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Background: I am creating a graphical game which will be deployed on both mobile and desktop platforms, and across many cultures/languages. When the user sees a screen where there's an opportunity for in app purchase, I want to darken the whole screen and overlay with a "Purchase" button. I won't show the price here, hitting the button will navigate to a different screen where they can make the purchase. So I want to just display the word "Purchase" or "Buy" and a graphical symbol, since I suspect that text by itself will be boring.

The ideas I've toyed with are:

Idea 1: "$", "$$", etc. -- This is more work to localize, and there may be some cultures where a currency sign or abbreviation by itself could just cause confusion.

Idea 2: Symbolic picture of bills and coins. These would be cartooney enough that you couldn't actually make out what country they were from, but I think they could still be recognizable. I'm thinking silver and/or gold coins and green bills if color is used. Psychologically speaking, I'm not sure that I want to emphasize the user parting with "pile of money", though. :)

Idea 3: Shopping cart silhouette -- This seems to be widely used and is my default answer so far, but I think there has to be something better.

Is there a standard answer here or one better than mine? Thanks for reading.

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4 Answers 4

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A simple mock credit card is an alternative to the standard paper/coin icons. Even something as simple as a rounded rectangle, with an offset black stripe could be enough to express what you are trying to convey.

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Thanks @DanS. Everyone gave good answers and it's hard to choose a single one; but you added a compelling new option to the list (credit card with recognizable stripe), so I'm choosing yours. I'll definitely mock it up and see how it looks with my project. –  WolfRevokCats Sep 1 at 14:46

I would go with coins, hands down. You do not have to make it a "pile" - a few shiny circles should do.

Consider, coins as a term is not going to get out of "fashion", as exemplified by bitCoin.

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Coins are also used in many games to represent fictional currency/points that you can trade for extra benefits, so I don't think there is a psychological block there. If anything, you'd have to be careful to make it clear that you're actually charging users real money! –  AmeliaBR Sep 1 at 3:36
    
@AmeliaBR absolutely. And I think pretty much the whole "online" world has got the shopping-cart idea by now, it is by no means very obvious in various cultures and their daily life. –  Benteh Sep 1 at 11:00
    
@AmeliaBR good point. I definitely don't want confusion about virtual coins, since my game doesn't use them. –  WolfRevokCats Sep 1 at 14:51

I think it depends on who your target audience is, beyond geography. If they're moderately tech-savvy, I think either of the three would work. I'd lean towards the shopping, as it is the most used for online purchases, and has the most positive connotation (take this with you in your cart, as opposed to part with your money).

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What about a hand holding a bill? A bit of a complex icon, but I think it can be an option. Anyway, in this context I would choose coins too.

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