Icon documentation


I really like iconography and I decided to collect examples of the weird and interesting and funny icons that I have found, mostly in other countries. They are presented in chronological order. Personally, I think English icons are by far the cutest. People should be less afraid to make cute things. I'm back from my trip so for now, this collection is complete.

Some of them are pretty blurry because I have shaky hands, or wasn't supposed to take pictures. Huge shoutout to Photoshop's automatic perspective correction and shake reduction.


This style is everywhere, but they are not standardized.

They phrase things a little differently in England.

This owl is so damn cute.

This stuff was on a tube platform, presumably in case anyone needs help.

It is unclear what four arrows means in any of the ones where there are four arrows.


Sometimes his neck looks like a cartoonish gaping mouth.

This is on the steps that ascend the Eiffel Tower.

This is in the photo booth next to the street market where Amelie shops.

He has a little cast shadow. I love it.

This was in a public square. Why is this meant to convey?

The same public square. Is that a third person, cleverly abstracted? Is there danger of flying round objects from all sides?

This is a small section of the inside of a subway station. All the walls were covered with this print for 100 meters or so. I want it as wallpaper.


I would like to think that this is a sleeping cell phone. Aww!


I was told this is for emergency workers, not for average people to understand. To me it looks like a nuclear explosion. Spooky!

The parks in Warsaw (and much of Poland, I think) are all divided into rectangles with numbered sections and roads. They are very easy to navigate and bike around in. If you went into these woods you would not get lost, so I guess they just don't want people hanging around.

The house looks like it is skiing. This one is like a free association collage of "neighborhood" that never got turned into a proper sign.

It makes more sense with the line, kind of. I think it means that you are leaving the zone that contains all these things.

Warsaw's subway has recently been redone and the icons are very nice. Apparently not nice enough for me to stop walking and take a proper picture.

Dog pies! Gross!

Again with this shit! One day I'll find out what the arrows mean and everything will be clear.

Someone tried to reinvent the wheel.


I was full of hope for well-designed icons in Croatia after seeing this.

Well, at least they'll be interesting.

Share the poles! This icon is in the trams.

All the beds are different. Why are all the beds different?

Every button to activate a crosswalk has this attached to the box. I think it is for blind people. These are all over Europe.

This one is elegant and clever. I think it's a maternity hospital.


Again with this shit!

This one really paints a picture.


I think that the perforated area is an icon of a hand pushing a button. How a button operates is usually self-evident, but lots of times, the signage around it still tells you that you are supposed to push it, but not when or why or what will happen when you do.

Instead of a generic "pedestrian" icon, they chose to design a scene in which an older man is dragging a small girl, who doesn't seem to want to go with him. Dark stuff.

Icons shouldn't need text to function.

Is this the older man from before? What did he do with the little girl?

I just like his stubby little tail.

This is one of my favorites because it communicates a fair amount without using "i" and you don't need the text to understand it.

I would not dare touch any of this in an emergency. These icons just point out very obvious bright red controls, but don't tell you what they do. Pointless!


Good use of negative space!

United States

Saving the best for last. These are from the bay area's BART system.