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robertogreco : symbols   74

It's Nice That | "I'm not a designer – I was just an activist": how The Smiling Sun became one of history's most iconic logos
"The Smiling Sun is well known across the world as the face of the anti-nuclear power movement. Worn as badges, stuck on lampposts or held aloft as flags its gleeful grin has become synonymous with the fight for a world powered by renewable energy. Despite its widespread popularity, the logo’s designer has remained largely aloof. It’s Nice That managed to track down The Smiling Sun’s creator, Anne Lund – now a university lecturer – to find out more about how it came to be and how she feels looking back on it, four decades later."
symbols  history  nuclearpower  activism  denmark  1970s  smilingsun  1975  communication  annelund  language 
december 2018 by robertogreco
Avery Trufelman - 99pi (Oakland) - YouTube
"The Way Things Live

As one of the staff producers for the design podcast 99% Invisible, Avery Trufelman spends most of her time considering the intentions behind inanimate objects. She finds stories hidden in products we encounter every day, like fire escapes and neon signs, as well as oddities and architectural outliers around the world, from art schools in Havana to garbage trucks in Taipei.

Her talk, "The Way Things Live," is a meditation of sorts—a reconsidering of the overlaps in some of the episodes she has made in the past three years. Design stories are human stories: the objects that we make are reflections of us, and they live existences parallel to ours. They fall in and out of favor with changing tastes and mores, in rich, changing narratives, until eventually, some outlive us all."

[See also:
"The Fancy Shape"
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/the-fancy-shape/

"Octothorpe"
https://99percentinvisible.org/episode/octothorpe/ ]
averytrufelman  2016  design  symbols  shapes  iconographicdrift  architecture  history  99pi  hashtags  technology  telephones  computers  chrismessina  dougkerr  belllabs 
april 2018 by robertogreco
Fun with Flags: Redesigning San Francisco’s City Flag
"I was inspired to give an assignment to my design class to redesign San Francisco’s flag after reading Roman Mars’ Wired magazine article about our current “sucktastic” city flag.

These San Francisco Flag sketches were produced during a weekend design class, at the Bay Area Video Coalition (BAVC), as a study of design principles, in January 2016.

The class was given about an hour to work on the assignment of designing a new San Francisco city flag. We had been learning about design theory and sketching earlier in the day using design principles such as symmetry, equilibrium, and proximity. We brainstormed together to create a list of things we associate with San Francisco’s past and present. We agree with Roman Mars that the Phoenix symbol is irrelevant to San Francisco and confusing since there is another city named Phoenix. Here is our list of our iconic San Francisco associations:

> The Bay and Ocean
> Golden Gate Bridge
> Coit Tower
> Transamerica Pyramid
> The City Skyline
> Gold Rush
> Open Minds
> Diverse
> Pride
> Lack of Housing
> Tech
> Fog

San Francisco Flag Redesign

Below are designs each design workshop attendee came up with."
sanfrancisco  flags  symbols  sfsh 
october 2017 by robertogreco
Robinson Meyer en Instagram: “The Greenlandic flag is all over the place, used (to my foreigner’s eye) with some combination of the pride of 🇺🇸 and the affection of 🇨🇦.…”
"The Greenlandic flag is all over the place, used (to my foreigner’s eye) with some combination of the pride of 🇺🇸 and the affection of 🇨🇦. One of its meanings is “come in, we’re having a party,” so you see it on dinner candles at the hostels and on balloons for a seven year old girl’s birthday party. When flying it, you’re supposed to lower it by 8pm—standard sunrise/sunset rules don’t apply, I guess, in a place where a solar day can last for more than 2,000 hours. I really admired the flag before visiting, so to see it used so widely and so warmly is a delight."
greenland  flag  flags  welcome  2017  robinsonmeyer  symbols  meaning 
july 2017 by robertogreco
“Blue” for Go? Exploring Japanese Colors | Nippon.com
"Shifting Color Meanings

“Blue” traffic lights come as a shock to many students of Japanese. If one learns that midori is “green” and ao is “blue,” it is surprising to find that the clearly green traffic lights at Japanese intersections are described as aoshingō. This demonstrates that even common words may not have simple translations. Japanese traffic lights are not actually blue; they are ao, a word that usually means “blue” but can also mean “green.”

Ao, one of the oldest color words in Japanese, was once much broader in application. In several still common words, it denotes the vivid green of fresh vegetation, as in early summer. Examples include aoba (fresh foliage), aona (leafy green vegetables), aomame (green soybeans or peas), and even the prefectural name Aomori, which according to one explanation originally referred to the green juniper bushes covering a small hill in what is now the prefectural capital. The word ao has also been used historically for a broad range of colors tending toward other shades, including black, white, and gray.

The shifting meanings of the past can be fascinating, if potentially confusing. In the earliest records of the Japanese language, ao and aka (now red) were indicators of brightness. While kuro (black) denoted darkness and shiro (white) light, ao was used for darker and aka for brighter shades in between. Just as kuro and kurai (dark) share the same etymological root, aka is related to akarui (bright).

Long after much of this early linguistic uncertainty had settled down, the use of ao to mean “green” persisted into the age of traffic lights. Japan’s first electric traffic light was installed in Hibiya, Tokyo, in 1930. It was imported from the United States and featured the three standard colors. The original legislation actually designated the “go” color as midori, but the Japanese public insisted on calling it ao and the naming stuck. In 1947 aoshingō was written into Japanese law as the official name of the “go” signal.

A Colorful Tradition

English influences colors as it shapes other parts of the Japanese language. It might seem unlikely that burū (blue) and gurīn (green) could ever replace ao and midori, even though the katakana terms are now often heard. Yet orenji (orange) is arguably more used than the traditional daidai, which takes its name from a similar citrus fruit. Pinku (pink) is also firmly entrenched in the language, and more common than its loose synonym momo (peach).

The Japanese color shu (vermilion) is sometimes described simply as “red” or occasionally “orange,” the lack of precision reflecting its lesser importance in the English-speaking world. In Japan, though, as in other parts of East Asia, it is deeply rooted in the culture. It is the color of torii gates at Shintō shrines, the shuniku inkpads paired with personal seals, and the ink used by calligraphy teachers when annotating students’ work. It is also a common color for lacquerware.

Shu is one color to catch the Western visitor’s eye, but Japan has many more traditional hues. Murasaki (purple) was long the color of clothes worn by the ruling class. In the Heian period (794–1185), the pale purple of fuji (wisteria) became prominent, in part through association with the powerful Fujiwara clan. Author Sei Shōnagon repeatedly praises the flower in her classic Heian collection The Pillow Book, as when she includes “long, richly colored clusters of wisteria blossom hanging from a pine tree” in her list of “splendid things.”

The Heian aristocracy’s keen interest in color is epitomized in the jūni hitoe ensemble worn by ladies of the court. The name literally means “12 layers,” but the number was not fixed and could reach as high as 20. The colors were visible at the sleeves and hems, where progressively shorter layers overlapped, and matching them aesthetically was a fine art. There were complex rules about what colors were suitable for each layer based on the season, the occasion, and the wearer.

A contemporary equivalent to the rule-makers of the past may perhaps be the organization that runs the Shikisai Kentei, a popular test of color knowledge. By creating multiple choice questions for budding designers and artists in a range of fields, it acts as a force for standardization. This includes quizzing test-takers on exact shades for traditional colors as defined by the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee.

Standardization makes life easier, but the pleasures of language lie in its idiosyncrasies. Although it may seem odd to native-English learners that traffic lights are “blue,” accepting this encourages a new viewpoint on the world. Each new point of knowledge about a different culture represents a small step along the road to a broader perspective.

[with image]

A Palette of Traditional Japanese Colors

beni (crimson) moegi (yellowish green)
momo (peach) hanada (light blue)
shu (vermilion) ai (indigo)
daidai (orange) ruri (lapis lazuli)
yamabuki (kerria) fuji (wisteria)
uguisu (bush warbler) nezumi (mouse)

Note: This table displays shades defined by the Japanese Industrial Standards Committee. Historically the colors may have varied widely, especially when named after dyes, where the process can greatly affect the final color. They may also vary on different monitors. Not all have common English names."
srg  japanese  japan  color  blue  green  meaning  significance  symbols  words  language  names  change 
june 2017 by robertogreco
Casey Gollan on Twitter: "Will never get over how Robert Bringhurst blockquotes the biggest ever truthbomb right at the beginning of The Elements of Typographic Style https://t.co/vNuRNEqmX6"
"—Everything written symbols can say has already passed by. They are like tracks left by animals. That is why the masters of meditation refuse to accept that writings are final. The aim is to reach true being by means of those tracks, those letters, those signs — but reality itself is not a sign, and it leaves no tracks. It doesn’t come to us by way of letters or words. We can go toward it, by following those words and letters back to what they came from. But so long as we are preoccupied with symbols, theories, and opinions, we fail to reach the principle.

