I sincerely apologize if this question is way too amateurish but I really could use some opinions on this.

I know there are places and ways to get icons online, but a) those options at times are pretty pricey, b) it's not always easy or possible to find icons in one style that would fit a given project, and c) I also know that some clients in their briefs request custom icons to be made. So is it worth it to invest time in learning icon design, especially in the beginning? And what UI/UX designers usually do? Do they design their icons themselves, or do they buy them, outsource, etc?

  • 1
    Your question is not well defined and answers will be opinion based, which don't fly here. Your question will get downvoted and flagged pretty quickly. I suggest you read the help part of this community and edit your question. Feb 27, 2018 at 18:07
  • Yes, this question is off topic of this site, because it will result in opinionated answers. FWIW, time spent learning icon design would probably be considered by most here to be a waste of time. Icons are difficult to use effectively, even with the best intentions (google: icon usability) and there's a vast selection of free and cheap options out there (e.g. www.flaticon.com and others) If you're looking for a focus area, consider becoming fluent in grid-based design and acquiring the required knowledge to design for multiple device sizes and translating designs into different view sizes.
    – dennislees
    Feb 27, 2018 at 18:28
  • @Rob Earle Thank you but I'm not sure how I can edit the question without making it misleading.
    – grimreaper
    Feb 27, 2018 at 19:39
  • @dennislees Thank you very much, that is very helpful.
    – grimreaper
    Feb 27, 2018 at 19:40
  • As a disclaimer, I would say that you shouldn't have any expectations about what you might or might not be asked to do because I don't think there is a very good distinction or understanding between the different types of UI/UX jobs. But since you said UI/UX designer and not UX designer, the answer would have to be yes because the icon is part of the user interface. The UX designer would consider the best theme/style for the icon to suit the experience, but the technical job of creating the graphic assets would fall into the responsibility of a visual designer.
    – Michael Lai
    Feb 28, 2018 at 0:53

2 Answers 2


In the beginning, I would say it is not worth it unless icon design is something you plan to specialize in.

As a UI and Web Designer, I often pull icons from icon fonts, such as FontAwesome, Glyphicons, Ionicons, and Material icons from Google. You should be working on understanding the process as a whole, whereas designing icons would be more nuanced and extremely time-consuming, which would take away from the entirety of your design.

You can design the whole interface with "filler" icons and then go back at the end and tighten them up to fit your project if you think that's best.

  • Thank you very much. I probably should have clarified this right off the bat but I know about icon fonts, and I'm primarily concerned about those bigger icons that you see e.g. in landing pages' major sections like "features." Some of them do look pretty custom made. (Nevertheless, that was very helpful.)
    – grimreaper
    Feb 27, 2018 at 19:53
  • No problem. I would still tackle those last as they are (in most cases) not the most important pieces of the puzzle.
    – sjsteve
    Feb 27, 2018 at 21:09

Unless you need something really special and custom made, most of the time there is no need to "invent the wheel" and try to create a fresh look for let's say customers icon, as web users have an idea of how it needs to look already. It's similar to road signs, they are all internationally recognized and haven't changed.

In your position, I would check what is the common way of designing a particular set of an icon and then add some custom tweak if it's necessary for the design. Sites like thenounproject.com are full with reference icons, give it a try. Good Luck!

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