Infographic Icons – Why and How to Use Them

Today we are releasing our searchable collection of infographic icons. How did infographic icons come to exist?

The story starts with the man you see on every public bathroom door along with the woman. He has a way of showing up in airports and on highways. But never for long. If he is the world’s most recognizable icon, why don’t we see more of him? This is about to change.

The Most Recognizable Icon

This man turns out to be one of the most common and recognizable icons in the world. First designed by AIGA and adopted by National Park Service, it made its way into many interfaces and more recently into infographics. It turns out, this kind of icon is the easiest to modify without losing all meaning.   

Same man, different lives.

It also turns out that this kind of icon is enough to tell powerful stories. Like this one.

This infographic reached more than 1 million people and counting.

(Full infographic)

And this is only five icons. No illustration. There is also no magic. Icons, in my opinion, give you that most direct way of telling a story without distracting with the details.

I did not invent this idea. Otto Neurath did. Except he borrowed it from the Egyptians. So this trick is at least 3,000 years old.


So, today we are releasing a searchable set of infographic icons that use this man as the single style guide. Because he is so universally recognized, you can do a lot of things with this symbol such as showing numbers and making charts and diagrams. You can also make new icons out of him.


A New Way to Search Icons

To see the whole collection of the “man”, “woman” and other icons, you can search by visual element here.

It gets better. You can even combine any two of the visual elements to search by. Even three. For example, let’s say you are working on a presentation about crowdfunding. You know you want an icon that should people and money in it. You can select the person icon and the dollar sign icon to see all the icons that have people and money in them.

Why Infographic Icons

When I started making infographics, I spent a lot of my time searching for icons that could tell a story. I noticed that most icons were made for interfaces and were not expressive enough to use an in an infographic. This is how this collection started. And now you can use it for free.

How to Use Infographic Icons

If you are working inside PowerPoint or Illustrator, you can download the PNG or the SVG and one the file and then paste the icon into your document. This would also work for PowerPoint.

If you want to then use some of the icons in your article, you can paste them directly into your editor as a Base 64, which is just a link that you paste.

You can color and re-size the icons for free.

If you want to save time from having to download and upload the icon, head over to to get your free trial. You can insert any icon directly into your document in Adioma.