About the symbol signs
This systemof 50 symbol signs was designed for use at the crossroads of modern life: in airports and other transportation hubs and at large international events. Produced through a collaboration between AIGA andthe U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT), they are an example of how public-minded designers can address a universal communication need.
Prior to this effort, numerous international, nationaland local organizations had devised symbols to guide passengers and pedestrians through transportation facilities and other sites of international exchange. While effective individual symbols had beendesigned, there was no system of signs that communicated the required range of complex messages, addressed people of different ages and cultures and were clearly legible at a distance.
To developsuch a system, AIGA and DOT. compiled an inventory of symbol systems that had been used in various locations worldwide, from airports and train stations to the Olympic Games. AIGA appointed a committeeof five leading designers of environmental graphics, who evaluated the symbols and made recommendations for adapting or redesigning them. Based on their conclusions, a team of AIGA member designersproduced the symbols.
A first set of 34 symbols was published in 1974, and received one of the first Presidential Design Awards; 16 more symbols were added in 1979. These copyright-free symbols havebecome the standard for off-the-shelf symbols in the catalogues of U.S. sign companies. They are now available on the web for the first time.
AIGA Signs and Symbols Committee members:
Rudolph de Harak
Roger Cook and Don Shanosky
Page, Arbitrio and Resen, Ltd.