Icons in a Design

I’m looking for some advice for a design of mine were I’m torn between two decisions. I’m planning some icons for the navigation of an application, and whilst icons such as that for Settings (a couple of cogs / hammer and spanner or something similar) is pretty easy for a user to understand, I have some ‘odd’ choices to make. One of the sections an icon is needed for is Book. Seen as this application is involved in the booking of rooms’ it isn’t exactly about reading material! However, Jon Hicks stated in one of his icon talks:

If it’s an icon for home, make it a picture of a home!

This leads me to my decision. Should the book icon actually be that of a book, so that users know what it is, or should the icon resembel the action, in which case, it may be a bit abstract, and the user may not know what it is?

Which would you pick, and why?

Before computers, did hotels not use reservation books? Just make the book icon look like a reservation book. Sort of like a diary.

or the ubiquitous pencil writing in a book…

If it’s a “booking” as in booking a hotel room, perhaps you should look at something like a cash symbol (for payment) or a picture of a building instead (with the cash symbol besides it) indicating that you are paying for a place to reside for a period. I certainly wouldn’t agree with having a book when the contextual meaning is entirely different. You want something that will make people associate with what your offering, not a literal word translation thats contextually misleading. :slight_smile: