Web Icons - Introduction


An icon is a symbol that is used to represent a specific action or a capability on a webpage. Icons are used in documents as well as applications and they can be either selectable or non-selectable. For example, the images that we see on the buttons of an application are all icons and these buttons are selectable. Similarly, when we use an icon as a company logo, it is normally non-selectable.

In Windows environment, if we mute the system volume, it will be represented with the help of an icon, as shown below.


Using web icons, we can represent a loading page, a disabled option, a link, a redirection, etc. These icons can be flipped, rotated, resized, bordered, inverted, and colored.

Icon Fonts

Icon Fonts contain symbols and glyphs. Once you load a desired font, you can use any of the icons provided by that font using the class name of the icon. We can also apply different colors to the icons and resize them using the CSS properties. There are several icon libraries(fonts) that provide icons. This tutorial focuses on three main fonts, namely −

  • Font Awesome
  • Bootstrap Glyphicons
  • Google's Material Icons

Font Awesome

This font provides 519 free scalable vector icons. This library is completely free, for both personal as well as commercial use. These icons can be customized easily. Originally, they were developed for Bootstrap.

Bootstrap Glyphicons

This is a library of monochromatic icons available in raster image formats, vector image formats, and as fonts. It provides over 250 glyphs in font format. You can use these fonts in your web projects. These icons are not free, however you can use them in Bootstrap based projects without having to purchase them.

Google's Material Icons

Google provides about 750 icons designed under "material designed guidelines" and these are known as Material Design icons. These icons are simple and they support all modern web browsers. Since these icons are vector based, they are scalable as well. To use these icons, we have to load the font (library) material-icons.