When you open a folder the icon should appear with the text and link "No documents yet. Try creating a new document."

I used an empty folder icon and another version with a document icon. The client doesn't like it.

What is a meaningful icon to place to indicate a folder is empty?

  • Well, if an empty folder isn't a good icon to visualize an empty folder because your client doesn't like it it's kind of hard to help here... Why doesn't your client like it? Nov 4, 2014 at 10:19
  • I would suggest a folder with a plus icon to indicate that documents have not yet been added.
    – Jenna
    Nov 4, 2014 at 11:10

1 Answer 1


Sounds like you need to differentiate more between the empty folder and non-empty folder.

Ideas (you may need to apply multiple styles to get your point across):

non-empty folder: files sticking out of the folder or maybe the folder is 100% opacity or bulge in the folder or a full status bar

empty folder: folded open (empty) or opacity at 30%-50% or An "E" for empty or a none sign (a circle with cross through) or dust ball/tumbleweed or skinny folder (instead of bulging out) or an empty status bar

enter image description here

*Note: some of the ideas above are little ridiculous.

Regardless the solution you may need to explain the use a little bit, something quick and short.

Personally don't see it being a huge issue not know if a folder is full or not. But I guess it depends on the application. And I would try to explain this to the client, using references. Again not enough information to know what exactly is going on, need to know more about the UX, App, clients complaints, and what have you tired.

  • 3
    I like the idea of a semi-transparent folder, but there is some danger of it looking like a disabled item.
    – Yisela
    Dec 4, 2014 at 14:23
  • i agree that transparency will make it look like its disabled. From a quick google-search i get the impression, that an open folder might be closest to a consensus about that topic.
    – pute
    Dec 4, 2014 at 14:29
  • But is also depends if the application has an open and closed folder functionality. In that instance, an simple open and closed folder wouldn't be enough to convey capacity or if the folder contained anything.
    – Kukka
    Dec 5, 2014 at 15:00

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