Our application helps creating invoices and allows to insert an item into an invoice that represents a service performed by a craftsman. A typical service could be paperhanging or installing insulation.

One idea was to use some kind of tool as icon like hammer, however, I believe this is inappropriate because we have similar icons representing application modules that actually deal with tools/equipment.

Another idea is using a shirt icon like shirt (we'd create an icon that looks more like a work suit though), but I'm not quite confident with this concept, it doesn't imply manual work being done to my eyes.

Any suggestions? It should be possible to design a recognizable version in 16x16 px too.

  • 1
    I've been thinking about very similar questions as I'm working on a blue collar company website. The best idea I've been able to come up with so far for this particular task is a muscly arm (in bodybuilder tensing position). Nothing else really says it instantly. – Dom Mar 17 '14 at 20:03
  • Not a bad idea either, I could imagine an icon focusing on the hand maybe. A hand that's holding or doing something or a particular gesture, though I am not sure which one. – floele Mar 17 '14 at 21:16

Here are some loose ideas. Bluecollar:

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window cleaning/billboard hangings:

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paper roll:

enter image description here


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Spirit level:

enter image description here

  • After some internal discussion we decided to go with the working clothes motive now, so I marked this post as answer. I'm thankful for everyone's feedback though, didn't expect that much involvement :) – floele Mar 18 '14 at 11:21
  • Good to hear that I - and we - could be of help. I am sure you will refine the idea to perfection :) – benteh Mar 18 '14 at 11:23

When I hear the word "craftsman" I think of a protractor, paper and ruler (unless it's being taken by draftsman)? Maybe a hardhat would work better.

  • 1
    Thanks for your answer. Protractor, paper and ruler indeed rather seem like draftsman stuff. This is doesn't quite fit, since that's work being done on top of a table and is a bit different to manual labor offsite. A hardhat comes a bit closer, but is too much "construction" related. The kind of work I think about doesn't require such a hat often. – floele Mar 17 '14 at 17:37
  • except for england and usa, a draftsmans profession has been entirely deprecated. in any case a draftsman wouldnt use a protractor as in ever. – joojaa Mar 18 '14 at 5:04
  • Protractor was my first thought too. – Lauren-Reinstate-Monica-Ipsum Mar 18 '14 at 9:30

Personally I gave up using icons altogether except for rare cases like magnifying glasses for search and arrows for menu dropdowns.

Perfection is achieved, not when there's nothing left to add, but when there's nothing left to take away.

  • Unfortunately, "no icon" is not an option because we need to put a command inside a ribbon and these always need an icon (unless it's put inside a dropdown menu, but this is not an option since it's a frequently used command). It will have the meaning as text right beside it, but it would still be nice if (at least) there is no contradiction between the icon and the text. (And btw I have read that book too ;) ) – floele Mar 18 '14 at 7:02

Good advice for something like this: if it's for navigation, don't think in terms of what you're trying to represent, think in terms of what the people who would use this icon are looking for.

It sounds like the job of the icon is to catch the eye of someone who wants to get in contact with a skilled person who will come to their house and do useful things, after they click on the icon and do whatever process that leads to (or something similar?).

So think what might be in that person's mind and might catch their eye. For example...

  • a person getting out of a van,
  • a person holding a toolbox in one hand, answering a phone with the other,
  • a person in a hard hat knocking on a suburban-looking door,
  • a van moving at speed,
  • etc etc.
  • 1
    Thanks, but this goes in the wrong direction. The icon (the command behind it) inserts an item into an invoice that the crafsman himself creates. He inserts "Paperhanging 2 hours" (for example) and then sends the calculated invoice to the customer. So what is a craftsman looking for when we wants to insert a service item? I'd say it would be specific to the actual service being done, but we can't use a specific icon here. it could also be an icon representing money (because that's what he is after), but that applies to too many other commands as well. – floele Mar 18 '14 at 10:36
  • Ah I see, so it's like "Work completed" in this context. I'll leave this how it is for anyone looking for craftsmen icon ideas for other reasons - for your case, I might think along the lines of ticking or stamping an item off a list (or, workman getting back into van?) – user56reinstatemonica8 Mar 18 '14 at 11:03

Here is a lightbox for you to check out http://tinyurl.com/nm7tzoy


If a single hammer means "tools" in the app sense, maybe you should change your Tools icon to something else (a gear) and use the tool (or tools, like hammer and wrench crossed) to represent the person using a tool. Or maybe add a human hand using the tool, like hammering a nail, to emphasize that it's a craftsperson, not the tool, being referenced.

  • I think that's a bit too difficult to distinguish. Crossed tools are also often used for settings (maybe not in our app, but it's quite common) so I'd rather not use it here. A person doing something is difficult to design in 16x16 px. I believe we need to focus on a partial representation of the body (like a hand or a piece of clothing). – floele Mar 18 '14 at 10:43

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