Is there any recommendation or best practice when positioning icons in side menu? Most of the side menus put the icon to the left and then the text.

Any thoughts? Left or right?

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3 Answers 3


I've always thought they feel best on the left.

Some reasons that might be...

  • They feel more anchored visually (this is because of their weight visually, meaning they feel heavier, the anchor your eye visually to the left, which is consistent with the left-alignment of the text)
  • There is no visually trapped space or sort of river down the middle (between the icons and the menu titles
  • I'd argue it is common among other applications (staying consistent is positive in this case)

Some other advantages...

  • You leave the right side open for a notification count for a particular menu item
  • The menu width could scale widely without the icons and text moving far from each other

When you put them on a left, you'll have more space
- for extended labels
- for any type of counter if you would like to put it ine the future enter image description here


Left Edge

  • Works well for menus where each item has an icon, and allows the menu to be collapsed form the right to narrow it down (e.g. Finder sidebar in Mac OS X) ro
  • Allows notifications (such as warning signs, contents summary) to appear on the right of the label (e.g. Xcode compile triangles, Mail.app)

Right Edge

  • Works well if not all of your items have an icon. The left side would be bad as then the start of each row would not align (assuming left-to-right reading direction)

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