—But when we give up symbols and opinions, aren’t we left in the utter nothingness of being?

—Yes."

- Kimura Kyūho, Kenjutsu Fushigi Hen [On the Mysteries of Swordsmanship], 1768
robertbringhurst  writing  symbols  theories  howewrite  meditation  kimurakyūho  finality  tracks  tracking  signs  reality  letters  words  canon  principles  principle  opinions  nothingness  being 
january 2017 by robertogreco
Nsibidi - Wikipedia
"Nsibidi (also known as nsibiri,[2] nchibiddi or nchibiddy[3]) is a system of symbols indigenous to what is now southeastern Nigeria that is apparently an ideographic script, though there have been suggestions that it includes logographic elements.[4] The symbols are at least several centuries old—early forms appeared on excavated pottery as well as what are most likely ceramic stools and headrests from the Calabar region, with a range of dates from 400 to 1400 CE.[5][6]

There are thousands of nsibidi symbols, of which over 500 have been recorded. They were once taught in a school to children.[7] Many of the signs deal with love affairs; those that deal with warfare and the sacred are kept secret.[7] Nsibidi is used on wall designs, calabashes, metals (such as bronze), leaves, swords, and tattoos.[2][8] It is primarily used by the Ekpe leopard secret society (also known as Ngbe or Egbo), which is found across Cross River among the Ekoi, Efik, Igbo people, and other nearby peoples.

Outside knowledge of nsibidi came in 1904 when T. D. Maxwell noticed the symbols.[4] Before the British colonisation of the area, nsibidi was divided into a sacred version and a public, more decorative version which could be used by women.[8] Aspects of colonisation such as Western education and Christian doctrine drastically reduced the number of nsibidi-literate people, leaving the secret society members as some of the last literate in the symbols.[9] Nsibidi was and is still a means of transmitting Ekpe symbolism. Nsibidi was transported to Cuba and Haiti via the Atlantic slave trade, where it developed into the anaforuana and veve symbols."

[via: https://twitter.com/dvsch ]
symbols  via:dvsch  nigeria  ideographs 
september 2016 by robertogreco
K.T. Billey: Utmost Import: Instagram & the Future of the Icelandic Language - Guernica / A Magazine of Art & Politics
[about: https://www.instagram.com/everysinglewordinicelandic/

"Futbol vikings, moonbeams, Björk—Iceland has long-since captured the global imagination, often capitalizing on foreign fascination. Tourism has been essential to the country’s post-crash economic recovery and guerrilla activities in the form of social media have emerged as a complement to ad campaigns and travel initiatives. Put simply, the posted image is the new word of mouth and Iceland is Instagrammer heaven. When cabin porn is a noun-ed phenomenon, Grade-A bragging visuals have brought hordes of visitors and money to the Nordic island. However, the influx has not been without anxiety. One Instagram account embodies the bane and boon of tourism for contemporary Icelandic identity.

Every Single Word in Icelandic, @everysinglewordinicelandic, is one of the most charming mini-galleries around. The concept is simple: pictographs break down the etymology of Icelandic words, illustrating cultural personality and the magic of language while teaching interested followers a thing or two.

Created by Eunsan Huh, a graphic designer who began learning Icelandic in New York City, many Every Single Word entries are Icelandic symbology: wool sweater, hot dog, whale (peysa, pylsa, hvalur). Others reflect Iceland’s absorption of new practices. In a shepherding country, chopsticks are called matprjónar or “food knitting needles.” Idioms also pop up—in Icelandic a tough cookie could be called a harðjaxl, a “hard molar.” The ranks of the account’s followers has steadily grown. Particularly in terms of nature and ‘folk’ attitudes, we seem collectively predisposed to being amused by Iceland the way audiences at comedy shows come ready to laugh.

The interest in Icelandic is certainly welcome. A language spoken by about 300 000 people must work to preserve itself. Reliance on importation and a history of Danish rule make Iceland no stranger to fears of foreign influence. A vital function of the Icelandic Language Council is to establish Icelandic words for new inventions. Drawing on Old Norse and Icelandic roots, the goal is to prevent an influx of loanwords—once Danish, now English—from taking over. Some borrowed words have taken hold—the use of banani far surpasses bjúgaldin “sausage fruit”—but preservation efforts have paid off in terms of language survival and intrigue. The word for television is a popular example that reminds us of how strange tv was upon its invention, as well as of the beauty of the English word. Sjónvarp breaks down into “vision caster.” Tele-vision. It may seem obvious, augljós, (auga<, eye, + ljós, light), but is there anything we take more for granted?

Perhaps one thing. The internet, whose here-to-eternity English poses an unprecedented threat to Iceland’s notoriously difficult, poetic, and odd tongue. Icelandic schooling has long included English, Danish, Latin, and various other languages, but English is particularly alluring for young people looking to participate in global arenas. Not just the online, but in technology use in general. As the Icelandic writer Sjón put it in an interview I conducted with him for Asymptote International Literary Journal,“When the day comes that we have to speak to our refrigerators in English (which I believe is not far in the future), Icelandic will retreat very fast.”

Former President of Iceland Vigdis Finnbogadóttir drew an oft-repeated distinction: Icelandic is not a ‘small language’ but rather ‘a language spoken by few.’ According to Finnbogadóttir, an active linguistic advocate (and the world’s first elected woman head of state—fewer speakers often boast when they can), there are no small languages. This rings true to anyone who has been mouth-baffled in a land of extensive compound words. It is not a numbers game, but hundreds of years of Nordic literature—an immeasurable contribution to world culture and mythology—is contingent on linguistic knowledge."



"Tomorrow’s folk tale might be a cautionary yarn about the Pokémon hunter who fell into Goðafoss. Purists might cringe at the notion, romantics might refuse to read it—or watch the trailer. There is much to bemoan about the evolving tension between technology and our physical and social lives: bodily detachment, fractured attention, intimate dis-ease. Worries about Icelandic are well-founded, but its speakers are aware. Gerður Kristný responded to the ‘why not write in English’ question by explaining that language has so much to do with Icelandic independence and identity, she will always write in Icelandic. It is her language. Technology looms, but pride and artistry is made of different stuff. Human obstinacy is a phenomenon unto itself.

The fate of Icelandic and other languages spoken by few remains to be seen, read, and heard. For now, as with anything, we can take the mixed bag, if we believe we have a choice. Absorbing positive resonance when we can is a coping skill as venerable as sagas. Marveling at inventions creates space for thought about how to use them well.

Rarity may protect languages via the kind of cult interest Icelandic enjoys. Print was supposed to be dead by now, or the realm of fetishized art objects and eccentric collectors. Yet book-devices haven’t supplanted books themselves. There are simply more ways to read. The internet is akin to Borges’ Babel in both threat and potential—it cultivates a browsing attitude that eats its children but also offers a place to be intentionally communicative. Never have we had such a grand chance to self-define or such an audience for our own terms.

“Orchestra” is a pertinent Every Single Word in Icelandic entry. Hljómsveit, literally “sound team.” The ancient chorus persists, in one form or another, and it is what we make of it."

[See also: http://grapevine.is/author/eunsan-huh/
https://www.behance.net/gallery/28612451/Every-Single-Word-In-Icelandic ]
iceland  icelandic  language  languages  instagram  ktbilley  eunsanhuh  symbols  symbology  history  linguistics  audio  pronunciation  translation  english  illustration  via:tealtan  instagrams 
august 2016 by robertogreco
a16z Podcast: The Meaning of Emoji 💚 🍴 🗿 – Andreessen Horowitz
"This podcast is all about emoji. But it’s really about how innovation really comes about — through the tension between standards vs. proprietary moves; the politics of time and place; and the economics of creativity, from making to funding … Beginning with a project on Kickstarter to crowd-translate Moby Dick entirely into emoji to getting dumplings into emoji form and ending with the Library of Congress and an “emoji-con”. So joining us for this conversation are former VP of Data at Kickstarter Fred Benenson (and the 👨 behind ‘Emoji Dick’) and former New York Times reporter and current Unicode emoji subcommittee member Jennifer 8. Lee (one of the 👩 behind the dumpling emoji).

So yes, this podcast is all about emoji. But it’s also about where emoji fits in the taxonomy of social communication — from emoticons to stickers — and why this matters, from making emotions machine-readable to being able to add “limbic” visual expression to our world of text. If emoji is a (very limited) language, what tradeoffs do we make for fewer degrees of freedom and greater ambiguity? How exactly does one then translate emoji (let alone translate something into emoji)? How do emoji work, both technically underneath the hood and in the (committee meeting) room where it happens? And finally, what happens as emoji becomes a means of personalized expression?

