Icon is the band's second greatest hits collection. The album was part of the Icon series launched by Universal Music Enterprises, which features greatest hits releases from "major artists spanning rock, pop, R&B and country." The front cover image is a photograph taken of the band by Estevan Oriol during a photo shoot for the band's eponymous fifth album in 2003.
Allmusic reviewer Gregory Heaney called the collection a "crash course in pop-punk" that "takes listeners on a whirlwind tour of the band's back catalog while showing off an emotional range that was often masked by the band's youthful irreverence," while praising its simplicity and compact track listing, calling it a "best of the best-of."
Icon utilizes the band's single versions of most songs, which are the versions released to radio in their heyday. In addition, the version of "Dammit" included is a remix and remastered version by Tom Lord-Alge prepared for single release in 1997 (while "Josie" too has a single remix, used on the band's first Greatest Hits, this compilation includes the album version). The version of "Adam's Song" included is also the version on the band's first Greatest Hits, which is the album version with a shorter fade-out.