I'm creating a visual programming language and I'm trying to find a suitable icon that would let the user know that the component that is being used represents a variable (as in "variable in a programming language").

The very first thing I thought was to use $ (as in the required symbol to declare any variable in PHP), but this might not be obvious to users that haven't used / know PHP.

What might be a good icon for variable?

  • Do you actually mean an "icon" or something which can be input via the keyboard, like PHPs $?
    – Scott
    Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 6:55
  • @Scott I actually mean icon. A graphical element of some sort. Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 7:10
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    Can you give examples of other elements and the icons you use for them, to help get our creative juices flowing?
    – pbasdf
    Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 7:40
  • @pbasdf Of course! Some other examples are "Sleep" (a clock icon), "Manual execution control" (two arrows pointing to the left and to the right), "Condition" (two arrows starting from the same point and pointing down left/right respectively). Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 10:31
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    I would go in the direction of a box/container of some sorts. I guess this visual programming language is something for kids/non-coders to start of learning the concept of coding. So the main thing that the icon should do is to make it clear that it stores data... "$" will be misleading I think as unless you coded php it does not make any sense... Commented Jun 25, 2021 at 13:28

1 Answer 1


X is the first thing that came to me, I think that would be recognizable to more people, given how ubiquitous it is in math. I'm not sure what your aesthetic is, but here are a few ideas:

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