Spruce up your website (or any design) with icons and patterns


Looking to add that extra bonus flair to really make it pop?

Maybe you're shining your online look, or cooking up some bookmarks to hand out as author SWAG. Get ready to pounce! 

With a spice rack of icons and a little technical flourish, you can create a flavor that's distinctly you (or your muse/pseudonym/public mask). Here are a few sites I have found helpful.



The Noun Project

Now isn't the time to go into the technical aspects of downloading and using a design program like GIMP or Scribus. But, I do want to dwell on the questions of copyright for a moment (in a I'm-not-offering-you-legal-advice-right-now kind of way; consult a lawyer for that). Remember to offer thanks and/or money to the creatives!

There tend to be three main categories on sites like these. You'll find premium icons where you need a subscription or a one-time payment to use the icons. Some icons are offered with a creative commons license (e.g., CC3) where you can use it as long as you tell people where you got it. Occasionally you find the ones that are just plain free for any use (public domain, CC0).

You can filter the view to only see the free ones, but many of the better icons cost money. Looking good comes at a price! Whenever I download some icons, I also save a text document with the links to where I picked them up so I can make the attributions if I need. And, also not legal advice, but be sure to read the fine print. I noticed today that the Noun Project's standard Terms of Use only covers up to 1,000 copies, so if you plan to hand out 1,001 bookmarks at your next author signing....

And as a bonus for reaching the end, here's a 1/8th-baked idea for the card game Space Alligators. The background comes from Pattern Cooler (and also NASA for the swirls of Jupiter).

*click on the pictures to link back to the icon creators I used for this post, including Mavadee, Darius Dan, Smashicons (a user on iconfinder...).


  1. More techie than I'm comfortable with, but I have no doubt this post will hit the spot for those who are inclined to investigate digital design


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