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Pictograms: Speak the Same Language

Pictograms: Speak the Same Language

Apparently, pictograms were the first form of communication, we humans started out having, when we were still drawing inside the caves. To this day pictograms are an important and handy tool when making signage in complex surroundings. A pictogram is a universal language, which helps us when we need the toilet, the information desk or a restaurant. A simple arrow is a pictogram showing the direction, and so is the silhouette of a mosque showing the way to the prayer room. When we see a sign with an airplane taking off, it ensures our busy minds that we are on the right way to the gate. A pictogram supports a written message and thereby helps people with reading difficulties – due to poor eyesight, illiteracy or dyslexia – and enhances fast decoding. Without realising, you’re guided by the most iconic pictograms to the women’s room, the car park, the nursery or the gate. Having said that, we always enjoy the adjustment of signage to culture and design. When working with airport projects in the Middle East, we learned about farewell-areas, longer skirts for women on the pictograms, ablution etc. Quite a normal thing to all Arabic people.

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