I am reformatting a mobile web map. Many of our users are equipped with mobile phones rather than large tablets, so screen real estate is at a premium. I've decided to remove the legend from default view for these devices. Users will have to click on or hover over a small control button to view the legend.

So naturally, I now need a symbol that conveys "legend" to place on the control button. Leading candidates:

  • A key: intuitive, but it says "key" more than "legend". A difference many users might not care about, but I do...
  • A question mark: it's engaging and implies it can answer questions about the map.
  • Will Smith
  • The word "legend". This is a last resort. The other control buttons have icons, so this would kind of throw a wrench in the works, but it definitely conveys the concept of a legend.

I'm not completely satisfied with any of these, which is why I've come to you. What says legend without saying legend?

5 Answers 5


not sure if the users are IOS or Android but maybe the list/interface icon it would go nicely with what the user is used to seeing in other apps, unless of course its already being used for something else.

enter image description here

  • I received that suggestion from a coworker, but I felt this symbol has strong connotations with "menu". While menus are certainly meta to the map like legends, they are links to multiple meta items, whereas a legend is a single meta item. Feb 18, 2014 at 13:46
  • Okay, you've won me over. My previous concerns have been assuaged by realizing that this actually is pretty standard. Thanks. Feb 19, 2014 at 21:02

I'd say it should look something like this: https://www.iconfinder.com/icons/64438/legend_icon#size=32

enter image description here

  • 3
    Could you attach this image within your answer, link only answers may lead to a disconnect in the future.
    – artwork21
    Feb 18, 2014 at 14:49
  • This is similar to Chris R's response, except the coloring helps drive the concept of "legend" home. Most of the control icons we have are monochrome, but I might find a way to integrate something similar to this. Feb 18, 2014 at 14:50

I like the stacked paper look. The image helps the user know there are layer options available.

enter image description here


I would go with a logo of a legendary figure , instead of a abstract symbol for legend. Notice that the almost-universal, though outdated figure for "Save" is not a representation of saving something (like a hand putting something into a bag or something), but something that saves: a floppy diskette.

So, what's a concrete example for a figure that's legendary? I would say rock god David St. Hubbins of Spinal Tap. Just a little gif of his face should be sufficient to show a representation of something that's le - gen - waitforit - dary.

  • You get some lols, though for the record, I sorta made that joke in my question with the Will Smith strikethrough ("I Am Legend reference). Feb 18, 2014 at 16:56

I asked a similar question a while ago. You can find the responses here.

My app already uses the list interface icon for a drop down menu, so for the legend I opted for a button with text "filter places" which isnt perfect, but I cant think of anything better (In my legend you can turn layers on and off). Very small screens see a filter icon instead of button text.

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