Fugue Icons - Alternative to Silk?

For longer than I can remember I've been using FamFamFams's Silk icons in my web applications and, more recently, in my Flex apps.

Just recently though I've been finding myself looking through the icons for an icon that isn't there, only to end settling for the next best icon for the job at hand.

Then, yesterday, I stumbled upon the Fugue icon-set, which has more than twice as many icons as Silk (although not twice as much variety upon inspection). Even if it's not an alternative to Silk it could well compliment it.

Fugue even comes with the PSD files for each icon and and shadowed/shadowless versions of each.

Whereas Silk is completely free (as I understand it) the Fugue icons require a $50 licence if you don't want to link back to their website from the site using the icons.


    • avatar
    • Salva
    • Mon 5 Oct 2009 02:20 AM

    Actually, both are distributed under the Creative Commons license, so they are equally free (as long as you mention the authors and link back to their respective sites).

    The author of Fugue is just giving the extra option to purchase the icons under a commercial license, just in case you can't do that (or don't want to).

    Even if not needed, I would pay the $50 though, if only as a way to say thanks.

    Great icon sets, by the way!

  1. I looked at Fugue a few months back and decided against it. True, there are a lot more icons with Fugue plus you get the actual PSD, but how many icons do you actually use?

    FamFamFam covers all my needs in my apps. It is a trusted loyal friend as far as I'm concerned. Besdies which, I'd have to re-do my CSS sprite layout of my common items if I changed.

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Mon 5 Oct 2009 03:58 AM

    Salva. Do you happen to know if linking back can be done from the source code (flex/html)? Or does it have to be visible to the user? Or does it depend on the stipulation of the author?

    True Dragon, I don't use many and do seem to use the same small subset over and over. But I do find myself wanting an icon not in Silk every now and then.

    Fugue seems a little better-looking too. That said, like yourself, I'll probably end up sticking with what I know.


  2. By sheer coincidence, after reading your "icons" post, I stumbled across this http://www.proudprogrammer.com/ppblog.nsf/d6plinks/RIVH-7EWER3

    What's interesting about this, besides finding an icon collection comprising more than 1.8 million icons, is that the author, Robert Ibsen Voith, has put them all in a Notes database to make it easier to search for specific icons!

    Even if you aren't taken with the idea of using Notes to store your icon collection, the series of articles makes fascinating reading :)


  3. http://www.openntf.org/Projects/pmt.nsf/ProjectLookup/Fugue+Icon+Collection

  4. great for those 16 color Notes database icons

    • avatar
    • Chris
    • Mon 5 Oct 2009 11:27 AM

    I noticed that all these sources only supply PNGs. I understand that PNG is a better format than GIF, but IE6 doesn't do PNG very well (alpha transparency). Since many companies are still standardized on IE6, I've been afraid to use PNGs on my sites. I have used the CSS hack to get them to work in IE6 in the past, but I would rather not have to rely on this hack.

    Do all of these icons not use alpha transparency? I want to be sure they are safe to use. Do any of you store them as Image Resources in the Notes database?

    • avatar
    • Jake Howlett
    • Mon 5 Oct 2009 04:05 PM

    Hi Chris. Easiest option is probably to batch convert them all to GIFs using a graphics editing tool and forget about PNGs and what browser is in use etc.

    • avatar
    • Salva
    • Tue 6 Oct 2009 02:00 AM

    There doesn't seem to be a standard way to credit the author, so I would say that it depend on the author. As a general rule, though, you must include them in the credits (in a way that it's clear that you are using their images, but they don't endorse your app).

    I don't think just including the notice in the source code would be enough. At the least, there should be a readme included with the app (when you give it to your customers) with the credits that come with each icon set. Another option would be adding a "credits" link at the bottom of the web app, that includes you and mentions them as the authors of the icons (and has links to their sites).

    Or you can pay 50$ and forget about all this :P

    @Chris I hate IE6 so much at the moment, that I have decided that as long as it just looks slightly uglier but doesn't break anything, I don't care. Of course, if the customer *cares* I would fix it, but it still has not happened.

    • avatar
    • Ferdy
    • Tue 6 Oct 2009 01:20 PM

    Personally, I'm a bit tired of standard icon sets like silk too. Also, I generally enjoy more simple, stylish icons like those found at jQuery UI:


    (scroll to bottom to see the icons)

    I find icon sets like these to be more consistent, easier on the eye, easier to integrate into a site's color scheme. Icon sets like silk scream too much colour and confusion in my opinion. This is not to say there's anything wrong with silk, in the end it's about what users like the most. The jQuery UI set is quite limited in quantity so often I create customized extra icons by reusing the icon template and then using an icon search engine to fill in the actual "glyph":



    It's a lot of effort providing a consistent and customized icon set per application, but when worth it, I go for it. It is that extra touch that makes the difference between good and great design.

  5. I justed wanted to suggest a new and better icon search engine, FindIcons.com, which has larger icon collection and complete search filters.

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