Flaticon and Noun Project are two popular sites where you can find free icons, stickers, vectors, and images. While they are very similar in many ways, there are also significant differences between them.
Today, I will be explaining the difference between Flaticon and Noun Project. You will learn about the different types of graphics available on each one, whether those graphics are free, and more.
After reading this article, you should have a pretty good idea of what each one is for and which one is right for you. Let’s get into it.
Flaticon is owned by FreePik Company, which also owns FreePik.
FreePik is a well-known site where you can find collections of images, icons, and other graphics. However, Flaticon is an entirely separate site.
In addition to the main FreePik website and Flaticon, FreePik Company owns a third site: Slidesgo. There is also a fourth website called Storyset, where you can access free editable illustrations for your projects.
Together, these sites make up the FreePik Company ecosystem.
FreePik Company’s mission is to provide the public with free images, mockups, PowerPoint presentation templates, Google Slides templates, and icons.
The icons and stickers are hosted on Flaticon. You can find the Google Slides and PowerPoint themes on Slidesgo, while images are on the main FreePik site.
FreePik was the first of the sites the founders, Alejandro and Pablo Blanes (who are brothers), created. Their goal was to provide designers with free images to use for their designs.
Later, they created Flaticon, so designers could find icons and stickers as well.
According to the FreePik Company, it has been named as one of the top 1000 fastest-growing companies in Europe by the Financial Times.
The Noun Project was founded in late 2010 as a Kickstarter project. Its goal was to build a “global visual language” that could unite the world.
Now, more than a decade later, Noun Project has one of the largest free icon collections on the web. Designers from more than 120 countries have contributed icons to the community.
While originally focused on icons, The Noun Project later expanded to include “art quality photos.” That happened in 2020, around 10 years after Noun Project was first founded.
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According to Flaticon, there are over 5,330,000 icons and stickers available in its library.
However, not all of those icons are free to use. As you’ll see later, most icons are hidden behind a paywall.
According to Flaticon, there are “thousands” of free icons and stickers, but it does not specify exactly how many free ones there are. Nevertheless, by conducting a simple search for “dog” icons, I found that there were well over 10,000 free dog icons.
That means that, at the very least, there are tens of thousands of free icons. Most probably, however, there are hundreds of thousands of free icons, possibly millions.
In addition, Flaticon claims that there are 5,000+ stickers available for free.
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According to Noun Project, there are over three million icons available. At first glance, that seems to be a smaller selection than what Flaticon has to offer.
However, as you will see later, all of those icons are available for free (provided certain conditions, such as attribution, are properly met).
In addition, Noun Project also has many quality photos, which are in addition to the 3+ million icons.
All photos are available for free, with certain limitations.
When I searched for dog icons on both Flaticon and Noun Project, here is what I found: Flaticon had over 20,000 dog icons (10,000+ of them free), while Noun Project had 9,000+ (all of them free).
When I searched for “washing machine” icons, Flaticon had over 5,500 icons, but only around 2,900 of them were free. On the other hand, Noun Project also had around 2,900 icons, but all of them are free.
So, for certain things, Flaticon might indeed have a larger selection available — if you have a premium plan. However, when it comes to free icons, it seems as if Flaticon and Noun Project generally offer the same range of available icons.
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While Flaticon features icons, it does not offer any images. If you sign up for any of the Flaticon plans, images will not be included — you will have to go to a separate site, like FreePik, to download images.
However, Flaticon does provide a decent selection of stickers. There won’t be nearly as many stickers as icons — for example, I found 140 dog stickers compared to more than 20,000 dog icons.
Noun Project, on the other hand, does offer pictures. All of them are free with some usage limitations, and there is a large selection of images available.
For example, there were over 550 images of dogs available, compared to 9,000+ dog icons.
However, Noun Project does not offer stickers like Flaticon does.
Flaticon offers both black and white and colorful icons. There are free icons available in both categories — simply filter for colorful icons by clicking on the Multicolor filter option.
Filter for free icons if you only want to see free colorful icons.
By default, icons on Noun Project are in black and white. You can edit the color of each icon before downloading it, but you need a paid plan to do so.
If you are on a free plan, you will have to make do with black and white icons.
Flaticon has an extension called Icons for Slides & Docs. It’s available on the Google Workspace Marketplace, and it allows you to work on Flaticon icons in:
- Google Docs
- Google Slides
- Google Sheets
Using this extension, you can instantly pull millions of icons from Flaticon, add them to Google Slides, Docs, or Sheets, and use them in your presentations.
Icons for Slides & Docs is free to use, but you will be limited to the free icons at Flaticon.
You can customize those icons as you import them directly in the Google document you are working on. For example, you can change the color or size.
In addition to the Google extension, Flaticon offers an API that developers can use, free of charge, to integrate their applications with Flaticon.
The API allows you to pull and download icons from Flaticon in either SVG or PNG format. You can make up to 100 requests per hour and 400 downloads a day on the free API plan.
If you need to download more than that, you can get the premium version of the API. Pricing is not available on the Flaticon website, and you need to contact support to request access to this plan.
Noun Project seems to offer a wider range of integrations, with more applications. It integrates with four main app suites:
Regarding Google apps: Noun Project integrates with Google Docs and Google Slides.
Noun Project also offers apps for Microsoft PowerPoint, Microsoft Word, Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Adobe InDesign.
In addition, it offers integrations with a wide range of apps on Mac, including:
While Noun Project integrates with a lot of applications, it offers limited access for those using one of its integrations for free.
