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.

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    Don't use the plus-circle for open unless you have a very good reason to retrain people's expectation. – plainclothes Apr 30 '17 at 5:55

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 Apr 30 '17 at 4:18
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    It worth noticing that pencil can also mean edit sometimes. – Runnick Apr 30 '17 at 17:10
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    I agree. My personal preference for the create icon would be different. – Nick Groeneveld Apr 30 '17 at 17:13

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