SVG Icon Sprites in Openverse Frontend#

We use SVG for icons in Openverse frontend because it allows for high-quality graphics, easy scalability without losing quality, and small file sizes. To reduce the number of HTTP requests for icons and reduce load times, we combine all of them into a single file called SVG sprite. An SVG sprite is a single SVG file that contains multiple SVG symbols. Each symbol can be accessed using its unique ID.

This guide explains how to use SVG sprites in Openverse Frontend and how to add a new SVG file to the sprite.

Using SVG Sprites in Openverse Frontend#

You can use SVG sprites through the VIcon component. To use it, first, import it into your component:

import { VIcon } from "~/components/VIcon"

Then, add the VIcon component to your template, passing the name of the icon as a prop:

  <VIcon name="arrow-up" />

The name prop is used to identify the icon within the SVG sprite. You can find the names of the available icons in the frontend/src/assets/icons/sprites.json file. The default icons listed in the object with the name icons use the name as is, without prefixes. To use the license icons, you would need to add license/ as a prefix to the name. For example, to use an external-link icon, you would use the name external-link, and for the cc-by icon, you would use the name license/cc-by.

You can also view a list of all available icons if you go to http://localhost:8443/_icons. You can copy the icon name (with the prefix, if necessary) by clicking on the icon. This page is only available in development environment and is not available in production.

Adding New Icons to the Sprite#

Openverse uses svg-sprite-module to automatically generate the SVG sprite when you add an SVG file to frontend/src/assets/icons/raw/. It runs when you run just frontend/run dev or just frontend/run build. The module also watches the content of the frontend/src/assets/icons/raw directory, and re-generates the sprite if you add an icon there, so you don’t need to re-run the app.

So, to add a new icon to the SVG sprite, you only need to create an SVG file containing the icon in frontend/src/assets/icons/raw/ directory. The name of the file without the .svg extension will be used in the component. There are several requirements for the file:

  • It should contain the SVG code for the icon, with a path with id icon that wraps the inner contents.

  • The color of the icon should be currentColor. This allows the icon to inherit the color of the parent element. Also, remove white backgrounds from the icon.

  • It should have a viewBox attribute with the dimensions of the icon. Openverse uses 24x24 icons. If you are exporting the icon from Figma, resize the containing frame to 24x24 before exporting.