This a16z Podcast is all about emoji. We only wish it could be in emoji!"
emoji  open  openstandards  proprietarystandards  communication  translation  fredbenenson  jennifer8.lee  sonalchokshi  emopjidick  mobydick  unicode  apple  google  microsoft  android  twitter  meaning  standardization  technology  ambiguity  emoticons  text  reading  images  symbols  accessibility  selfies  stickers  chat  messaging  universality  uncannyvalley  snapchat  facebook  identity  race  moby-dick 
august 2016 by robertogreco
Berlin Biennale | All Problems Can Be Illuminated; Not All Problems Can Be Solved
"“There is no technology for justice. There is only justice.”12 Ursula Franklin answered when I asked her in December 2015, what to do. I reached out because I wanted her to tell me how to act on the perspectives she brings to the traditional story of progress. As someone building internet technologies, working within this received wisdom, I wanted a recipe, something I could share with others (with you!) and throw my body into.

She was warm and generous and incredibly insightful, and she gave me no smooth answers, no simple way.

Central to our conversation was my worry about the massive surveillance capacities enabled by internet technologies and the way in which public assent to surveillance is fueled by the racism and militarism of the now eternal “War on Terror.” What could we do to combat this narrative? What could we do to change the underlying technologies such that they respect human agency and privacy?

Franklin agreed. This is a grave problem. But not a “technological” problem:

“Whether it’s heathens, witches, women, communists, whoever, the institution of an enemy as a political tool is inappropriate. The only solution is an insistence on a civilized democratic society. A civilized democratic society combats this and the wish of an authority to collect personal information on citizens and their activities and loyalties. Whether it’s done by spying, by bribing children, by workplace monitoring, by confession in the confession box of the church—the collection is the issue. The means—the technology—is secondary. The problem is a problem of authoritarian power. And at the root of this problem is the issue of justice, and justice is political.”

While justice can be understood, can be felt, there is no template to follow, or checklist to work through for ensuring a just outcome. The requirements are humility, a respect for context, and a willingness to listen to the most marginalized voices. Let these define the basic requirements of whatever you do. You must “put yourself in the position of the most vulnerable, in a way that achieves a visceral gut feeling of empathy and perspective—that’s the only way to see what justice is.”

Understanding justice, honoring those most vulnerable and including them as authors of any plan that impacts them, is a necessary starting place. But the problems associated with our current technologies won’t be solved by tweaking gears or redesigning mechanisms. A roadmap that centers on justice is only the first step. “For a very long time gadgets and machinery have been anti-people. If one wants to get away from the anti-people component, then you don’t argue technology as much as you argue capitalism.” Even with a view of what justice would look like and could be, attempts at radical change will, of course, be repulsed by powerful actors who benefit richly from the unjust status quo. Political change must be a part of the equation.

This isn’t a frenzied call for revolution. The bigger the scale, the bigger the vision for just change, the more difficult it will be to “get it through” a system in which power is aligned against justice (and, of course, the more difficult it will be to truly understand this vision’s vast impact on vulnerable populations and thus ensure it really supports justice.) Not that working to build practices and plans isn’t worthwhile—it is incredibly worthwhile. But you’re unlikely to have much real impact if you start with a grand announcement. “To proceed in a hostile world,” Franklin suggests, “call it an experiment. Admit that you don’t know how to do it, but ask for space and peace and respect. Then try your experiment, quietly.” In conditions not conducive to success, situate yourself out of the spotlight and proceed subtly, humbly, and be willing to downplay expectations while new forms incubate.

“My favorite word is an old Quaker term, ‘scrupling,’ used as an activity,” Franklin begins, addressing how to approach the vastness of the political and social problems we were discussing. “It comes out of the anti-slavery movement, originally. People would get together to ‘scruple,’ that is, discuss and debate a common problem, something they had scruples about—say, justice—for which they did not have a solution. This is scrupling, and this is something you and your friends can do.”

Gather and talk. Empathize and listen. Don’t chase the spotlight, and accept that some problems are big, and difficult, and that what you’re good at may not fix them. These are not the ways of charismatic executives and flash-bang inventors. These are not instructions for entrepreneurial success. These won’t produce bigger faster newer ways of doing things.

Her parting words were meant to comfort me. “For your own sanity, you have to remember that not all problems can be solved. Not all problems can be solved, but all problems can be illuminated. If the eggs are scrambled, they’re scrambled. You can’t unscramble them. All you can possibly do is cook them and share them with somebody.”"
ursulafranklin  justice  technology  meredithmeredith  2016  efficiency  compliance  listening  empathy  progress  racism  militarism  surveillance  waronterror  democracy  society  humility  inclusivity  inclusion  vulnerability  radicalchange  power  statusquo  politics  scrupling  conversation  problemsolving  jacquesellul  capitalism  consumerism  innovation  quakers  systems  interrelationships  systemsthinking  complexity  culture  materials  art  mindset  organization  procedures  symbols  orthodoxy  luddism  occupywallstreet  ows  resistance  disruption  speed  humanism  science  scientism  legibility  elitism  experts  authority  privilege  experience  civilization  authoritarianism  socialjustice  revolution  peace  spotlight  hardproblems  success 
july 2016 by robertogreco
The Accessible Icon Project
"Why do you think of this project as activism?

It’s easy to look at our icon and assume that it’s a graphic design project. We get a lot of questions about the features of the icon itself and why ours is “better” than any other. But the graphic is actually a very small fraction of the work. As we’ve said from the beginning, the icon has been informally redesigned many times. We weren’t the first to change it. Our project began precisely by noticing the differences among icons already in existence.

Our project is an activist work because we started as a street art campaign, knowing that the mildly transgressive action of altering public property would engage potential media coverage about the legal status of graffiti. We used that media interest in graffiti’s legality to then shape our interviews to our own agenda: the politics of disability, access, and inclusion. Like the artist/activist collective WochenKlausur, we’ve noticed that the most deserving “social goods” stories don’t get nearly the same press coverage as cultural projects (especially where audiences can debate the “cultural” merits of a work!). Disability is subject to the same political invisibility and echo chambers as that of other minority groups, and too much direct activist work around disability is targeted toward people who already think disability rights are important. We wanted ideas about disability to reach a wider public, to be a matter of debate that’s harder to ignore. And in the most successful cases, we got journalists to talk to self-advocates with disabilities who rarely get a microphone for their wishes.

The design of the first graphic itself was also activist in nature—not a new “solution,” at least at the beginning. We debated long and hard about what the icon should look like for the first street sign campaign, and we eventually arrived at the clear-back version, which shows both the old and new icons at once. We knew that it wouldn’t be enough to make a change to a “better” icon. Instead, we wanted to have a graphic that was an enigma, or a question. Sustaining that question—in the form of collaborations, events, writing, exhibitions, and more—has been the activist heartbeat of the project.

Well—? Is it street art? Or is it design?

It’s both. We started as a street art campaign, and that phase of the work is what got us on the radar of likeminded advocates. But eventually people started asking us for a formal new icon, one that would replace old icons wholesale and be a public signal about an organization/school/company’s wish to be inclusive in its practices. That’s why Tim Ferguson-Sauder brought our icon in line with other formal infrastructural symbols you’ll see in public spaces everywhere. Our design is in the public domain, so now it’s used far and wide, in places we’ve never seen or heard about.

When we talk about this work, we’re transparent about the fact that a single project can span a continuum between a new artifact and a new set of conditions. Between ordinary graphic design and design activism. Letting the work live along that continuum allows it to be both an ongoing, long-term activist work and a free artifact that’s useful for simple graphics.

Not everyone is a wheelchair athlete. What about people who don’t push their chairs with their own arms?

Right. We’ve talked about this at length in all of our interviews, and it almost never gets included in the final cut. The arm pushing a chair is symbolic—as all icons are symbols, not literal representations. Our symbol speaks to the general primacy of personhood, and to the notion that the person first decides how and why s/he will navigate the world, in the broadest literal and metaphorical terms. To us, this evokes the disability rights mantra that demands “nothing about us without us.”

I identify as disabled, but I don’t use a chair. Why should that symbol speak for all kinds of accessibility?

It’s certainly an interesting question to consider how other symbols might stand in for or supplement the International Symbol of Access. We’ve spoken to designers about taking up that challenge as a thought project.

But consider the importance of a highly standardized and internationally recognizable symbol. It guarantees that its use will signal the availability of similar accommodations wherever it appears, and its reliable color combination and scale make it easy to spot on a crowded city street, or in an airport. Icons are standardized, 2D, and high contrast for a reason: to make them readily visible to anyone, anywhere. There’s power in that.

It’s just an image. Isn’t this just political correctness? Or: shouldn’t you be using your efforts on something more worthwhile, like real change?

We get this question a lot. And we’re certainly sensitive to one of the pitfalls of design work: an excessive emphasis on the way things look, without attention to other material conditions. From the project’s beginning, we’ve been interested in political and cultural change in the way disability is understood by multiple publics. And we’re aware that many people have been agitating for disability rights through direct activism for many decades.

