Levels of associations in the icons. Web Designer Knowledge Base
I hope you remember my story about these very levels. Here it is important, like nowhere else, because the icon is such a squeeze, a small simplified image that should tell - and very quickly - about the whole section of the site! Therefore, it is very important to choose the right association, metaphor.
Everything again depends on the tasks of the site and on how he communicates with the visitor - rude or refined. For example, on some hard selling site, the sign of the ruble or dollar is perfect as an icon of money. But a financial institution needs an association of a different level.
I usually act simply. If the very first association suits me - I use it. If for high-quality website design you need something less commonplace - I look at related concepts. For example, if the ruble or dollar sign does not fit, a wallet may come up. Or the third association - something related to wealth, for example, a man in a suit getting out of an expensive car.
If the icon is “rough”, simple in terms of graphics, then the association will most likely be of the first or second level - simply because otherwise it will turn out to be too complicated a concept that simply cannot be depicted.