The Noun Project offers a large collection of vetted symbols that visually convey meaning. Some images are public domain, while others are protected by a Creative Commons license or copyright. Licensing information is provided in the Details box for each image. The symbols contributed by The Noun Project itself are excellent and have generous CC Attribution licenses. The teapot shown in the image below is an example of a contribution by The Noun Project.
Since this post was written The Noun Project became a membership site. Although you can download public domain images without signing up, you won’t be able to do much without registering. A free account lets you download and use icons with a CC Attribution license. If you can’t or don’t want to comply with the CC Attribution requirement, then you’d need to buy a membership plan. The least expensive paid plan is $10 per month for 10 icons. Since I can’t imagine having a need for that many icons, I signed up for the Free plan with pay-as-you-go licensing.
The collection is fun to browse and easy to search. It will be the first place I look, from now on. Much easier than searching through dingbat or picture fonts. I get most of my fonts at MyFonts.com, which has a great selection of display and pictorial fonts, but I am loath to buy a new font for one glyph, unless it’s extraordinary.
The Noun Project has symbols contributed from all over the world and browsing is addictive. Downloads are SVG (Scalable Vector Graphic) files, a format that displays very well in modern browsers (Firefox, Chrome, Opera, IE9). To edit vector images, you’ll need Adobe Illustrator or graphics software that can handle vector drawings. SVG-edit is a free online vector graphics editor that you can download and use in your browser. As the samples below illustrate, you can fill them with color, gradients, or backgrounds to blend with your website.