mix icon styles in the same interface (or, at least to do so indiscriminantly), it is important to have a consistent design image.
Here are the candidate choices we have found. Some are provided in either multiple size formats or in vector (generally, SVG), formats:
- The Silk icons from famfamfam is a set of over 700 16-by-16 pixel icons in PNG format (144 of which are also available as GIF mini-icons, see below). This is the standard open source set used as the basis for Pastel (see below), which is used in the various OSF-Drupal tools. There are also other free icons from this site
- Tango is an icon library that contains a basic set of icons for the most common usage. They come in 16x16 and 22x22 sizes, and some are scalable (vector). There are also a variety of extensions for specific purposes
- Pastel SVG is an icon set based on the Silk icons noted above from FamFamFam.com. Pastel uses the same style, but comes in the sizes of 16, 24, 32, 48, 64, 72, 96, 128 or 256 pixels square; a sampling is shown below
Pastel is the standard icon set chosen for OSF-Drupal tools.
- The Fugue icons by Yusuke Kamiyamane is the largest set available, and contains 3000 individual icons in 16x16 PNG format. Here is a sampling:
Alternatively, there is a smaller set of 400 icons called Diagona also available from the same designer
- Nuvola is a set of 600 icons in either PNG or SVG format from David Vignoni (Icon King). The PNG come in standard sizes of 16, 22, 32, 48, 64 or 128 pixels square. Here is a sampling:
Vignoni also has an alternative set of icons with a similar feel called Oxygen.
- The Crystal set of more than 1300 icons is organized into six different sizes, and is divided into the categories of actions, apps, files systems, devices and mime types. Here is a sampling:
See also the icon sets used within Wikipedia itself.
Lastly, and perhaps most usefully, peruse the 750+ icon sets on Icon Finder.
With the emergence of Web 2.0 and locational services, particularly the open API and "thumbtack" aspect of Google Maps, a new category of map markers for web mapping has emerged. This category is still new enough that a set terminology has not yet developed. Among other terms, here are some of the ways that these locational markers on maps have been described:
- Places of interest (POIs)
- Points of interest (POIs)
- Location markers
- Map pointers.
Here are some of the consolidated sources of open source markers now available:
- This is a sampling of 120 markers or so available within the Google MyMaps API (see further this link with shadows and this full listing). All have matching shadows useful for conveying a 3D feeling:
- Map Icons Collection is a set of more than 1000 free icons to use as placemarks for POI locations on maps (originally designed for the Google Maps API). Most of these icon markers are square in aspect with a pointer, and are organized by color-coordinated categories such as numbers, cinemas, hotels, banks, etc. Here is a sampling:
- The Maki icon set consists of more than 100 black and white 15x15 map markers
- This listing provides three different colors in the Google Map "teardrop" style for all letters and 99 numbers
- Geosilk is an extension of the standard Silk icon set noted above. It is more applicable to UI icons relating to map functions than to map markers per se
- Green Map contains a set of about 170 monochrome (can be colored differently) POI markers, with an orientation to nature or ecological categories. There are also local extensions
- Map Pins provides 22 alternative map pins and flags:
- 50 monochrome POI and map marker symbols from the US National Park Service (NPS):
- There is a similar (and complementary in design) set of 50 monochrome pedestrian and transportation symbols [from http://www.aiga.org/content.cfm/symbol-signs AIGA] in cooperation with the US Department of Transportation
- Icons from the Brian Quinion Icon Collection are some the largest available; these map icons are an attempt to create a simple consistent set of vector icons suitable for cartographic use. The icons were specifically created for use with Open Street Map data using the Mapnik renderer and as such many of the naming conventions are based on those used for Open Street Map tags. About 300 different icons in a variety of sizes (also in SVG) are available in the areas of Accommodation, Amenity, Barrier, Education, Food, Health, Landuse, Money, Place of Worship, POI, Power, Shopping, Sport, Tourist, Transport and Water. Here is the example for a few of the listings:
Some markers can be created dynamically with the Google Map API. Here are some background articles and links:
- Very useful is the explanation of dynamic markers within the Google Map API
Various other listings, many with icons but perhaps not organized into the same uniform sets, include:
- Map pin search on Icon Finder. Some specific options on Icon Finder are:
- This article was originally posted in M.K. Bergman, 2011. "Noteworthy Icon Libraries for Projects and Web Mapping," in AI3:::Adaptive Innovation blog, March 21, 2011. See http://www.mkbergman.com/952/noteworthy-icon-libraries-for-projects-and-web-mapping/.