You will only get access to 100 starter icons for free when using Noun Project with one of the apps it integrates with. You will need to upgrade to a premium plan to access additional icons.
Also, you will not be able to change the color or size of an icon you are importing unless you have a premium plan.
Not only that, but you will not be able to pull any photos using the integration, even if you have the premium plan. You can purchase photos separately on Noun Project, but the integrations can only pull icons.
Noun Project, like Flaticon, does offer a free API. However, you are limited to 5,000 calls a month. When you consider that Flaticon’s free API allows you to make 100 calls per hour and 400 downloads a day, you’ll realize that Flaticon offers a superior free plan.
At least Noun Project is a bit more transparent about premium API pricing — plans start at $150/month (check the pricing page for updated API pricing).
However, there’s no more information beyond that, such as how many calls per month that includes and the different tiers of premium access. You still need to email the Noun Project support team for more information.
So, who wins here? It’s hard to say.
On the one hand, Noun Project integrates with more apps. However, those integrations are pretty limited for free users, so if you are on a budget, Flaticon will be a better choice.
You can add as many new emojis or icons to the pattern. It’s not a very advanced tool, and it won’t do you much good for complex graphic design needs, but it’s pretty fun to use — and it’s free.
FreePik Company, the owner of Flaticon, also offers a free online design tool called Wepik. Wepik offers free design templates for Instagram stories, resumes, and many other categories and allows you to design them using its online tool.
However, Wepik is a separate site.
Using Lingo, you can create a design color palette and logo for your team to follow when designing brand materials, as well as tone of voice and typography guidelines.
You can drag and drop UI components into your online hub to stay organized and create a digital asset library you can use to power future designs and online creations.
Resizing assets and converting them to different file types are just two tasks you’ll find easy to do with Lingo. Overall, Lingo is an excellent tool for storing and managing your assets and providing a brand style guide for your team.
You can protect your digital asset library and style guide with a password or make it available to the public.
Lingo is not free to use, but you can get a 30-day free trial without entering any payment information.
Flaticon allows you to sign up for a designer account and contribute designs. You will earn money when people download your icons or icon packs.
Not all icons will be accepted. Icons must conform to strict guidelines, and if they don’t meet them, Flaticon may reject them.
Nevertheless, if your designs are accepted, you can start earning money and get paid every month. Earnings vary based on how many downloads your icons get.
Your RPI, or Return Per Icon, will be a metric used to help you track your average return per icon submitted.
Payments are made via PayPal or Payoneer, but it will take a couple of months after first submitting the icons to get your payout.
Noun Project allows contributors to submit both icons and photos — but there is a crucial difference: The icon contributor program is open to the public, and anyone can join.
However, the photo contribution program is by invitation only. Nevertheless, you can apply for an invitation here.
According to Noun Project, its top photo contributors made between $18,000 and $72,000 in the year 2020.
Although anyone can join the icon contributor program, your icons will still go through a moderation process to ensure they meet quality guidelines.
If someone purchases an icon, you will get 60 percent of the sale; if someone downloads your icon through a premium subscription plan, you will get a royalty as well.
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- Thousands of icons are available for free
- Colorful icons are available for free
- Stickers are available for free
- Create patterns using the free tool
- Integrate with Google Docs, Sheets, and Slides for free
- No images
- You need to add attribution on the free plan
- No integrations with Adobe, Microsoft tools
- All icons are available for free
- Images available
- Lingo team management and digital asset management tool available
- Only black and white icons are available for free
- Pay per icon is expensive
- Free photo downloads have low resolution
Flaticon offers a free plan, as already mentioned, which gives you access to thousands of free icons and stickers. The premium plan usually costs $12.99/month if paid monthly or $8.25/month if paid yearly.
However, check the pricing page for updated information, as pricing is subject to change, and there are often sales or discounts. For example, as you can see in the screenshot above, plans are currently 30 percent off.
Also, pricing can vary by region and currency.
Why sign up for the premium plan? On the free plan, you have to include an attribution to the creator of the work; on the premium plan, you get a full license with no attribution required.
Also, you get access to premium icons and stickers, and you can use the Flaticon site without seeing any ads.
Noun Project has a more complicated pricing scheme, with different pricing tiers for both icons and photographs.
For icons, the free plan gives you access to over three million icons, but only in PNG or SVG format, and attribution is required. Additional plans are as follows:
- Pro Icon Downloads, $2.99/icon: No attribution required, edit icons, and change their color. Pay per icon.
- NounPro, $39.99/year: Use integrations with all icons, use Noun Project without ads.
- NounPro Team, $39.99/year per user: Share icons with team members.
The free plan also allows you access to photos, but only with a resolution of 0.2 MP and a Creative Commons license.
Each photo can be bought for $8.50 for use without attribution, download in 5 MP resolution, usage on 100 printed materials, and the ability to crop the photo. For $33/photo, you can get it in 10+ MP resolution, use it on 250,000 printed copies, build on the image or make a derivative, and use it commercially.
Always check the pricing page for updated pricing information.
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I believe Flaticon is superior. You shouldn’t need to sign up for a premium plan to download icons; there are enough resources online that are 100 percent free to use.
Flaticon’s free plan is superior to Noun Project’s free plan. The number of free icons available on both websites aren’t that different, but Noun Project limits you to black and white icons, while Flaticon lets you download colorful icons for free.
Benjamin Levin is a digital marketing professional with 4+ years of experience with inbound and outbound marketing. He helps small businesses reach their content creation, social media marketing, email marketing, and paid advertising goals. His hobbies include reading and traveling.