Trying to come up with a undelete icon, the best ideas I've come up with so far are an upside down wastebin with rubbish underneath it. It is going to be placed on a user profile page that lists user content serving to specify what content has been deleted and likely providing a link to undelete that content.
Nothing special just a quick and simple thought. Without deep thinking.
- We want to get across to new users that things can be restored from being deleted, trash can style (if not, or users already know, go with DA01's simple 'undo' icon)
- We want the focus to be on the action the button does (with the trash can element a minor secondary detail)
- Usual icon criteria: simplicity, uniformity, must work at small sizes
I'd go about this with an approach something like this:
Forgive the absolutely terrible sketch; I had to make do with what I had.
I prefer simple expression with little detail and understandable shapes. This intends to communicate recovery from a bin with a backwards arrow.
Context is always key, so if this is already a list of deleted content, the user already will know that it's deleted content. As such, you probably don't have to have the icon represent 'trash' or anything that literal--as it's redundant (we already know these items are 'in the trash'.
I'd suggest a more generic 'undo' or 'revert' icon would make more sense here. Something akin to:
I'd show trash bin with papers inside and the arrow which begins from papers inside the bin to outside to pale paper silhouette.
Like this one
or this one
EDITION (if you need a delete button)
Undelete is nothing but Restoring, I would not recommend using an
Undo icon, as if the entry can be editable or some other actions can be made on that record, user would certainly think that the Action can be Reversed, rather than you icon showing that it's for Untrashing/Undeleting.
So I've got couple of ideas here..
You can show a Recycle icon, which is nothing but Re-Use
Or, you can use Dots to depict whether the file is Deleted or Not..
Deleted File -
File not deleted yet -
Or, I designed two icons, with a simple
- sign of trash cans, where
+ shows ADD to Trash Can, whereas
- shows Remove from Trash Can
Or as suggested by user568458, you can use arrows in the place of
+ signs where the first icon shows to Delete the record, whereas the second icon shows Recover/Undelete the record
I think a "regular" trashcan icon with the classic red "circle-slash" would work well. I would read that as "this is not trash".
Well I am no graphic designer, but what I have in mind is an open garbage bin with a person finding something in it. Since it will portray the user actually looking for something he threw away, it would look more appealing :)
To visualize an undelete operation I guess you would want to convey returning something that is missing. Maybe something along these lines?