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There are lots of icons and shapes that we associate with danger and that indicate to excercise caution.

enter image description here Source, public domain High Voltage warning sign Source, CC2.5 BY-SA Skull and Crossbones Source, Pixabay Proprietary License enter image description here Source, CC4.0 BY-NC

To show a piece of hardware is safe, one could indicate that by the shape, the material or even by light (slowly breathing green or blue for example). That is not neccessarily trivial, but doable.

But, are there any graphical equivalents to indicate something is safe? Something that can be used in a presentation or a manual?

One idea would be a thumbs up, which is very ambiguous, or some pictogram on a blue background showing something being touched with bare hands, but maybe there's something better, more intuitive that I'm missing.

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    I guess the logical answer is that we would assume that most of the environment and objects around us are reasonably safe, and so we don't need to have it indicated everywhere. On the other hand, danger often lurks in many places that we are unaware of, and so they need to stand out more to draw our attention. I think you'll find good examples of graphic or visual indicators of 'safety' in things like food products where there are certifications applied, but these generally indicate quality rather than safety. May 28, 2019 at 0:02
  • "One idea would be a thumbs up, which is very ambiguous" Especially in parts of West Africa and the Middle East where it is the equivalent of giving the middle finger (see Wiki:Thumb Signal).
    – TripeHound
    May 28, 2019 at 14:04

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I think the proper shape for a piece of hardware is to show a shield alone or with a tick to show that this hardware is secure and protected

Using the thumb up or tick alone is more for showing the right option more that show secureness

enter image description here

enter image description here

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A shield (with or without a tick inside) gives the impression the user is protected against malice.

However, if you want to show data is safe, I would suggest using a padlock like chrome does: screenshot of chome valid SSL certificate padlock icon

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Have you thought about a green check mark? Like in a stamp of approval:

enter image description here

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    In my case I could only use monochrome, so a checkmark was too ambiguous.
    – iFreilicht
    Jun 9, 2019 at 15:47
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What size will you be making this icon? If it is small I would recommend combining it with a text label.

If accessibility is important to your solution, iconography will be challenging as you will need to think about providing an alternative text description for the icon.

However, if accessibility is not an important factor, in general icons can be difficult to communicate their meaning even, especially if the concept you are trying to represent in icon form is confusing and ambiguous, so I personally try to avoid using icons if I can.

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