Is it a big problem in the UI, if "plus in a circle" is used for both Open and Create on the same web-application page (circled plus is mostly accompanied with the descriptive text)?

If it is, what would be good alternative for "Create" (aka "Add") action?

Eg., will it be ok to have "bold plus" for Create/Add?

For Open I see no common enough alternative. In the context I have, "Open" is perhaps more like "Expand" (and "Close" as "Collapse"). Google image search (not sure how well it represents common sense) brings three different icons: Plus, Chevron (˄) and Four Arrows.

  • 1
    Don't use the plus-circle for open unless you have a very good reason to retrain people's expectation. Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 5:55

1 Answer 1


Never have one icon for two different actions.

This will confuse the user.

Always use a label with the icon to make the icon and action clear.

A user’s understanding of an icon is based on previous experience. Due to the absence of a standard usage for most icons, text labels are necessary to communicate the meaning and reduce ambiguity.

Source: Icon Usability

I'm a bit confused. First you say open and create but after that you say create and add?

When looking at Material Design Icons (link), the icons for create, open and add are these. Use them as inspiration.

enter image description here enter image description here enter image description here

  • Thanks! Sorry for confusion: Create is the same as Add. The contrast is needed between Create/Add and Open.
    – Roman Susi
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 4:18
  • 1
    It worth noticing that pencil can also mean edit sometimes.
    – Runnick
    Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 17:10
  • 1
    I agree. My personal preference for the create icon would be different. Commented Apr 30, 2017 at 17:13

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.