There are thousands of designers and developers who use Icons8, free or paid. However, some people blame us for not giving away every format or don’t want to link to us. We admit it’s a tough question for us so let’s explain how we see it, and you’re welcome to give your opinion in the comments below. Sounds fair?

Drawing 35,000 Icons Is a Lot of Work

There are many icon websites that publish freebies created by a bunch of different artists whereas we produce all our icons in-house.

And we draw a lot: creating a few dozen icons might not be a big deal but thousands of icons took us 5 years of daily work.

Icons8 is 80% Coding, and Only 20% Drawing

Unlike many other websites that are merely a collection of icons for download, Icons8 is a lot more than that:

  • Web app generates icons in any color, size and format
  • Complete customization: add text, overlays and background to any icon before downloading
  • Windows and Mac Apps perform about the same functions on your desktop
  • There’s a huge backend behind the scenes

Backend: A Day in the Life of an Icon

Publishing an icon pack is not a problem for many icon designers: you compress the files and that’s it.

Here’s what happens to every icon on Icons8:

  1. Designers take top voted requests for icons and draw them. About 20 a day
  2. Then they upload SVG icons to our server via a custom admin panel our developers created for them
  3. The server generates different formats for uploaded icons: PNG, PDF, EPS. Note: the whole process takes a couple of minutes. However, some of us remember the times when it took a few days
  4. Icons are transferred then to our website and available to you the exact same moment. Now you can do with them anything you want: download them via CDN, generate fonts, recolor, customize and more!
  5. A few hours after the upload icons become available in our desktop apps for Mac and Windows

Why Are We Freemium?

One of us started as a banner ad designer for $100/month. We know how it feels when Photoshop costs you half your annual salary.

Therefore we like to give away our products and services for free to those who can’t afford to pay with money. We’re freemium.


The community appreciates it and helps us, too — not only with the links we require, but also with shares, warm comments, and icon ideas.

Free to Prototype

A lot of things require a prototype: a demo for an investor, the first version of the website or application, etc.

Unless you work for IBM, we believe it’s unethical to charge at this stage. Instead, we should share the risks with you. Use our PNG icons up to 100 pixels for free, just don’t forget to put a link to us.

  • If the design is accepted or your startup takes off, you can pay the license and share some money with us
  • If not, we share the loss and both receive nothing

Free for Open Source

That’s how it is, period.

Whom Do We Charge?

We charge corporations and governments.

However, the vast majority of our clients are neither rich nor big. They are people like us, people who

  • Receive a lot of benefits from Icons8
  • Like to get paid and like to pay for work by others
  • People who believe it’s worth the money

How Much Do We Charge?

This is a big topic. We admit we don’t put enough effort into marketing; we didn’t do enough A/B testing and other forms of experiments.

So far our findings are:

  • Lowering the price doesn’t affect profit
  • Neither is increasing the price. We did it twice
  • We did some A/B testing for price breaks: setting a $999 VIP package to make other plans cheap. It had no effect

We don’t like discounts, but we sometimes use coupons in our mailings.

  • Price should not depend on an individual’s skill at googling coupon codes
  • Sales should not make people regret buying a product the day before it goes on sale

As a rule, we should never make people sad they bought our product.

So, Does It Pay Off?

After 5 years of continuous growing, we can assure you – it does. Would you consider implementing a freemium model in your business?

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