I am working on an interface which let's a user select an item's state of ownership. The states may be "Buy", "Borrow" or "Have". What are the best Icons to describe these options visually?

The "Borrow" state should indicate that the user knows someone that has that item, and so they know they can borrow it.

The "Have" state should indicate that the user already has or owns that item.

I have already created icons for these options, but I'm still not 100% on the design. My icon images are attached below.

Icon indicating the state of "Borrow".

Icon indicating the state of "Have".

  • Will you ever need something like a 'Lend' status as well? If so, how will you differentiate it from the others? Commented May 20, 2016 at 0:58
  • jp7.r0tt.com/l_c55d0dc0-2121-11e2-97a0-89ee64000007.jpg Not an answer but it may offer some inspiration
    – johnp
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 0:58
  • 2
    Borrowing sounds like something that depends on time a lot, so why not use a clock to indicate that? Commented May 20, 2016 at 1:34
  • 2
    The first makes me think of drug deals.
    – papirtiger
    Commented May 20, 2016 at 9:33

2 Answers 2


If you want the icons to stay as uniform as possible, I'd suggest sticking with the same shape language throughout.

The idea here is that using the same shape unifies this icon set and makes it immediately understandable.
Borrow and Have Icon

  • Thanks, I like your advice about keeping the shapes consistent throughout the different options. Commented May 20, 2016 at 20:17
  • I chose to except this answer because the idea of having icons that are uniform in shape makes the most sense. This answer provides the feedback I need to design better icons and a better strategy for the user's experience on the interface I am working on. Commented May 24, 2016 at 17:56


Arrow pointing to a hand

Arrow pointing to a hand

Have an arrow pointing to a hand, this idea is you getting something.


I think using a green checkmark would work well for this. I think the idea of checking something off your list with a checkmark is pretty common. To show that you don't have something, you could even have a grayed out checkmark.

  • I'm not sure about the arrow, i'd have to see it in context.. +1 for the checkmark though!
    – Cai
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 21:45
  • Incorporating a checkmark for a "Have" state is a great Idea, but in the context of the application, the list is already a checklist. Therefore, a checkmark already exists indicating the item is "Packed". The option of "Have" is just the state of the item before it is checked off. Do you think having two checkmarks would be too confusing? Commented May 19, 2016 at 22:23
  • @CreativeMind you could have a check mark that is grey and then turns green when the users has it. I will think of a better borrow icon and post if I think of anything.
    – AndrewH
    Commented May 19, 2016 at 22:25

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.