I would like to change an icon symbolizing change with something more appropriate. Currently the icon is a star. After giving it some thought I realized that I didn't have a good concept of what symbolizes change (differences, not coinage).

I had thought of using arrows, but most designs reminded me of recycling, refreshing, or forward and back.

Edit for clarification:

I'm updating an icon used in a bug-tracking app for "change" tickets. That is, an item that will be changed in some way.

  • 1
    It may help to know what is changing in your context. A star typically means 'new' so it sounds like a good idea to change it. Jul 25, 2011 at 19:57
  • 1
    Are the users changing something (editing) or are they coming back to something that has changed since they last saw it?
    – gef05
    Jul 25, 2011 at 20:10
  • I'm curious: would a tire-iron or screwdriver be iconic enough to represent change without being confused for edit?
    – zzzzBov
    Jul 26, 2011 at 4:31
  • 1
    A huge "O". (Or am I 4 years late with this joke?)
    – Rahul
    Jul 28, 2011 at 22:58

5 Answers 5


Depending on the audience's math & science background, a delta (Δ) can evoke the concept of change.

  • +1 because the audience if probably software developers.
    – user371
    Jul 30, 2011 at 9:36

If it is change in terms of editing something, I would say a pencil. This is an incredibly common icon for edit.


Yes i agree with the pencil icon, but this will be good if you place pencil over the object icon.

Like ...

enter image description here


How about a hammer? A hammer implies work to be done and can be used for both building and tearing down. (So it's analogous to a pencil, which can write and erase.)


It's probably best to use the word "Change" and no icon at all.

Some concepts can't be fit into a 16x16 space. In fact, there are very little icons around that are immediately clear to [the user].

  • 1
    "Change" does not fit in a 14x14 block in any legible way, additionally it ends up being language specific. An icon breaks language barriers.
    – zzzzBov
    Jul 28, 2011 at 17:20
  • Then you should update the design to not use an icon and translate for every supported language.
    – Wolfr
    Aug 7, 2011 at 11:16
  • 1
    I don't control the design of the page, I can only control what icon is shown. Even if I could change the design, icons are more appropriate for this instance. Translating for every supported language is more work compared to using icons which need no translation. Your advice is terrible.
    – zzzzBov
    Aug 7, 2011 at 16:15

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