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If you are a designer or a developer, then I'm sure you are familiar with IconFinder and I bet you would agree when I say that its the one and the only place to get high quality icons on the web.

IconFinder, at first might look a bit similar to Google but once you start exploring the website you'll realize that its just a search engine for icons.

IconFinder is the brainchild of Martin LeBlanc, who is based in Copenhagen, Denmark and was launched in 2007. Its the first search engine which is totally focused on icons.

You can download icons as per your need. You can either directly download the icons you require or sign-up with IconFinder, download and keep track of your downloads. Read on to know more about IconFinder in our exclusive interview with Martin LeBlanc.

1. Hi Martin, please introduce yourself to our readers.

My name is Martin LeBlanc. 31 years old and currently living in Copenhagen, Denmark. In 2007, I started Iconfinder.com which is the largest site for icons on the web today.

2. What is IconFinder and what inspired you to come up with it?

IconFinder is basically a search engine for icons. It looks a lot like Google (which isn't an coincidence).



3. How easy is managing 234,641 icons? What quality criteria do you use to allow an icon to be included as a part of your collection?

That's actually starting to get really tough. I can almost remember all the icons, so whenever someone submits icons that are already indexed I can quickly avoid adding them again. But it's starting to get pretty complex and the database is heavy to work with.

Quality is very subjective. For the creative part I go with what I personally like and what I can see is popular among the users. I sometimes gets mails from angry users if I add ugly icons. It's as much about adding the right icons as it is leaving out the bad ones.

4. What measures do you have in place to ensure that icon designs are not plagiarized as well as how you avoid duplicate/similar icons? Please explain your licensing model to us.

We definitely try to avoid copy-cats. That's actually not a very big problem and very easy to spot, because it's mostly the really popular icons that gets copied.

Duplicates can be avoided through a simple check you can do with the code. All icons have a unique code and that code can't be present multiple times in the database.



5. IconFinder is described as the #1 marketplace for finding icons online. How has the journey been to this point? What has been the biggest compliment that you have received since you launched IconFinder?

It's been an amazing journey. I started out in my dorm room while working full-time and studying. Everyday I tried to squeeze in an hour or two where I could work on the site. I spent entire summer vacations coding, weekends, mornings. I was really tough in the beginning. A year ago I met with a friend who previously have raised money to another start-up. He joined me and we raised money from a danish venture capitalist. We're now three guys working on it full-time and it's amazing!

6. Please explain your monetization model to us.

We're planning to build a marketplace, we're designers call sell icons and the users get an alternative to the free icons. Many users prefer to spend a little money and get higher quality.

7. Apart from designing and developing IconFinder, what other activities do you indulge in? What do you find most relaxing?

I run marathons. It's both relaxing to run when you get in shape and it really helps lower the stress-level. I also love producing music. It time-consuming and I can easily spend a weekend working on a new track.

8. What other designers/entrepreneurs do you look up to personally? If you could spend some time with one of them who would it be and why?

I really like what Joel and the team at buffer are doing. They have created a successful company blog at the same time as building a cool product. I think that's a good example of how to market a product on the web today. And it's really hard to do.

9. What are your future plans for IconFinder? Any new feature(s)/enhancement(s) in the pipeline?

Yeah, we're planning to support vector formats and are also considering integrating with dropbox so you can pull in your own personal icon collection.

10. What advice would you like to give to aspiring and budding designers?

Work really hard, learn as much as you can, don't say no too often and remember to have fun. And don't watch TV.

Thanks Martin for taking out the time and doing this interview with us. We'd like to wish you and IconFinder the very best for the future.

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