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Ok, so I need to use an icon to represent organisations in an otherwise boring list.

What comes to my mind directly is either using something financially related, such as a small stack of coins, or going for something on the usergroup-theme with a couple of silhouettes next to each other.

With non-profits being customers along with sole-user-organisations, I don't feel really comfortable using either.

What would you choose?

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closed as off topic by Benny MCSA Office365, Rahul May 20 '12 at 9:27

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I would not dismiss the "usergroup-theme with a couple of silhouettes next to each other". People recognize that it refers to group or organization. If you try to get too semantic, you will never find an icon. –  Emil Oct 18 '11 at 23:40

7 Answers 7

up vote 4 down vote accepted

Highrise uses a group of buildings as the icon for companies:

enter image description here

Wunderlist (todo list) uses a two person silhouette icon for the sharing option:

enter image description here

I guess it depends on how the user will see the organisations, are they part of them or are they external? Do you want the focus on the people in the organisation or do you want to focus on the organisation itself?

When it's about the people go with option 2, when it's about the organisation, go with option 1.

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If organization equates to group, I'd say that a two or three person silhouette is a good way to go. This is used by Apple in OSX to indicate group permissions. My only concern with two-user silhouettes is that it may be equated to discussions/messaging, as used in Facebook's status bar.

Here's one at IconFinder.

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To me, this is a perfectly reasonable question. It has to do with mental models. Graphic design is part of UX.

Go to http://iconexperience.com/v_collection/search/

Type in "Build", some of those work for me.

Also "branch" sometimes makes sense, if it is an org chart.

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Probably "the a couple of silhouettes next to each other": I wouldn't have expected even sole user organisations to get too concerned about there being one head too many on the icon - as long as it gets the idea of organisation across.

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I always find that Google image search is great for giving me icon ideas - search for 'organization icon', I few of them are pretty good. In general I would encourage to stick to fairly simple icons to avoid too much noise in the UI that distracts from the content.

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It depends.

If, in your application, an organization means nothing more than 'a group of people' (rather than an entity with properties in its own right), my icon would be nothing more than, say, a trio of people (along the lines of Melee's answer, above).

If, on the other hand, an organization is significant in its own right, and does have a purpose beyond grouping a collection of users, then you should use an icon that signifies that purpose somehow. Unfortunately, without knowing more about the domain, I can't really give you a more specific answer.

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For inspiration, I usually take a look at NounProject

For validation you could do a quick test as follows:

  1. Pick a few icons that might work
  2. Pick a few labels that might apply, 1 of which would be 'organisation'
  3. Ask a few people to independently match the labels with the icons

Make a decision based on the level of consensus.

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