An icon for curating?

When re-launching our website we wanted to use some icons to communicate the main sections clearly. Something simple and graphical to accompany and support a short description. This led us to think – how do you represent the concept of curating visually?

Let’s see what we get when we search some of the larger icon libraries for the term “curation”, “curate”, and “curator”.

Noun Project

Results for “curator“:

Results for “curating” and “curation” (identical results):

Results for “curate“:

Flat Icon

Results for “curator” (and curation, and curate):


No results for “curator” (or any other synonym). But we like their “no icons” graphic!


Promising results on a search for “curate” (or any other synonym):


IconFinder gave some previews from iStock below its own results, so we searched there for “curate” too:

The results are all of a bit of a mixed bag. Curation is presented visually as a kind of filtering process, a stick-person pointing at media, or a rather unsettling eye icon. Curators are represented by cartoon-like people holding up artefacts, satchels with museum symbols, or a stick-person by a case, holding a picture, or looking at some shelves.

Curating is difficult to represent with just one concept – and as one icon to represent it. There is certainly a lot of filtering of knowledge, but there is also the communication side too. The Curatorial Research Centre’s philosophy that curating is part knowledge creator, part communicator – our “50% model” – could perhaps inform a graphic response.

Have you seen an icon that you think represents some of the concepts of curating effectively and concisely? Do you think that you could design one? Let us know in the comments or via Twitter.