We see this work as a counterpart to that history of direct action. And we think that symbolic activism—creative practices that are also political—do a work that can be hard to quantify but that also makes a difference. History shows that the shape and form of what we see and hear does work on our cognitive understanding of the world, and hence the meaning we make of it. For good and for ill, governments and institutions and protestors and dictators and individual citizens have long been using the language of symbols to persuade, to question, to force. We want to be on the bottom-up, rights-expanding, power-re-balancing tradition of that history.

So what’s the goal here? Universal sign change?

We’re happy when people write to us that their town or city wants to formally adopt the icon, and from news that politicians officially endorse its use. But success for us isn’t really located in the ubiquity of the icon itself. We want to see the icon stand for funding, rights provisions and guarantees, policies, and overall better conditions for people with disabilities. And we want this web site to track and document the progress of those harder goals.

Don’t you worry that this will be shallow activism, like “sign-washing”?

Sure. This is a big worry for us. Our icon is in the public domain, and that status is important to us. So we can’t really control when it gets used as a shallow glad-handing exercise that has no real political traction. But we’re trying, with this site and the way we speak elsewhere about the work, to emphasize the substantive efforts of people who don’t make the news as easily as a shiny new symbol.

Do you identify as disabled? Are you an ally? Does it matter?

We’ve always had people on our team who identify as disabled, and others of us who are immediate family members or direct co-workers of people who identify as disabled. It matters, of course, that we do this work and any work in disability as a “nothing about us without us” effort. Having said that: allyship also matters, and this project should be seen as one among many efforts to make new connections among new audiences who’ve seen disability as ignorable or irrelevant. We know from experience that we need much, much larger cultural conversations about disability to happen, including among people whose lives disability has not yet politicized.

Wow, you’re opinionated. Anything else you want to say?

A wise adviser told us, some years into this project, that any effort to create new and different forms of access will necessarily close off access of other kinds. We know that a wheelchair icon doesn’t stand for all kinds of ability. We know that our icon is being used in ways we don’t fully endorse. We know that this project’s birth in the US conditions our understanding in a way that’s culturally limited. And we know that we can’t control the journalistic treatment of this story. But the overwhelmingly positive response we’ve gotten from those of you who’ve reached out to us in the last five years is evidence that you see something in this work that you recognize. We hope that’s true for another five and beyond."
accessibility  sarahendren  icons  pictographs  symbols  caseygollan  activism  design  designactivism 
february 2016 by robertogreco
What are all these mysterious Japanese car stickers? | News on Japan
"1 Japan adopted the shamrock symbol to designate handicapped drivers even though the international symbol of a wheelchair is recognized everywhere else in the world.

2 The weird butterfly mark is Japan’s “hard of hearing” symbol. Hard of hearing drivers must display these stickers, which forbids other drivers from cutting off or aggressively passing such cars. This butterfly-mark is an obscure, only-in-Japan symbol and other parts of the world use this easy-to-understand ear mark.

3 Officially called the Koreisha mark (kōrei untensha hyōshiki), the fallen leaf mark must be displayed by drivers over 75 (and strongly recommended for those over 70) to warn other drivers of the impending danger.

UPDATE:
On February 1, 2011, the “Autumn leaf” (Koreisha ) symbol to indicate “aged person at the wheel” was changed to the new, 4-leafed form

(Wikipedia).Japanese_Kourei_mark250
New Koreisha mark
Back in 2009 (The Mainichi / 2009 July 23) that Japanese Police Agency announced that it wanted to come up with a new design to replace the “autumn leaf” symbol which designates an elderly driver. A survey has indicated that only around half of people questioned had an idea of what it meant.

4 Officially called the Shoshinsha mark (shoshin untensha hyōshiki), new drivers must display the green leaf mark for one year after getting their license to warn other drivers that the driver is not very skilled."
symbols  japan  wakaba  wakabamark  driving  koreishamark  koreisha  shoshinshamark  hearing  deaf  deafness  disability  labels  disabilities 
december 2015 by robertogreco
The Humane Representation of Thought on Vimeo
"Closing keynote at the UIST and SPLASH conferences, October 2014.
Preface: http://worrydream.com/TheHumaneRepresentationOfThought/note.html

References to baby-steps towards some of the concepts mentioned:

Dynamic reality (physical responsiveness):
- The primary work here is Hiroshi Ishii's "Radical Atoms": http://tangible.media.mit.edu/project/inform/
- but also relevant are the "Soft Robotics" projects at Harvard: http://softroboticstoolkit.com
- and at Otherlab: http://youtube.com/watch?v=gyMowPAJwqo
- and some of the more avant-garde corners of material science and 3D printing

Dynamic conversations and presentations:
- Ken Perlin's "Chalktalk" changes daily; here's a recent demo: http://bit.ly/1x5eCOX

Context-sensitive reading material:
- http://worrydream.com/MagicInk/

"Explore-the-model" reading material:
- http://worrydream.com/ExplorableExplanations/
- http://worrydream.com/LadderOfAbstraction/
- http://ncase.me/polygons/
- http://redblobgames.com/pathfinding/a-star/introduction.html
- http://earthprimer.com/

Evidence-backed models:
- http://worrydream.com/TenBrighterIdeas/

Direct-manipulation dynamic authoring:
- http://worrydream.com/StopDrawingDeadFish/
- http://worrydream.com/DrawingDynamicVisualizationsTalk/
- http://tobyschachman.com/Shadershop/

Modes of understanding:
- Jerome Bruner: http://amazon.com/dp/0674897013
- Howard Gardner: http://amazon.com/dp/0465024335
- Kieran Egan: http://amazon.com/dp/0226190390

Embodied thinking:
- Edwin Hutchins: http://amazon.com/dp/0262581469
- Andy Clark: http://amazon.com/dp/0262531569
- George Lakoff: http://amazon.com/dp/0465037712
- JJ Gibson: http://amazon.com/dp/0898599598
- among others: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Embodied_cognition

I don't know what this is all about:
- http://worrydream.com/ABriefRantOnTheFutureOfInteractionDesign/
- http://worrydream.com/ABriefRantOnTheFutureOfInteractionDesign/responses.html

---

Abstract:

New representations of thought — written language, mathematical notation, information graphics, etc — have been responsible for some of the most significant leaps in the progress of civilization, by expanding humanity’s collectively-thinkable territory.

But at debilitating cost. These representations, having been invented for static media such as paper, tap into a small subset of human capabilities and neglect the rest. Knowledge work means sitting at a desk, interpreting and manipulating symbols. The human body is reduced to an eye staring at tiny rectangles and fingers on a pen or keyboard.

Like any severely unbalanced way of living, this is crippling to mind and body. But it is also enormously wasteful of the vast human potential. Human beings naturally have many powerful modes of thinking and understanding.

Most are incompatible with static media. In a culture that has contorted itself around the limitations of marks on paper, these modes are undeveloped, unrecognized, or scorned.

We are now seeing the start of a dynamic medium. To a large extent, people today are using this medium merely to emulate and extend static representations from the era of paper, and to further constrain the ways in which the human body can interact with external representations of thought.

But the dynamic medium offers the opportunity to deliberately invent a humane and empowering form of knowledge work. We can design dynamic representations which draw on the entire range of human capabilities — all senses, all forms of movement, all forms of understanding — instead of straining a few and atrophying the rest.

This talk suggests how each of the human activities in which thought is externalized (conversing, presenting, reading, writing, etc) can be redesigned around such representations.

