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10 Sets of Navigation Icons

When designing a navigation app or map plugin, your chosen set of icons should stand out and look good. They should also be?above all else?clear, recognizable, and representative of the features. Don’t make the user encounter any more confusion and frustration when using your software to find their way around or locate a destination. Remember, they may already be lost.

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To help you out (and point you in the right direction), take a look at this collection of effective navigation icons you can download as modifiable vectors.

Vector Navigation Icons


Flat Navigation Icons

GPS Navigation Icons


Map and Navigation Icons

Line Navigation Icons


When Choosing Your Icon Set

These map icons cover options over a scale of navigation, whether you are denoting national cross-city routes, national landmarks, global directions, and any number of signal markers along the way.

When choosing your icon set, there are 2 main aspects to consider: design and functionality.

These two aspects are intertwined in many ways. The design should help functionality, and the function should dictate the limits and shape of the design.

Keeping this in mind, a good icon has to have these features:

  • Instantly recognizable. A flag should look like a flag.
  • Has a unique shape suited to its function. The pin-pointer icon has become a classic icon for this reason. Any modification to it has to retain the basic shape for people to understand what it means.
  • Has few details. Only the essential lines and not too many features. Don’t let the user waste time trying to figure out what has popped up on the screen and what it means.
  • Has carefully chosen colors. They should not be clashing and confusing. It is also possible to use icons without color, and so the shape is of utmost importance. If you are using colored icons (recommended when set against colored maps), the psychological effect of each hue and shade must be taken into account. There is a reason most of the pin-point icons are a bold, urgent, stand-out red instead of blue.

Mobile Navigation Icons


Navigation Bar Icons


Map and Location Navigation Icons

Satellite Navigation Icons


Global Navigation Icons

When Choosing Your Icon Set (contd.)

As a good standard, default option, go for a flat icon design. Most of the icon sets here follow this standard. A flat design, as opposed to a realistic (“skeuomorphic”) design, is the go-to option especially for icon sets that involve a lot of abstract concepts.

The most common icons for functions or features you will most likely need include the following map legends:

  • Location pointer
  • A compass (usually only showing true north)
  • Airport
  • Fuel/gas/petrol station
  • Train station
  • Bus station
  • Ferry ports and routes
  • Churches
  • Restaurants
  • Vehicle icons (taxis, buses, bikes, etc.)

Satellite symbols and other GPS keys have also become standard, but don’t use anything you have no actual use or feature for.

These sets are readily available in free PSD and vector files, so you can completely customize their shapes and sizes for your purposes.

Note that the key purpose of a navigation app or software is exactly that: navigation. When choosing your icon set, make sure you have the full range of guiding and location icons covered.

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