Maki is a simple and clean set of ‘point of interest’ icons licensed under BSD - free for use by anyone, for anything, and on any map. This new 2.0 release, coming more than two years since the first Maki set, is a complete redesign. I have literally re-concepted every symbol from the ground up, based on our internal needs to add context and display data points on our maps.

Maki icons in a grid

This is part of our effort to grow the creative map making space for users who want to make their own custom base map from OpeStreetMap with TileMill and OSM Bright and for those who just want to use the new global MapBox base maps (also designed on OpenStreetMap) that we will be releasing later this month. While there are a lot of global base maps out there with point of interest icons, Google is the only map provider that we really felt took the time to make a nice, refined set. But these icons are all closed source and only can be used with Google maps. We wanted to not only make Maki as unified and comprehensive as Google’s set but also have it be totally customizable and freely available as people design maps in TileMill.

Anatomy of a Maki icon

Close-up of icon

Before laying down a single bezier curve, we started by defining these design parameters:

  • First and foremost, each icon should be simple, clear, and have a unique silhouette.

  • Maki icons are unified stylistically through subtle rounded corners, minimal negative space, and consistent line weights.

  • Use internationally recognized icons, based on AIGA Symbols or other commonly-used symbols.

  • Each icon is a single color, with no transparency except for a 30% opaque 1px white outline. The outline lets Maki icons stand out against dark and complex backgrounds.

  • Each icon is drawn separately at three different sizes - 24px, 18px, and 12px - in order to preserve crispness and clarity at each size.

  • The 24px icon should be able to scale up to any size and still look good.

  • The icons must look as similar as possible at all sizes so transitions between zoom levels are smooth.

Easy to customize and use

Maki was designed in the open source vector editor Inkscape, and we’ve included the .SVG source in the download. In Inkscape you can can recolor, modify, or add new icons to suite your map, and we’ve given each icon a unique ID so batch exporting .PNG’s with descriptive names is easy. Just select every icon (or just the ones you want), choose “Export Bitmap” from the “File” menu, check the “Batch Export” toggle, and export.

For instructions on using Maki in your next TileMill project, check out the documentation.

Open source

As I mentioned above, Maki is free to use, hack, modify, and build upon, and all licensed under BSD. We are managing the development of Maki in a Github repository, so if you have requests for new symbols or feedback on the current set, let us know in the project issue tracker. Right now, our backlog includes over 100 symbols that we’ll be adding to Maki.

For more information on Maki, including download links and a symbol search, check out mapbox.com/maki.