---

Art by David Hellman.
Bret Victor -- http://worrydream.com "

[Some notes from Boris Anthony:

"Those of you who know my "book hack", Bret talks about exactly what motivates my explorations starting at 20:45 in https://vimeo.com/115154289 "
https://twitter.com/Bopuc/status/574339495274876928

"From a different angle, btwn 20:00-29:00 Bret explains how "IoT" is totally changing everything
https://vimeo.com/115154289
@timoreilly @moia"
https://twitter.com/Bopuc/status/574341875836043265 ]
bretvictor  towatch  interactiondesign  davidhellman  hiroshiishii  softrobotics  robots  robotics  kenperlin  jeromebruner  howardgardner  kieranegan  edwinhutchins  andyclark  jjgibson  embodiedcognition  cognition  writing  math  mathematics  infographic  visualization  communication  graphics  graphicdesign  design  representation  humans  understanding  howwelearn  howwethink  media  digital  dynamism  movement  conversation  presentation  reading  howweread  howwewrite  chalktalk  otherlab  3dprinting  3d  materials  physical  tangibility  depth  learning  canon  ui  informationdesign  infographics  maps  mapping  data  thinking  thoughts  numbers  algebra  arithmetic  notation  williamplayfair  cartography  gestures  placevalue  periodictable  michaelfaraday  jamesclerkmaxell  ideas  print  printing  leibniz  humanism  humanerepresentation  icons  visual  aural  kinesthetic  spatial  tactile  symbols  iot  internetofthings  programming  computers  screens  computation  computing  coding  modeling  exploration  via:robertogreco  reasoning  rhetoric  gerrysussman  environments  scale  virtualization 
march 2015 by robertogreco
The Image of a Country ["Canada's Flag Debate"]
"Canada was only two years away from celebrating the centennial anniversary of its founding as a nation when Parliament finally agreed upon the design for a distinctive Canadian flag. The debate concerning a flag had been a recurring theme in Canadian politics since the late 1800s and became a particularly emotional, explosive issue for the government of Wiliam Lyon Mackenzie King in 1925; so much so that twenty years later he still shied away from any firm action on adopting a new design. It was not until Lester Pearson assumed power in 1963 that another Prime Minister would seriously confront the issue of creating a distinctive Canadian flag. In the debate that ensued, many feared the country would be torn apart."
via:vruba  canada  flags  symbols  history 
february 2015 by robertogreco
Ray Johnson Defies Categories 20 Years After His Death - NYTimes.com
"Mr. Johnson heralded several art movements, almost simultaneously. He was making work that looked like Pop in the 1950s, years before his friend and sometime rival Andy Warhol did. He was a performance artist before there was a term for such a thing. He mined ground later occupied by Conceptual art (whose pretensions he loved to razz: “Oh dat consept art,” says a figure in one of his collages.) And he was the father of mail art, spreading his collages and Delphic text works through a vast web of fellow artists, friends and complete strangers, making him a one-man social-media platform for a pre-Internet age.

But every time mainstream recognition approached, Mr. Johnson — who lived as frugally as a monk and played the art world’s holy fool — seemed to dance away. Courted in the 1990s by the pinnacle of commercial acceptance, the Gagosian Gallery, he turned even that courtship into farce by demanding a million dollars each for collages then selling in the four-figure range; they’ve since advanced only into five figures.

“He was a guerrilla fighter against materialism and fame, and in a sense he’s still fighting today,” said Frances F. L. Beatty, president of Richard L. Feigen & Co., the gallery that represents Mr. Johnson’s estate.

But the art world may be finally starting to conquer Mr. Johnson’s will to resist it. A spate of books, exhibitions and museum acquisitions has come along in recent months, as his work has been discovered, yet again, by a generation of younger artists, like Matt Connors, Hanna Liden, Adam McEwen and Harmony Korine. This time, as money and power loom ever more powerfully in art circles, it seems to be Mr. Johnson’s role as a heroic-comic Bartleby that makes him particularly attractive to younger artists. But the shape-shifting ways in which he operated outside art’s normal channels — through the post office, street performances and artist’s books — also resonate for 21st-century artists whose work fits uneasily into the conventions of museums and galleries."



"Mr. Dugan said he had been drawn to Mr. Johnson in part because of his avid following among younger, punk-influenced artists but also those whose work seems to have little affinity with Mr. Johnson’s, like Mr. Connors, an abstract painter who is featured in “The Forever Now: Contemporary Painting in an Atemporal World” on view now at the Museum of Modern Art.

In an email, Mr. Connors said: “I am always very excited by artists who create their own very specific codes, languages and grammars. He’s speaking his own language and talking to and about specific people, but he also loves to share it with you.” The effect is “kind of like a queer and gossipy downtown Joseph Beuys.”

For the show at Karma, Mr. Dugan was allowed to pore over reams of paper works in the Feigen archive, made by Mr. Johnson mostly in the last decade of his life, “and what I saw was a total discovery to me, because a lot of it was very raw and very punk,” he said. “Here was this guy in his 60s, and he’s still up to it, to the very end, pulling in new material from the culture and making this very weird stuff that feels very contemporary now.”

Ms. Beatty, who struggled for years to get Mr. Johnson to agree to a major exhibition at the Feigen gallery, remembered that he called her three days before he died. “And he said, ‘Listen, Frances, I’m planning to do something big and after that, you’ll finally be able to do your show.’ And I had no idea what he was talking about, but I thought maybe he was actually giving in, after playing cat and mouse for so long.

“Well, of course, little did I know, and that’s how it always was with Ray — how little did we know,” Ms. Beatty said, adding, “It was a lived-for-art life, 100 percent, all the way to the end.”"
rayjohnson  art  hieroglyphs  resistance  materialism  fame  2015  punk  symbols  mailart 
january 2015 by robertogreco
Blog - Wolff Olins Blog - A new flag for Britain
"We approached the challenge in a few ways:

Weather responsive flag
Similar to the physical version that flaps in the wind, our new flag responds to the British weather.

[image]

Patchwork flag
The old flag was designed as a two-colour solution because of reproduction constraints. What if we use different colours and materials to create a flag that represents the different people and communities that make up Britain? Plastic, gold and new threads are woven into the design. Some of the colours have been taken from the Royal Standard.

[image]

Designer flag
The UK is full of brilliant designers. Let’s collaborate with Peter Saville or Paul Smith to design an iconic flag.

[image]

Please note, these have not been designed by Peter or Paul—they are nasty ripoffs.

3D flag
Who needs a flag anyway? The Romans had a golden eagle on a pole and they ran the world for 500 years. What about a 3D flag based on the angles proposed in the original Union Jack? Imagine our victorious athletes holding aloft Britain’s orb.

[image]

Internet flag
What about all those little flags that are flown across the internet? We need a flag that has been optimised for a new digital context. Our animated gif flag symbolises Britain as the meeting place for people from anywhere in the digital and physical realm.

[image]

Cool flag
And what about a flag that is just cool.
Pink = Northern Ireland
Green= Wales
Red= England

[image]

Serious flag
Okay… so we’ve had some fun with this brief. But seriously… the original flag is mega cool and it also appears in the corner of loads of other countries flags (like Australia). And it’s a really great brand – blue, red and white triangles have become a defining graphic language of Britain. So with that in mind we propose this flag.

[image]

It’s a simplified version of the original that removes the crosses and keeps the iconic elements - a central focus, angles and colours. It’s easier to draw and it looks great.

As much as we’d love to see one of these little beauties flying out in the world – Scotland, as you cast your vote today just remember what affect your vote could have on that lovely Union Jack."
2014  flags  wolffolins  via:lizette  britain  uk  scotland  weather  symbols  symbolism  evolvinglogos  design  identity  logos 
october 2014 by robertogreco
Extinction Symbol
"The symbol above represents extinction. The circle signifies the planet, while the hourglass inside serves as a warning that time is rapidly running out for many species. The world is currently undergoing a mass extinction event, and this symbol is intended to help raise awareness of the urgent need for change in order to address this crisis. Estimates are that somewhere between 30,000 and 140,000  species are becoming extinct every year in what scientists have named the Holocene, or Sixth Mass Extinction. This ongoing process of destruction is being caused by the impact of human activity. Within the next few decades approximately 50% of all species that now exist will have become extinct. Such a catastrophic loss of biodiversity is highly likely to cause widespread ecosystem collapse and consequently render the planet uninhabitable for humans.

In order to spread the message as widely as possible, please create this symbol in any location you feel able to. Thank you."
symbols  extinction  via:warrenellis  massextinction 
september 2014 by robertogreco
Isotype Revisited | From hieroglyphics to Isotype
"From 1943 until his death in December 1945, Otto Neurath worked tirelessly on numerous versions of an innovative 'visual autobiography' titled From hieroglyphics to Isotype. After his death, only extracts from the original text appeared in print: as 'From hieroglyphics to Isotypes' [sic] in Future books: the crowded scene (volume III, 1947), heavily edited by Neurath's widow, Marie Neurath, and the film-maker Paul Rotha; and later in Empiricism and sociology, edited by Marie Neurath and Robert S. Cohen (1973).

Otto Neurath initially conceived From hieroglyphics to Isotype as a 'PICTURE BOOK, with a few explanatory notes only', adding that its purpose would be to 'show the different sources from which Isotype has evolved'. He wanted to reveal Isotype's genealogy by penetrating to its roots, looking at heraldic, allegorical, tattoo and playing card symbols; military drawings and battle plans; maps; still and moving photographic images; and projection and perspective presentations - in total, looking at instances of how 'the visual elements of a comprehensive visual language combine'.

Having formulated his intentions, there followed a flurry of writing and research. Neurath collated his ideas by making notes piecemeal on small scraps of paper (above; I.C. 3.2/76), which were stuck together and appended to his first rough draft. He added extensive notes for the book's contents, and long, detailed lists of chapters and of illustrations to be included from his own extensive and rich collection of 18th- and 19th-century ephemera.

