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Picking good icons is often a hard task and as much as possible I try to follow 'official' iconography. In the app I am currently working this is primarily the Material Design philosophy and when I needed an 'Open with' icon I noticed they had the following one:

enter image description here

Source: https://design.google.com/icons/#ic_open_with

which to me looks like a 'move' icon, rather than 'open with'. Instead the 'open in new' icon

enter image description here

Source: https://design.google.com/icons/#ic_open_in_new

looks a whole lot more like what I was expecting an 'open with' icon to look like.


Is this just me being the odd one out or is this actually a confusing icon? And just to make this a less opinionated question, are major apps and/or system views using this icon (as that would mean users are used to it as well)?

closed as off-topic by JohnGB Apr 3 '16 at 22:22

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  • This is a great question. I couldn't think of a good "open with" icon, and a quick google image search didn't pop up something where I saw the obvious answer. – Baronz Apr 2 '16 at 17:11
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Both are confusing, in the extreme. One is move, the other is scale.

I wonder if their icon for "open from" looks like a rotate icon, to complete the trifecta of transform hijacking.

Material is a panicked response to iOS 7. In deeper truth, all of Android is a panicked response to iOS.

So any guidelines or claims of "design philosophy" coming from anyone at Google should be taken with a grain of salt. Particularly Material. It's blatantly half arsed, at best. And you've done a wonderful job of pointing this out.

If you can't find an icon that's appropriate, the job of text remains. There's nothing wrong with falling back to "Open with..."

And I doubt there's anything significantly better. Everything I conceive of is going to look like a clone icon (or a clone and morph icon) as it's going to show a shape going to/into another shape.

  • 2
    "Material is a panicked response to iOS 7. In deeper truth, all of Android is a panicked response to iOS." Sometimes I wonder whether people are just trolling or actually believe stuff like this. To keep my faith in humanity I will just assume it's trolling. – David Mulder Apr 2 '16 at 10:31
  • Why can't it be both? – Confused Apr 2 '16 at 10:34
  • Do some reading. You'll find there's more to this than a spurious claim. medium.com/android-news/… – Confused Apr 2 '16 at 10:38
  • Linking to a post that says most designers consider MD better than iOS design and where even the author acknowledges that it's better in a lot of areas and worse in others is entirely not helping you back up your point that it's a panicked response... if anything it's kinda destroying it, after all, how could a panicked response be so different and at least of a similar level (and according to many better). – David Mulder Apr 2 '16 at 10:46
  • Do either of you geniuses know the difference between advertorial, editorial, propaganda and blatant advertising? Which one did you just read? – Confused Apr 2 '16 at 13:32

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