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I'm looking for a method (or at least anything any wrote about this topic) which uses icons or symbols for note taking. So for example, I will be taking notes in class and want to "tag" certain things such as "idea", "key point", "good", "bad", etc. I find that coming up with symbols that are meaningful and easy to draw is hard to do. I was hoping that there is already a repository of such icons somewhere.

The reason I want icons rather than text tags is to make the notes more appealing and less verbose. That way when it comes time to study, I'm not just staring at a bunch of text and I can visually understand what many of the sections mean just by looking at the icons.

Some examples I have come up with:

  • Light bulbs are easy to draw. I use them for new ideas.
  • Crossed out arrow is used for "does not lead to" (or something along those lines), while an arrow can be used to mean "leads to".
  • A home icon is used for homework (idea from OneNote, see below).
  • I am currently looking for something to be used to represent good/bad. I was thinking of using a thumbs up/down image, but find it difficult to draw. Happy/sad faces, on the other hand, are easier to draw, but don't have clear meanings.
  • Similar to how OneNote has three different colors for some of the icons, I can do the same with only one color of ink by having one shape not filled in, another filled in with dashed lines, and the third completely filled in.

I was thinking of getting ideas from Microsoft OneNote, but many of these icons are difficult to draw by hand:

One Note Icons

I'm hoping someone has already come up with something like this so that I don't need to reinvent the wheel. Any ideas that can help?

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Do you plan on sharing these notes with other people? I'm just curious as to why you are looking for symbols that have meaning for others. – Thomas Owens Sep 24 '11 at 19:12
up vote 4 down vote accepted

The best solution I have found so far is the Vector Doodle Kit icon images. The main advantage is that the icons look like they were drawn by hand, meaning that drawing them by hand should be relatively easy. Additionally, they only use a single color, unlike many other icon sets.

You can download the free version to see the icons a bit larger than what they appear like in the preview page.

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Look up in image stocks

I suggest going to sites such as Shutterstock and iStockPhoto to get some ideas. All you gotta do is search for 'keyword' followed by 'icon'. You can then browse through a huge list of icon sets and find something suitable for note-taking. It may take some time but that's one of the things I do when I need inspiration to draw new icons.

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Have you ever think creating your icon instead of finding an icon?

I think this will be great. And there are a lot of web-site for doing it. Decide two things, one is you loved and you like in your entire life, the other is you don't like (maybe you hate) in your life. And create icons with them. I think this will be more effective for you.

Or if you like Angry Birds, I found these icons :-)

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