Early drafts of Neurath's text received less than favorable criticism from Wolfgang Foges, managing director of the book packager Adprint (handling the book's production), who regarded the text (only half-jokingly) as self-absorbed Isotype propaganda. Neurath was advised to focus on and expand the biographical notes featured in the book's epilogue 'Glimpses at a visual autobiography', and this he did with enthusiasm and aplomb. In subsequent drafts, Neurath thus shifted his emphasis from the evolution of Isotype to a personal exploration of the visual stimuli that had engaged, challenged and influenced his life and work.

To show his conception of the book, Neurath created two mock-ups of it, including a rough cover design (shown at top), exacting page layouts and numerous examples of illustrative material. He composed further extensive and exacting lists of illustrations from books, prints, periodicals and journals for inclusion. Simply put, Neurath wanted it to be a big book 'with lots of pictures'.

Some sixty-five years on, work is now underway to collate the several variant texts of the visual autobiography held in the Otto and Marie Neurath Isotype Collection. The aim is to produce a judiciously edited and well-illustrated edition under the title From hieroglyphics to Isotype: a visual autobiography. Publication by Hyphen Press is planned for 2010. (ME)"

[See also: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Otto_Neurath
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neurath%27s_boat ]
ottoneurath  books  toread  design  hieroglyphics  symbols  visual  via:unthinkingly  maps  mapping  autobiographies  paulrotha  marieneurath  robertcohen  isoptype  shipoftheseus 
december 2013 by robertogreco
The Lives of Images Peter Galison in conversation with Trevor Paglen [.pdf]
"What is observation? What is seeing? What counts as “right depiction”? Are images today now doing more than showing? What is objectivity? What does the future of imaging hold?

Peter Galison, one of the world’s leading historians of science, has written widely on how visual representation shapes our understanding of the world. Trevor Paglen is an artist whose work with photography has explored governmental secrecy and the limits of seeing. For his most recent project, The Last Pictures, Paglen worked with a group of scientists to create a disc of images marking our historical moment; the project culminated in last year’s launch of a satellite, carrying those images, that will remain in Earth’s orbit perpetually. The following conversation took place at Aperture’s office earlier this year."



"Well, what is it that the digital really does? There are many ways in which the digital is shaped by the legacy of analog photography and film. Both for political reasons and aesthetic reasons, what’s really important is the fact that digital is small, cheap, and searchable. The combination of these three features is dramatic. It means that your smartphone does facial recognition—no longer is that an inaccessible and futuristic piece of the state-security apparatus. It’s ubiquitous.

Aesthetically, this can mean a kind of decentering, a vision of the world that is not directly human. It also means that cameras are everywhere, and you’re not even aware of them. There’s an interesting film by a colleague and friend, Lucien Castaing-Taylor, working with Véréna Paravel, called Leviathan (2012), filmed on fishing boats in the North Atlantic. A lot of the film would have been completely unimaginable just a generation ago. They use little high-resolution digital cameras to achieve points of view in places that would previously have been impossible: amidst the pile of dead fish, or underwater as the tank is being filled, or looking back at the front of the boat. These are not impossible camera angles, but they’re nonhuman points of view."



"It seems that we’re moving away from thinking about images interms of representation and toward thinking about their creation as part of a networked process, guided by political or economic “scripts” embedded in the algorithms controlling these image-making networks. If we look at Facebook’s facial-recognition and search technologies, or at Instagram, we see similar things going on, but in a commercial context."



"If images become tools, it’s easier to see them as stepping-stones to other things. For me, the fundamental separation between art and science is not an eternal characteristic of science. The split happened in a historical moment. If you said to Leonardo da Vinci—pardon me, historians—“Are your studies of turbulent water art or science?” he would reply (so I imagine): “You’re crazy! What are you talking about? I don’t even recognize this choice.” But in the nineteenth century, you begin to have the idea of an objective image and of a scientist who is defined by being self-restrained, followed by the idea of maximal detachment from the image. At that moment, Charles Baudelaire criticized photography, saying (approximately): “You know, this isn’t really part of art because it’s insufficiently modulated by the person who says he’s an artist.” In that sense, what Baudelaire is saying and what late-nineteenth-century scientists are saying is the same thing, except they come to opposite conclusions. What they agree on is that art is defined by intervention and science is defined by lack of intervention.

I believe the trunk split, at that point, into two branches. But in many ways the branches are coming back together again in our moment. People in the art world aren’t frightened, in the way they once were, of having a scientific dimension to what they do. It’s not destabilizing for Matthew Ritchie to collaborate with scientists, nor is it a professional disqualification for scientists to work with artists."
trevorpaglen  petergalison  aperture  images  photography  perception  interpretation  history  science  art  seeing  sight  leviathan  recording  video  film  processing  photoshop  digital  luciencastaing-taylor  vérénaparavel  presentation  manipulation  capture  distortion  depiction  universalism  language  communication  symbols  semiotics  aesthetics  interdisciplinary  glvo  instagram  networkedfictions  canon  matthewritchie  leonardodavinci  facebook  uniquity  gopro  charlesbaudelaire  newaesthetic  convergence 
june 2013 by robertogreco
Decoding The City: Infrastructural Graffiti | Design Decoded
"Cities around the world are covered in spray-painted hieroglyphics and cryptic designations scrawled on public surfaces; unintelligible tags and arcane signs intended to communicate messages to a specialized audience with a trained eye. Such markings are so prevalent that they just blend into the urban patina of dirt and disrepair and go largely unnoticed. I’m not talking about illegal graffiti. Rather, the officially sanctioned infrastructural “tagging” employed by public works departments around the country.

You’ve probably seen these markings on streets and sidewalks. Multi-colored lines, arrows and diamonds denoting the presence of some subterranean infrastructure or encode instruction for construction or maintenance workers. A secret language that temporarily manifests the invisible systems that power our world. Recently, Columbia’s Studio-X blog shared the decoder ring that unlocks these secret messages:"
codes  hieroglyphics  annotation  streets  cities  urban  urbanism  symbols  messages  via:vruba 
april 2013 by robertogreco
CopyPasteCharacter.com
"What is CopyPasteCharacter.com?

A web and iPhone application for copying the ‘hidden’ characters that comes with the computer’s typefaces, to be pasted into emails, tweets, text documents, forums and whatever else you might need to spice up with an extra ♔, ฿ or, ❒.
Copy Paste Character is developed in St☃ckholm, Sweden, by Konst & Teknik & Martin.
If you have any questions, feedback or praise, feel free to send us a tweet (@copypastechar) or email.
Oh, and we of course welcome any PayPal donation you would want to send our way — thanks! Or get the official mug here."

"Click to copy — press down ❮alt❯ for multiple"
via:robinsloan  characters  reference  tools  typography  web  symbols  copypaste  onlinetoolkit 
february 2013 by robertogreco
Time & Eternity
"We eat Wonder Bread which is styrofoam injected with some chemicals that are supposed to be nutritive. We do not even know how to drink. In other words, living, we live in the abstract, not in the concrete. We work for money, not for wealth. We look forward to the future, and do not know how to enjoy today. Now you see is the meaning of eternal life. When Jesus said "Before Abraham was," he didn't say "I was," he said "I am." And to come to this, to know that you are and there is no time except the present. And then suddenly, you see, you attain a sense of reality. You have to find it now. And so really, the aim of education is to teach people to live in the present, to be all here. As it is, our educational system is pretty abstract. It neglects the absolutely fundamentals of life, teaching us all to be bureaucrats, bankers clerks, accountants and insurance salesmen; all cerebral.

It entirely neglects our relationships to the material world."

[See also: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ERbvKrH-GC4 ]
plans  planning  symbols  words  philosophy  speed  energy  motion  hurry  attention  slow  children  sovietunion  posterity  hereandnow  present  abstraction  abstract  presence  reality  capitalism  communism  alanwatts  education  eternity  time 
september 2012 by robertogreco
Dotsies
"That says "dotsies is here". Dotsies is a font that uses dots instead of letters. The latin alphabet (abc...) was created thousands of years ago, and is optimized for writing, not reading. About time for an update, no? Dotsies is optimized for reading. The letters in each word smoosh together, so words look like shapes! Follow me on twitter for periodic tips on learning it (it's not that hard) or to tell me what you think."

["How to Learn" page: http://dotsies.org/learn/ ]
decoding  writing  wcydwt  classideas  fun  words  symbols  codes  via:caseygollan  dotsies  language  typography 
september 2012 by robertogreco
The 2007 CBC Massey Lectures, "The City of Words" | Ideas with Paul Kennedy | CBC Radio
"The end of ethnic nationalism, building societies around sets of common values, seems like a good idea. But something is going wrong. In the 2007 Massey Lectures, writer Alberto Manguel takes a fresh look at some of the problems we face, and suggests we should look at what stories have to teach us about society.

"How do stories help us perceive ourselves and others?" he asks. "How can stories lend a whole society an identity...?"

