New generation of ‘Edit’ icon that is not a pencil?

I was jotting down some notes for a future project, sketching some simple icons for functionality etc, but all I could come up with for an icon to represent ‘edit’ was a pencil.

The pencil seems to have become pretty universal in icon design, but I think it’s pretty outdated and it’s not clear enough from a distance (it just looks like a diagonal line).

For ‘add’, we have the universal ‘+’ sign, and for delete we have ‘X’ or ‘-‘. I feel like we (the world) needs something similar for ‘Edit’.

I saw the similar post on here about the ‘Save’ icon not being a disk, and found it really fascinating. But what about the pencil?

I’ve been thinking about this now for a few days, but I can’t think of anything. Can anyone else?


If you want to stick with simple symbols, such as +, -, x, why not use Δ? “Delta” for “Change”, because when you Edit something, you’re going to change it. Of course, I don’t think I’ve ever seen this in use for this purpose before so people might not be used to it.

I suppose another option would be a stylized “E” (or maybe “ED”), for Edit. Not very original, but probably with clearer meaning than Δ.

Other less-common “Edit” symbols I’ve seen:

  • A lightning bolt – I guess because when you change something, you’re “zapping” it. Of course, I first thought that the lightning bolt meant “Zap this thing out of existence!”, so it didn’t win any points for meaning. But it was a simple symbol to render.

  • A magic wand – Again, I think it was to imply doing something, in a generic sort of way. As a symbol, it was even less distinct looking than a pencil.

Source : Link , Question Author : Dave Houlbrooke , Answer Author : FrustratedWithFormsDesigner

Leave a Comment