Searching for pictograms on the internet usually delivers a bad collection of Olympic symbol reviews. Here 7 websites dedicated to pictograms & symbols, about standards, sharing, beauty and function.
1. The Noun Project.
‘The Noun Project collects, organises and adds to the highly recognisable symbols that form the world’s visual language, so we may share them in a fun and meaningful way’. Classy downloadable symbols that look like they are imported straight from the nineteen seventies. But than from now. And with a name that reminds me of the Dharma Initiative. Highly recommended.
2. Isotype symbols by Gerd Arntzt
Isotype symbols can be watched in their full glory at at website dedicated to their creator Gerd Arntzt. The website was developed by design agency Ontwerpwerk that earlier on also published books dedicated to Arntzt and ‘Lovely Language’. Nice books but they have the disadvantage that they give the impression that this symbol thing–so popular these days–was all Neurath’s idea. Which it wasn’t, no matter how beautiful this stuff is.
4. Catalogue of Aicher pictograms at ERCO
The sports symbols of the Münich ’72 olympics–designed by Otl Aicher and Gerhard Joksch– are world renowned. Lighting manufacturer ERCO owns the rights to these symbols and more, and licences them via dedicated webshop. Here all pictograms Aicher was involved with can be admired. Designed in that typical ster style with texts in Aicher’s Rotis typeface.
3. Lance Wyman’s work for Mexico ’68 and more
The symbols for the 1968 Olympics in Mexico City are less appreciated then Aicher’s. Too bad. I find Lance Wyman’s symbols to be more ‘human’. The Mexico design scheme is bursting with ideas, culture and colour. Wyman’s website shows his symbol galaxy with much more beautiful symbols.
5. The U.S. DOT standard for pedestrians/passengers
The American Institute for Graphic Arts (AIGA) offers 50 ‘symbols signs’ for pedestrians and passengers for download. They were produced in the nineteen seventies by a collaboration between the U.S Department of Transportation (DOT) and AIGA. Because of their high quality and their government ‘approval’ they are used by many organisations.
6. Official ISO standards for graphical symbols
International Standards for graphical symbols are covered by Technical Committee 145 (TC 145) of the International Organization for Standardisation (ISO). TC 145’s Subcommittee 1 (SC 1) is responsible for ISO 7001:2007 ‘Public information symbols’. Nothing to see here but an ISO standards index of the most thoroughly tested symbols and procedures for testing them. They are good. They gave us A4.
7. Road signs of the world
Road signs must be among the most extensively used symbols in the world. Wiki offers a remarkable simple and colourful catalogue for these signs, showing them for over two dozen countries. All in svg format too. But wether these are official digitizations is doubtful.
Let me know. What do you think are the best pictogram links?
April 9th I will give a lecture about pictogram history at AKV|St. Joost / Avans University of Applied Sciences in Den Bosch. It is a part of an afternoon organised by the Research Group Visual Rhetoric of which I am a member, and is dedicated to visual information design. Also dataviz agency CleverFranke and the infographics agency Schwandt Infographics will be giving lectures. Continue reading