From Gilgamesh to the Bible, from Don Quixote to The Fast Runner, Alberto Manguel explores how books and stories hold the secret keys to what binds us together."

Internationally acclaimed as an anthologist, translator, essayist, novelist, and editor, Alberto Manguel is the bestselling author of several award-winning books, including A Dictionary of Imaginary Places and A History of Reading."
imaginarycities  cities  reading  ulysses  jamesjoyce  kafka  jung  carljung  apollo  cassandra  meaningmaking  meaning  sensemaking  understanding  perception  imagination  therealworld  mapping  maps  theself  self  literature  fiction  reality  margaretatwood  plato  names  naming  language  words  rubendarío  socrates  aristotle  symbolism  symbols  thecityofwords  worlds  writing  borges  themaker  poetry  commonvalues  donquixote  gilgamesh  bible  history  society  storytelling  stories  cbc  masseylectures  2007  albertomanguel 
august 2012 by robertogreco
Everything you know lost in translation - Bobulate
"Japanese used to have a color word, ao, that spanned both green and blue. In the modern language, however, ao has come to be restricted mostly to blue shades, and green is usually expressed by the word midori (although even today ao can still refer to the green of freshness or unripeness — green apples, for instance, are called ao ringo). when the first traffic lights were imported from the United States and installed in Japan in the 1930s, they were just as green as anywhere else. Nevertheless, in common parlance the go light was dubbed ao shingoo, perhaps because the three primary colors on Japanese artists’ palettes are traditionally aka (red), kiiro (yellow), and ao. The label ao for a green light did not appear so out of the ordinary at first, because of the remaining associations of the word ao with greenness.

But over time, the discrepancy between the green color and the dominant meaning of the word ao began to feel jarring. Nations with a weaker spine might have opted for…"
history  symbolism  symbols  description  guydeutscher  language  color  blue  green  lizdanzico  japanese  translation 
april 2012 by robertogreco
The Sketchbook of Susan Kare, the Artist Who Gave Computing a Human Face | NeuroTribes
"Once software was developed that enabled Kare to start brainstorming digitally, she mined ideas from everywhere: Asian art history, the geeky gadgets and toys that festooned her teammates’ cubicles, and the glyphs that Depression-era hobos chalked on walls to point the way to a sympathetic household. The symbol on every Apple command key to this day — a stylized castle seen from above — was commonly used in Swedish campgrounds to denote an interesting sightseeing destination. [Note: See comment by Lennart Regebro below for an even older citation of the design.]

Kare’s work gave the Mac a visual lexicon that was universally inviting and intuitive. Instead of thinking of each image as a tiny illustration of a real object, she aimed to design icons that were as instantly comprehensible as traffic signs."
susankare  stevesilberman  design  icons  mac  history  symbols  sketchbook  hobosigns  hobocodes  glyphs 
november 2011 by robertogreco
Witnessing tools and resentment | slacktivist
"Mainly, though, car-fish aren’t really intended for witnessing. They’re not witnessing tools, they are tribal symbols. The Jesus-fish on a car is not an invitation, but a declaration of tribal allegiance. It’s a signal that the driver of this car is an “Us” rather than a “Them.” And that Us-Them symbolism has far more to do with conflict than with any attempt at conversion.<br />
<br />
This is true as well of many of the other things we tell ourselves are “witnessing tools.” One one level, they may be intended as conversation-starters, but on another level they’re also intended as conversation-stoppers — as attempts to win some implied argument. They’re not really designed for evangelism. They’re just the graffiti and propaganda of the culture wars."
religion  via:lukeneff  symbols  symbolism  witnessingtools  christianity  cars  tribalism  conflict  conversion  evangelism  propaganda  culturewars  conversation  allegiances 
august 2011 by robertogreco
Second-order simulacra - Wikipedia
"Second-order simulacra, a term coined by Jean Baudrillard, are symbols without referents, that is, symbols with no real object to represent. Simply put, a symbol is itself taken for reality and further layer of symbolism is added. This occurs when the symbol is taken to be more important or authoritative of the original entity, authenticity has been replaced by copy (thus reality is replaced by a substitute).

The consequence of the propagation of second-order simulacra is that, within the affected context, nothing is "real," though those engaged in the illusion are incapable of seeing it. Instead of having experiences, people observe spectacles, via real or metaphorical control screens. Instead of the real, we have simulation and simulacra, the hyperreal.
baudrillard  philosophy  simulation  symbols  simulcra  representation  reality  illusions  illusion  hyperreal  symbolism  simulations 
august 2011 by robertogreco
QR Code Stencil Generator and QR Hobo Codes | F.A.T.
"Yep, it’s a QR code stencil generator! We present QR_STENCILER, a free, fully-automated utility which converts QR codes into vector-based stencil patterns suitable for laser-cutting. Additionally, we present QR_HOBO_CODES, a series of one hundred QR stencil designs which, covertly marked in urban spaces, may be used to warn people about danger or clue them into good situations. The QR_STENCILER and the QR_HOBO_CODES join the Adjustable Pie Chart Stencil in our suite of homebrew "infoviz graffiti" tools for locative and situated information display."
design  urban  graffiti  qrcodes  stencils  streetart  hobos  hobocodes  symbols  information  annotation  annotatedspeces  hobosigns 
july 2011 by robertogreco
eye | feature : All you need is love: pictures, words and worship [Great piece on Sister Corita Kent]
"Corita’s cultural contribution spanned several decades. Although she described herself as an artist rather than a design professional, her 1960s work spanned both fields. Graphic strategies such as lettering and layout were central to her artistic voice. At the same time, she had no qualms about accepting commissions for magazine covers, book jackets, album sleeves, ads and posters, although even here she should be seen less as a jobbing designer than as an artist with a distinctive and easily recognisable graphic sensibility. As Harvey Cox said, “The world of signs and sales slogans and plastic containers was not, for her, an empty wasteland. It was the dough out of which she baked the bread of life.” 12 At its best, her work proposed a symbolic template that blurred the boundaries between art, design and communication, between a life of worship and the everyday life of her time."
sistercorita  art  vernacular  life  everyday  glvo  design  communication  graphicdesign  graphics  typography  advertising  signs  symbols  via:britta  teaching  printmaking  serigraphs  accessibility  urban  urbanism  decontextualization  photography  noticing  seeing  seeingtheworld  fieldtrips  unschooling  deschooling  education  immaculateheartcollege  eames  viewfinders  process  julieault  2000  1960s  martinbeck  society  perspective  activism  coritakent 
may 2011 by robertogreco
NounProject
"Mission: “sharing, celebrating and enhancing the world's visual language”<br />
The Noun Project collects, organizes and adds to the highly recognizable symbols that form the world's visual language, so we may share them in a fun and meaningful way. Here is our pledge to you:

FREE: The symbols on this site are and always will remain free. We believe symbols can not be effectively shared with the world if they are not free

SIMPLE: Everyone like simplicity. We want you to be able to come to our site and effortlessly find and obtain what you are looking for. Simple as that.

FUN: We think a language that can be understood by all cultures and people is a pretty amazing thing. We also think our symbols and the objects or ideas they represent are works of art worth celebrating.

HIGHEST QUALITY: We get excited about things like scale, proportion, and shape. We are committed to design and quality in everything we do."
icons  design  free  graphics  symbols  semiotics  search  archives  nouns  classideas  images  visuallanguage  language  communication  simplicity 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Anarchist stamp - Wikipedia
"Anarchist stamps tend to fall into one of two categories; those that are actual postage stamps, and those non-governmental, non-postage stamps that were produced in memory of special historical events and individuals and sometimes to raise money for a political cause, the most popular having been made during the Spanish Civil War. There are also membership dues paid stamps and assessment stamps that are used in membership books for anarchist organizations and labor unions such as the Spanish CNT and the US IWW.<br />
Anarchists represented on postage stamps: Pierre Joseph Proudhon, France, in 1948. Leo Tolstoy, USSR, in 1935, 1953, 1960. Henry David Thoreau, USA, in 1967.Louise Michel, France, 1986. Louise Michel, New Caledonia, 1991. Joe Hill, Sweden, 1980.<br />
On Spanish Civil War stamps (also known as "Republican Labels"): Buenaventura Durruti"
stamps  anarchism  anarchy  symbols  design 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Stamps: Designs For Anarchist Postage Stamps :: AK Press
"Sixteen portraits of anarchist luminaries—Godwin, Stirner, Proudhon, Goldman, Berkman, Herbert Read, Durruti, Bakunin, Louise Michel, Zapata, etc.—together with an essay on anarchism and stamps, by Colin Ward, and Clifford Harper's afterword on his own personal connections to the postal service. Another beautifully crafted vehicle for the incredible artwork of Harper."
colinward  cliffordharper  anarchism  stamps  symbols  anarchy 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Anarchist symbolism - Wikipedia
"While anarchists have historically largely denied the importance of symbols to political movement, they have embraced certain symbols for their cause, including most prominently the circle-A and the black flag. Since the revival of anarchism at the turn of the 21st-century concurrent with the rise of the anti-globalization movement, anarchist cultural symbols are widely present."

