How to Choose The Right Custom Icons: 10 Beautiful Examples to Get Inspired By

Custom icons are like kitchen cabinet hardware – small and easily overlooked, but can make a huge impact. Find all about custom icons and how to get them here!

September 26, 2023

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Icons are very versatile and important in graphic design. However, they’re small and easily overlooked. Let’s learn how to choose the best custom icons for your designs!

What are icons?

Icons are little visual elements that serve a specific function within a design. For example, x buttons, share buttons, homepage buttons are all icons. Here we’ll learn all about custom icons .

All icons are different, but they all need to have the same style for the design to feel like a cohesive unit. That’s why icons come in sets. The number of icons in a set varies, but typically is around a few hundred.

There are thousands of icon sets that can fit almost any design idea. However, they have a selection of most commonly used icons. This might be a problem if you have special functions in mind for your project.

Premade icons

Like their name suggests, premade icons come in sets that are readily available. Like any good icon set, premade icons follow the same visual style.

However, they have a finite amount of designs. Icon pictures can be very generalized, so   this means that they might not be the best idea if you need custom app icons for specific functions or features.

Custom icons

Custom icons are icons that were designed for a specific project such as a website or app. They are the functional buttons that reflect the visual identity of the project.

As we’ve said, icons are small elements and as such, people tend to overlook them while visualizing a design. But a custom icon can really kick a design up a notch. Custom icons show a level of detail-orientation that is sure to impress users.

With a custom icon set you can be sure you’ll get icons that complement and enhance your design, and that you have an adequate icon for any function. You won’t have to fret about having to repurpose or change icons in the middle of project development.

How to pick a style for app icons?

A distinct visual style is one of the strongest pieces of your brand’s identity. Apps icons and any other icons must work together with the theme you pick. There are many amazing custom app icons out there, so keep your eyes open for inspiration.

Icon colors

A good starting point is a color scheme. A color scheme is the ultimate design lynchpin. Be sure that you identify the main colors, they are the ones you should have in mind for your custom icons.

Colors can hugely impact the choices you make. You want to avoid clashing but having a little contrast can go a long way. Not only that, having small items such as icons pop can give that contrast in a subtle, yet effective way. Bright colors are all the rage in app icon design this year.


ManyPixels icon set design

ManyPixels icon set design

ManyPixels icon set design

Below we can see a great example of functional custom apps icons. It’s clear from the first glance what every icon does. Whether it’s the chat icon or the escape icon, there can be no doubt.

When you use custom icons you can be sure that your customers will be able to use the website or app with no problem, even if they’re a first-time user. The best thing about custom icons is you can get the right icon, no matter how specific or unusual the function it represents is.

ManyPixels icon set design

ManyPixels icon set design

ManyPixels icon set design

ManyPixels icon set design

ManyPixels icon set design

ManyPixels icon set design

ManyPixels icon set design

Another thing you should definitely consider is the background of your design. Icons need to be visible and accessible to users. That’s why it’s imperative to have contrasting icons and backgrounds. If you have a light background, consider darker shades for the icons.

The icon set below cleverly uses complementary colors (purple and yellow) to create a dynamic style. Complementary colors are incredibly effective when you want to emphasize certain elements of a design.


Design Style

Is your style minimalistic? Is it traditional? Either way, your icons need to be in line with the other visual elements.

The icon set below is distinctly minimalist. The lines are simple, clean and convey the message with no frills. Minimalist styles are a great choice if you want other design elements to shine.


The next design is also fairly minimalist, with no color and no shaded areas. The lines are precise, but they still have tons of character and movement to them.


That’s not to say that traditional style has no place in icon pictures. Traditional style has weight that can be a fantastic fit for a brand. Below you can see two icon sets that just shine with charm and personality that can come from custom icon design leaning towards a traditional look.

The first is a detailed design icon set that is both playful and informative. The colorful backgrounds let the icon design shine.


The second has a distinct theme that clearly has something to do with law and finance. The icons have loads of character which can really make an app or website feel authentic. Not only that, icons such as these can be great for breaking up an otherwise serious and, sometimes dull, design for a platform about finance.



Icons need to help users accomplish tasks. They need to convey clear messages, so the user experience can be as intuitive as possible. Good icons speak every language in the world.

Being functional is the main job of an icon. So, this aspect deserves the utmost care and attention.

The icon set below is minimalist and straightforward. It has clean lines that are all about functionality. They can be an amazing addition for a number of projects and can easily adapt to any style, whether for an app or a website. That’s why it’s a good idea to have a great custom icon set.



The level of detail when you create a custom apps icon can be a bit difficult to decide. You want your icons to be clear-cut and unambiguous. This is paramount for a good user experience design.

There are several things to consider when you think about how much detail to add when you create icon designs. There are a few different types of detail you can add - color shades, drawings, animation etc.

It might not be the best idea to add all of them. Icons that are too detailed can slow down an app or webpage and also look confusing and cluttered.

Below we see an icon set that’s meant for an accommodation booking website or app. The icons clearly state what kinds of accommodation users can find. They have relatively detailed line art, but only one color – blue.


The next icon set has fewer details in line art, but it uses blue and green to make the icons more dynamic and distinct. It also has a bit of shadowing that gives the designs depth. The icons all have a similar look and vibe to them, but you can clearly discern one from the other.


How to make custom icons?

If you decide to have custom icons, well done. You’ve made the right decision.

There are many ways to make custom app icons. And it might seem like a good idea to create your own, not only for cutting cost, but also because you know best what your icons need to look like.

If you are considering DIY design, icons are not a bad place to start. Designing an icon is a simple project, which you can tackle even if you’re a beginner. If you want to learn how to  make custom icons, it definitely pays to learn the basics of graphic design, especially if you have a knack for art.

Still, creating a whole set of icons is more difficult and takes longer than you might think, especially if you’re not a designer yourself. What should have been a job delegated to someone else can become a never-ending nightmare. In the end, DIY design can end up costing more time and money.

Luckily, there’s another route to take with finding custom icons. There are many awesome icon templates, often for free. You can even get amazing icons on the Many Pixels website!

How to get custom app icons?

ManyPixels design team has created many amazing custom icon sets, some of which you’ve just seen. However, with a ManyPixels subscription you can get so much more.

Our team is creative and versatile and they can create any visual you could ever need. Whether it’s logos, landing pages, illustrations, or indeed custom icons, we’ve got you covered.

Not only that, a subscription with ManyPixels is definitely the fastest and most affordable option in the long run. Your ideas will be executed to perfection! With a ManyPixels subscription, you will get the first draft back in 1-2 business days. That means the whole process is faster and more adaptable.

With our various subscription plans, you will definitely find one that will best suit your needs. On top of that, our Dedicated Designer allows you to collaborate directly with your designer to ensure you get your ideas across.

Plus, Many Pixels offers a 14-day money-back guarantee, which means you can try our services completely risk free. Head over to the pricing page and pick your plan. Or book a free demo consultation to learn more about our sevice.

I hold two degrees in history, and am currently working on a project of creating a digital library of Medieval manuscripts. I still like to have a foot in the 21st century though, so I write freelance about my other big passion, art and design. All Lord of the Rings references and puns I make are intentional.

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