Did you see that Sign?
It happens all the time. You see a sign, a company logo, an avatar picture and you know what’s it about, or who that picture in the avatar belongs to. Instantly. But how do we know?
For instance: Let’s have a look at the ‘recycle’ logo on the left. It should look familiar. Or are you one of those people that just randomly throws plastic bottles right next to the trashcan – as long as it’s not in your home?
Enter the recycle logo.
The ‘recycle logo’ is a symbol that has a long history. In 1970 the first Earth day was organized. A movement to educate people about the environment. The logo in itself has a few interesting features.
- It’s green in color. The color green is associated (now) with the environment. Green, grass, trees, get the picture?
- It sports three arrows, all pointing in the same direction. A cycle.
- The direction of the rotating arrows is always clock-wise.
- It’s an universal symbol
- The logo is not copyrighted, but has a trade mark.
There is a pretty good chance you know more than 70% different airport pictograms. You have never learned them at school. You just know. From experience.
The tricky part in the design of one of those symbols is to find the most simple way – using a very simple drawing – to get the meaning across.
‘Lost luggage’? Luggage + question mark = lost luggage. It’s one of those ‘Why haven’t I thought of that’ moments. Very often the KISS approach for solving a problem (Keep It Simple Stupid) is the best way to go.
The ‘no smoking’ sign is another great example. A picture of a smoldering cigarette on a round red sign. The color red stands for danger, or stop. That’s one hint. Cross out the smoldering cigarette represents ‘NO’. That’s hint number two.
The use of avatars is very common on the internet. Almost every network you use has the option to staple your favorite mugshot to your personal profile. Why?
When people interact it feels more natural to look at a picture of a face. Put a face with the voice. People are better at remembering faces than they are at remembering names. We can’t help that, it’s just the way our mind works.
In – what’s known as ‘real life’ – people never change their face. Well maybe what they are wearing, color of their hair, nose job, but that’s about it.
So it’s a good idea to not change your personal avatar on a daily basis. Like I said, people mostly recognize you by your face. Look at it as your avatar is your own little trade mark. Changing is will confuse some people.
A good place to store your ‘global / universal’ avatar is Gravatar. It’s free and that’s really cheap!
Now go… and pick your personal pic. Make a few cutouts of a picture. Most profile pictures or avatars should be square (in dimension, smartass…), and about 300 pixels wide and high for optimum display.