"red-and-black flag is symbol of anarcho-syndicalist & anarcho-communist movements…black-and-yellow or black-and-gold flag is used by…anarcho-capitalists or market anarchists…black-and-green flag is used by green anarchists & anarcho-primitivists…black-and-purple flag is used in association with anarcha-feminism, as is the black-and-pink flag, although the latter is more closely associated with queer anarchists, known as anarcho-queers…black-and-white flag is used by anarcho-pacifists &, to a lesser extent, Christian anarchists."

"Black cross…Black rose…Jolly Roger/Pirate flag"
anarchism  symbols  symbolism  flags  design  activism  anarchy 
february 2011 by robertogreco
Sixty Symbols - Physics and Astronomy videos
"Videos abou the symbols of physics and astronomy"
education  science  videos  symbols 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Arroba - Wikipedia
"The word arroba has its origin in Arabic ar-rubʿ (الربع), the fourth part (of a quintal). Arroba was a Spanish and Portuguese unit of weight, mass or volume. Its symbol is @. In weight it is equal to about 25 pounds in Spain, and 32 pounds in Portugal. An Italian academic claims to have traced the @ symbol to the Italian Renaissance, in a Venetian mercantile document signed by Francesco Lapi on May 4, sent from Seville to Rome, describing the goods and treasures arriving on a ship from the Americas to Spain 1537. The Aragonese historian Jorge Romance located the appearance of the @ symbol at the "taula de Ariza" registry from 1448, to denote a wheat shipment from Castile to the Kingdom of Aragon. The unit is still used in Portugal by cork merchants, and in Brazil by cattle traders, defined as 15 kg. In the Spanish language and Portuguese language, the term arroba has now become synonymous with the symbol due to its use in e-mail addresses."
arroba  signs  symbols  email  spanish  portuguese  español  renaissance  italian  arabic  measure  volume 
july 2009 by robertogreco
Folklore.org: Macintosh Stories: Swedish Campground [see also the comments for further discussion]
"It's difficult to come up with a small icon that means "command", and we didn't think of anything right away. Our bitmap artist Susan Kare had a comprehensive international symbol dictionary and she leafed through it, looking for an appropriate symbol that was distinctive, attractive and had at least something to do with the concept of a menu command. Finally she came across a floral symbol that was used in Sweden to indicate an interesting feature or attraction in a campground. She rendered a 16 x 16 bitmap of the little symbol and showed it to the rest of the team, and everybody liked it. Twenty years later, even in OS X, the Macintosh still has a little bit of a Swedish campground in it."
symbols  apple  sweden  commands  mac 
september 2008 by robertogreco
Significado de Diseños
"Los significados presentados a continuación fueron obtenidos por Tim Podkul, estudiante voluntario de Antropología en la Fundación Chol-Chol, a través de una investigación realizada en agosto de 2002 exclusivamente con mujeres pertenecientes a comunidades indígenas que trabajan con la Fundación, por lo que pueden ser no similares a aquellos dados por otras comunidades indígenas del país o a estudios realizados con anterioridad por terceros."
art  chile  mapuche  symbols  design  graphics  via:hspencer 
august 2008 by robertogreco
Irony mark - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia [see laso sidebar with additional punctuation marks]
"irony mark or irony point (؟) (French: point d’ironie; also called a snark or zing) is a punctuation mark that purports to indicate that a sentence should be understood at a second level...small, elevated, backward-facing question mark"
typography  punctuation  language  irony  symbols 
june 2008 by robertogreco
The Feynman-Tufte Principle: A visual display of data should be simple enough to fit on the side of a van - Scientific American
"Feynman diagrams are the embodiment of what Tufte teaches about analytical design: "Good displays of data help to reveal knowledge relevant to understanding mechanism, process and dynamics, cause and effect." We see the unthinkable and think the unseeabl
richardfeynman  edwardtufte  infographics  symbols  design  communication  display  physics  data  information  michaelshermer 
may 2008 by robertogreco
Yingzi: If English was written like Chinese
"The English spelling system is such a pain, we'd might as well switch to hanzi-- Chinese characters. How should we go about it?"
analogy  asia  china  chinese  culture  design  dialect  english  writing  languages  linguistics  symbols  tutorial  pictograms  humor  characters  words  radicals  reasoning  via:mattwebb 
january 2008 by robertogreco
we are multicolored
"there's nobody quite like you. you're one in dseven billion. so make your own flag. look at the flags below. let your mouse wander over them. then make yours over there >>"
travel  visualization  flags  symbols  world  international  glvo  geography  design 
october 2007 by robertogreco
AskOxford: Ask the Experts
"We have built a database of some of the questions sent in to the Oxford Word and Language Service team, so it is likely that if your question is a fairly broad one on grammar, usage, or words then it will be answered here. Simply choose a category and th
english  language  grammar  reference  semantics  spelling  symbols  dictionary  usage  words  writing  linguistics  dictionaries 
october 2007 by robertogreco
Semaphore - Wikipedia
"The semaphore or optical telegraph is an apparatus for conveying information by means of visual signals, with towers with pivoting blades or paddles, shutters, in a matrix, or hand-held flags etc. Information is encoded by the position of the mechanical
communication  history  visual  technology  information  symbols  flags 
september 2007 by robertogreco
Symbol Signs: Society & Environment: AIGA
"The complete set of 50 passenger/pedestrian symbols developed by AIGA is now available on the web, free of charge. Signs are available in EPS and GIF formats."
aiga  infodesign  symbols  signs  signage  graphics  icons  images  visualization  wayfinding  travel  cartography  information  international  design 
august 2007 by robertogreco
China Now Magazine
“Either Chinese characters die or China is doomed.”..."Jiao Yingqi, however, thinks that Chinese characters could be the very source of a 21st-century renaissance in cultural and scientific innovation"
china  chinese  language  writing  future  history  symbols 
july 2007 by robertogreco
PingMag - The Tokyo-based magazine about “Design and Making Things” » Archive » Dainippon Type Organization: Fun With Japanese Characters
"the Dainippon Type Organization breaks Japanese Katakana, Hiragana, and the alphabet into pieces to recompose the parts and produce new characters - like turning Katakana in Kanji looking characters and the other way round"
art  design  japan  japanese  media  type  typography  toys  hiragana  katakana  letters  symbols  english  language  writing  play  pingmag 
july 2007 by robertogreco
Symbols.com - Home
"Symbols.com contains more than 1,600 articles about 2,500 Western signs, arranged into 54 groups according to their graphic characteristics."
archaeology  art  communication  definitions  encyclopedia  graphic  graphics  iconography  icons  infographics  images  ideas  language  linguistics  logos  meaning  symbols  signs  typography  visual  visualization  shapes  semiotics  religion 
june 2007 by robertogreco
Automotive addictions and general tomfoolery: Accessory turn signals of the 20's and 30's
"For a few years now, I have been fascinated by a very odd automotive accessory,..... the add on turn signal / Stop light...... Mainly because of the seemingly endless variety of styles and companies that made these things from the teens through the 40's.
cars  design  history  reference  information  symbols  light 
october 2006 by robertogreco
cityofsound: From A-to-Bee
"On bumblebees. And their extraordinary facility for wayfinding."
nature  animals  place  symbols  wayfinding  design  books  architecture 
september 2006 by robertogreco
Harpers Ferry Center: NPS Maps
"This page contains the standard cartographic symbols and patterns used on National Park Service maps." - in PDF and Illustrator formats
art  design  iconography  icons  images  maps  mapping  reference  resources  symbols  us  webdesign  geography  graphics  webdev 
september 2006 by robertogreco
Fédération Internationale des Associations Vexillologiques (FIAV)
"The International Federation of Vexillological Associations (FIAV) is an umbrella federation of organisations and institutions devoted to the study of history and symbolism of flags of all kind and from any era."
flags  iconography  geography  international  world  symbols  history  organizations 
august 2006 by robertogreco
opening the day at (15 June 2006, Interconnected)
"an alternative view of the ubicomp world of sensors and representation is to say that we're using the internet to poke holes in the earth and see all the way through it: We're not seeing a copy of some data from 1000 miles away, we're seeing the stuff it
internet  ubicomp  senses  representation  symbols  perception  mattwebb  2006 
june 2006 by robertogreco
collision detection: How would you create a new language?
"If you had to invent a new language, how would you go about doing it? What if you couldn't use normal letters and numbers? What constitutes a "successful" lingo?"
studies  games  society  research  symbols  communication  collaborative  language 
november 2005 by robertogreco

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