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IconFinder v. IconLet: battle of the icon search engine

IconFinder and IconLet are two icon search engines, each with their own strengths and weaknesses. In this post I provide a simple comparison of both based upon features, ease-of-use, search results and image quality:

Tale of the Tape:

In the right corner, wearing the teal and lime green logo, IconFinder:
iconfinder

A nifty little project by Martin Leblanc whom after suffering the ‘Slashdot effect‘ via Digg and Lifehacker, is now back online with a more robust hosting service and search engine algorithm.

In the left corner, wearing the orange and pea-soup green logo, IconLet:
iconlet
Billing itself as a “simple search engine for free icons, images …simple but has a few nice features.

Licensing:

Nothing will get you and/or your ‘cool church website’ in trouble faster than illegally rendering copyrighted and/or not-so-royalty free icons and images. Below is a detail of the various licenses supported by both icon search engines:

IconFinder

All of the icons offered are protected by the following licences.

IconLet

All icons, images available in Iconlet are released under below licenses.

Interface:

Below is an enumeration of various user interface features pertinent to finding stuff fast and accurately:

IconFinder

  • AJAX supported – deprecates nicely
  • XHTML Strict – not valid
  • Accessible HTML
  • Home/search page: 92271 bytes
  • ISDN Load Time: 12.43 seconds

IconLet

  • No AJAX/DHTML support
  • XHTML Transitional – not valid
  • Not-so Accessible HTML
  • Home/search page: 18170 bytes
  • ISDN Load Time: 2.11 seconds

Simple Search:

Here are some simple searches based on some common key words – at least for most of my readers:

IconFinder

  • home: 50 icons of all sizes
  • email: 50 icons of all sizes
  • search: 50 icons of all sizes
  • print: 100 icons of all sizes
  • church: none
  • iconfinder: none

IconLet

  • home: 597 icons of all sizes
  • email: 137 icons of all sizes
  • search: 121 icons of all sizes
  • print: 1270 icons of all sizes
  • church: none
  • iconlet: none

Advanced Search Features:

Sometimes, you need a specific size, phrase – or a way to browse the available icons. Here are some of the features offered by both services along those lines:

IconFinder

  • All the icons are in PNG-format (only)
  • No advanced search page
  • Offers ‘tag-driven’ a ‘search cloud‘ page
  • Offers an ‘RSS feed’ to keep track of recent updates
  • Dashboard Widget – for Mac users only
  • Icons can be filtered by size AFTER they are found
  • Found items listing/display links for tags, download and license
  • A choice of white and black backgrounds are offered
  • Can click on individual image display details license, download, etc…
  • Individual image display includes big, easy-to-use ‘download’ button
  • Individual image display includes listing of all the icon’s associated ‘tags’ to search for similar entries

IconLet

  • Offers an ‘advanced search‘ page based on common fields, but some fields that should be multi-select are not
  • Offers a ‘browse‘ feature that lets you select images by size, or type, or license
  • Offers a search plug-in for FireFox 2
  • Supports both PNG and GIF image formats
  • Can click on individual image display details license, contributor, etc…
  • Individual image display includes link to similar items

Wish List:

Both of these icon search engines are nice, but they’d be a whole heck of a lot nicer if they included the following features:

IconFinder

  • advanced search (keyword, image type, license, image size range)
  • FireFox plug-in
  • List of all available tags
  • Slightly faster page load
  • Encourage contribution through image attribution
  • Update the blog a bit more often

IconLet

  • tags & tag cloud
  • multiple selections in advanced search
  • RSS feed of new items
  • get a blog
  • prune away some of the fuzzier images
  • less tables, more divs – better CSS
  • more informative icon listing results display

What would Dean use?

This is subjective, but I found that while IconFinder had less icons to offer – they were of a higher quality and utility than many of those provided by IconLet.

I do think IconLet offers some advantages in speed – and though not the greatest quality – a larger selection that is not restricted to PNG images only.

Still, I think the ability to see related tags for individual image – and see said images with a choice of black or white backgrounds makes IconFinder more useful to the type of icon work I need to get done.

Finally, one other reason I think I lean towards IconFinder is their tag cloud – which I found very useful. Now if they’d offer some sort of persistent filter and sort for size before I engage in a search, I think I’d have just about everything I need.

Your mileage may vary.

7 Comments

  1. Pingback: University Update - Firefox - IconFinder v. IconLet: battle of the icon search engine

  2. Pingback: Battle of the icon search engine « Iconfinder

  3. Pingback: Alt Search Engines » Blog Archive » Iconlet vs. Iconfinder - Icon Search Engines

  4. I think another site:veryicon.com is better than the sites you metioned above.
    * home: 82 icons of all sizes
    * email: 44 icons of all sizes
    * search: 59 icons of all sizes
    * print: 58 icons of all sizes
    * church: 1 icons for all sizes
    the results are matching more exactly and the quality of icons are more higher.

  5. Pingback: rIconos, iconos, hasta cuando iconos????? - Oscar J. Berroterán

  6. Pingback: Iconos, iconos, hasta cuando iconos????? - Oscar Berroteran

  7. Pingback: rIconos, iconos, hasta cuando iconos????? - Oscar Berroteran