Finding icons for your software application can be tough. There are many sources of free icons that you can easily find online with a Google search. If you’re on an incredibly tight budget, but have lots of time, this can make lots of sense. The problems with this, is the amount of time it takes to find the icons you need and often times you end up with an inconsistent look and feel in your application– your icons are often pulled from many different places, and your application looks that way.
I personally prefer to buy big sets of icons. IconShock has been selling icon sets for years, and I can highly recommend their entire icon collection which is only $299 right now– that’s over 600k icons, for only $300. That’s less than $0.0005 per icon… Or roughly 20 icons per penny. Buying icons in a set like this, it’s fairly easy to find just the right icon for every part of your application, and best of all they have the same look and feel(provided you pull from the same or a similar set).
I’ve also started to make my icons larger in my applications. Traditionally, icons are only 16×16 in menus, toolbars, etc… With higher resolutions on screens, I find it’s far best to use 24×24 icons in menus and either 24×24 or 32×3 icons in toolbars. This provides a larger area for the user to see what the icon is(showing off your snazzy new icons!), identify it with the function in your software, and click.