I'm trying to determine a way to represent a state on a list of files. This state needs to have a visual representation that is meaningful to the user, but not too overbearing because of it being used within list.

The states descriptions are as follows:

  1. Public — For all users with access to the file
  2. Privileged — For file handlers and privileged users, like a service provider
  3. Internal — For file handlers only

Currently, I am having a few issues trying to represent to color of the state, along with how I would display this on a list.

What I have so far:

Note: each one represents a different way to show visually, I intend them to all be unified

enter image description here

Hoping to possibly get some other variations that may help or improve on what I have.

2 Answers 2


It sounds like your three privilege states are part of a continuum of increasing visibility/access right? Each is increasingly more visible / accessible.

With that in mind you might try to represent that continuum graphically. Ex:

  • Internal - empty circle
  • Privileged - Half filled circle
  • Public - Fully filled circle

Or you could try a continuum of icons:

  • Internal - Lock icon
  • Privileged - Single User icon
  • Public - Multiple Users icon

Just be a little cautious. Icons are inherently messy, as all but the most universal ones can have unintended interpretations.



Some ways to differentiate elements could be:

  • Text-color
  • Background-color
  • Font-weight
  • Font-size
  • Symbols (icons or characters)
  • Opacity
  • Text (explicit text "Public" or an abbreviation "Pb.")

Which to use will depend, but the idea would be to use one or two and combine them for affordance. For example, icons and color.

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