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Four Free Minimalist Mini Icon Sets

written by: Amy Carson•edited by: Daniel P. McGoldrick•updated: 7/7/2010

Designers use mini icons, 16-by-16 pixels or smaller, in websites, blogs, and sometimes in print. The very best mini icons are minimalist: grayscale or one color. This article highlights four mini icon sets on the web that exemplify minimalist style.

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    Basic Icon Sets

    Icons are visual shorthand, conveying complex concepts in just a few pixels. Used judiciously, they give the reader an instant visual cue, and we find ourselves using them when developing web sites, hacking WordPress themes, and even for a fresh touch in print design.

    Mini icons are 16 x 16 pixels or smaller, meaning there's little room for frou-frou if they want to pack a big punch. Rather than fight the small size's limitations by pushing multicolored designs or foisting fancy glosses or shadows upon them, the very best mini icons say it plain — form following function.

    These four minimalist mini icon sets are the best of the best, chosen for web and blog utility and ranging in size from 10 x 10 to 16 x 16 pixels. They're either gray or one color, and its simple to modify them to whatever color you like in Photoshop.

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    1. Minimalist Pixel Icon Set from Nclud

    Nclud's minimalist pixel icons

    There are only 26 icons in this 10 x 10 set, but they're all worth it: What other set provides ninja and afro icons, all in grayscale glory?

    Click any image for a larger view.

    Ninja icon! 

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    2. Mini Icons 2 from BrandSpankingNew

    Continuing the grayscale 10 x 10 icons theme, here are 113 more, courtesy of BrandSpankingNew.

    113 10 x 10 mini icons 

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    3. Web 2.0 Basic Mini by Axialis Software

    Scroll to the bottom of the linked page for Axialis' Web 2.0 Basic Mini icon set. Downloadable in PNG, GIF, or ICO formats, the set features 172 different icons in green, blue, and orange. These icons are border-free and slightly rounded, with a subtle gradient completing the web 2.0 look. I'm also partial to the Light Grey sets and the Colored Buttons sets.

    These icons are licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which means you must credit Axialis when they are used or link to their website.

    Pretty colors 

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    4. Bitcons

    Some Random Dude's set of 121 16 x 16 icons includes objects, actions, media controls, media, browser, web, date/time, blogging, emoticons, and arrows.

    Bitcons has a sister set called Sanscons which are CSS-ready: you can apply background colors and shapes to these white icons through CSS styling, which really opens up extensability.

    bitcons preview