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Icons are an essential building block used when designing a website. Having a consistent icon style used throughout a website helps to tie the whole theme of the design together.
Designing all your icons from scratch helps to create a unique look and feel for a website, but eats up far too much time when there are already plenty of great icon sets that you can find online.
When working with icons for Webflow, the usual process is: dropping all the icons you want to use into a design program such as Figma, recolouring them, exporting them, and uploading them to Webflow.
You can then create a folder for all of your icons to keep things as neat and tidy as you can.
The issue with this is that you still have to source all of the icons yourself, and once you've added them you can't change the colour of any of them. You also will still have all the icons in the rest of your images files when trying to browse for other assets.
Though this way of working with icons is straight forward, it's not as flexible as it could be, and when you start adding in too many icons, it becomes even more of a pain to browse them.
So what's the alternative?
Icon fonts are a type of font we can install to add icons into our Webflow project. Instead of working with them in the assets tab of a project, we install the font, and change our font to the icon font whenever we want to add an icon.
Working this way we can change the colour of all our icons at any time, as the icons will be coloured the same way fonts in our projects are. This is much more flexible to use the icon how you want, and gives you plenty more icon options to choose from without it taking up any space in your assets library.
If you've never worked with an icon font set before, a good one to start with is Google's Material Icons. The style options to choose from include outlined, filled, rounded, sharp, and two tone. Through their Github page, you can download the font for the style that you want.
Once you've downloaded the option you want, upload it in the fonts tab of your project settings. You upload this font the same way you upload any other custom font, through the Custom Fonts section. Format the name in all caps so you can see the font name easily in the designer.
Now that you've installed the font, jump into the project designer so we can use it.
Start with a Webflow template and have your new website up in no time.
Add in a text block where you want to add an icon, and set up a class for anytime you want to add an icon. Change the font to your new icon font, and don't worry when it makes the text look strange.
Whenever you want to use an icon, you simply go to the icon page of the font you've installed. In our case, we will go to the Material icons font page. Here we can search for the icon we want to use through the search field, otherwise we can browse to find a good icon.
Once you've found an icon we want to use, all you need to do is click on it, and then copy the name of the icon. This is easiest to do by copying the name from the top right of the page.
Paste the name into your text block that you've just added. It should look like this, with only the first letter being visible.
To get the icon to show, we just have to change the caps to lowercase, and we can do this through the text settings on the right. Change Capitalise to lowercase, and our icon will appear!
If the icon has a name that is more than one word, such as Flash On, instead of copying the name of the icon, you will want to copy the name in the embed settings, so that you are instead inserting flash_on into the text block.
From here, we can adjust the colour, size, and padding to better suit the space it is used in.
That's the truely flexible way of working with icons in Webflow, and once you get the hang of it, it becomes second nature to use.
Being able to change the colour of the icons at any time makes this the best solution available right now, and gives you a much broader range of icons to choose from. Let's hope in the future that Webflow adds a better way to work with and organise icons, but for now, this is a great workaround.
Once you've mastered using icon fonts, you can add custom code snippets that take your website to the next level.
Here are some tips and tricks to keep in mind:
Lest we forget some mistakes to avoid when using icons:
Icons play a crucial role in web design by conveying information, improving user navigation, and enhancing the overall user experience.
You can find icons on websites like Font Awesome, Iconfinder, and Material Icons. These resources offer a wide variety of icons for different purposes.
To optimize icons for SEO, ensure they are appropriately placed, use alt text and aria labels, and focus on improving user engagement and experience.
Common mistakes include overloading pages with icons, using icons with unclear meanings, neglecting accessibility, and failing to update icons to match design trends.
Icon accessibility is essential for an inclusive website, ensuring that all users, including those with disabilities, can access and understand the content on your site.
Learn about why and how you can create a design system for your Webflow website.
Show your customers why picking your product over the competition is a no brainer.