The 16 Universal Icons to Use on All Interfaces

Icons regularly used across different apps and websites are easier to interpret and more recognizable. The more users see and interact with them, the more they can assign a symbolic meaning.

There are sixteen universal icons that users come across more than others. They signify affordances, which are the potential actions a component can do. It’s important to use them when you design so that users can interpret different affordances correctly. When they do, the interface will behave how they expect.

You should consistently use the sixteen universal icons on your interface whenever applicable. Using them regularly reinforces familiarity and recognition so users can interact with the interface easier.

Icon 1: X

Affordance: Close

Usage: Use the ‘X’ to close information views when the view is no longer needed.

Icon 2: Chevron

Affordance: Disclose

Usage: Use the chevron to disclose elements and information in a spatial or navigational direction.

Icon 3: Plus

Affordance: Item Creation

Usage: Use the plus to add or create more items in a collection.

Icon 4: Minus

Affordance: Item Removal

Usage: Use the minus to remove items from a collection.

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