From Fanlore
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Synonyms: Icon contest, icon challenge
See also: Icons, List of Icon Communities
Click here for related articles on Fanlore.

An icontest is an icon-making challenge. The term is a smoosh of the words icon and contest. They have been popular on LiveJournal and have spread to similar sites such as Dreamwidth.

LiveJournal icontest communities might be specific to a topic, such as a fandom, a character, a pairing, or a theme, though there are also icontests which incorporate multiple fandoms, genres, or image subjects.

Some communities use icons as inspiration for their writing challenges, for example we have the community ncis flashfic:

ADMIN POST: Icon Challenge

Your new challenge is: ICON

Your challenge is to write a story inspired by any LJ icon. You can use an NCIS icon, or it can be an icon that's unrelated to the show but inspires you to write an NCIS story. [1]

General Formats

The most common form of icontest is a weekly challenge. Each week, members anonymously submit their icons based on a prompt, and then the icons are voted on by the members of the community.

For winning, there is usually a first, second, and third place. Sometimes there are extra categories which might vary from challenge to challenge, e.g. best crop, best coloring, most creative, best use of text, and so forth.

Award banners are commonly made for the winning icons.

Communities are set up for particular topics: these can include characters, celebrities, pairings, TV shows, genres, fandom interests, types of canon, styles, or specific subjects. The challenges may include restrictions (i.e., bases are provided, certain elements must appear), different lengths of time (daily, weekly, yearly), and number of icons to be submitted.

Example communities include: Looking Back, Trope Overdosed, Lyrical Stills, Icon Fiend 100,Year of TV and Film, Basic Icontest, Trek Icontest, Total Icontest, 30 Kisses, RPG Icontest

Between 2012 and 2013, the newsletter When Icontests listed communities engaged in icon challenges. Entries included:

  • New challenges
  • Challenges needing entries
  • Special event challenges (such as holidays)
  • Voting and tie-breaker deadlines
  • Announcements
  • Contests that were on hiatus


  • Stills, or stillness, is used to refer to a type of icon challenge in which the icons are not animated.
  • Hush refers to a type of icon challenge in which the icons do not include text.

Examples of Icon Challenges and Contests

  1. 20 in 20 challenges are to make 20 icons in 20 days. Such as: Only Text 20 in 20, Vintage 20 in 20, Adapted 20 in 20, Femslash 20 in 20, Every 20 in 20, agarfield20in20
  2. Awards Creators submit their work for judging in different categories but are otherwise similar to other icontests. Such as: Icon Awards, Final Fantasy 12 Awards, Yamapi Awards, Ouran Host Club Awards, Title Awards
  3. Episode by Episode The challenges go in order of each episode of a TV series, though there may be special rounds involving related subjects. Such as: Fringe Epic, Joss By Episode,DW Epicontest, iEpisodes
  4. Evolving Themes
    • nexticon "This is a continuous pass-it-on icon contest without having to post a next picture or word to use. The inspiration is the icon that was posted by the person before you. Do not copy the icon, let it inspire you. The inspiration can be the icon's style, subject, etc."
    • you_choose_ic A "multi-fandom icontest with a twist. Each challenge features 5 themes...and there are 5 pictures provided for each theme...Each week the 2 themes that get the most entries will be used again in the next challenge, with different pictures every time. The other 3 themes will be replaced by new themes I choose...A theme can continue for many challenges, always with different pictures, as long as it keeps "winning" (getting the most entries)."
    • Icon a Day and Daily Icon "Each member choses a claim of any sort. This can be as broad as an entire series, or as narrow as you want it...Each day you make an icon, you will reply to the posted theme with your icon."
  5. Last Icon Maker Standing aka LIMS is a type of ongoing icontest, in which icon makers are eliminated with each challenge until only one remains as the winner. Such as:
    • Turbo LIMS a "combination of both a LIMS and 20in20 challenge...Makers are given one month to make 12 icons and once icons are submitted, icons are voted off in way similar to a LIMS challenge - the only catch is, voting is put up once a day, instead of once a week. A Rumble Challenge is similar to a LIMS, except there are no eliminations. Instead, participants earn points throughout the challenge (for entering & voting, as well as placing!). When the challenge is over, the participant with the most points is declared the winner."
  6. Multi Level Challenges
    • Level Ten "We try our hardest to challenge you as much as possible. Every challenge has a word, image, color, font and layer challenge. You have to comply with all the requirements to submit your icons. And when the voting goes up, including constructive criticism is allowed and encouraged to help your fellow iconmakers to improve their skills."
    • 10 x 10 Variated "You make a claim (be it a pairing, celebrity, movie, or tv show) and make 100 icons of said claim. But the twist is, you must follow the guidelines given for making those icons. There are ten different ways of making your icons, you must use each ten on ten icons in your set."
  7. Rumbles A rumble is like a lims contest in that participants sign up and there is a round of challenges (usually 8-10). No one is eliminated, but votes are weighted (and screened) and winners get positive feedback only. Samples:
    • Firefly Rumble "Instead of process of elimination, winners will be determined based on their cumulative scores for the round. Why? Consider it an alternative to the negativity of a LIMS icontest. Sometimes it is nice to get positive reinforcement!"
    • Calendar Squares rumble challenges
    • Turbo Rumble "Turbo-Rumble brings the best parts of Turbo-LIMS and Rumble-LIMS together. As with a Turbo community, voting happens in quick fire succession (every 48 hours), and as with a Rumble, there are no eliminations. Makers are given a time limit to make a set number of icons. These icons are submitted all at once before voting begins, and at the end of voting, the person who accumulates the most points (for voting + winning awards for each challenge) will be declared the overall round winner."
  8. Songsets began on LiveJournal by early 2003. As this profile for "yummy_songsets" spelled out: A "songset" is a "set" of icons with text "set" to any lyrics of a particular song that you wish. Hence the name, "songset". Icon sets would have to spell out the song's lyrics. Other rules might include that "all icons must have at least 2 consecutive words from the song on it" although if all the words did not suit the icon image, they might not be readable or particularly visible. Different groups might have different rules. For example, icons might not have to be ordered within the set, but there would need to be three consecutive words on every icon. Some sample posts and groups:
  9. Team Challenges, such as Land of Art
  10. Variations, such as 10 Variations "10 different icons from one image"