Symbol Signs: A Universal Communication Tool

International Symbol Signs: A Universal Communication Tool

Symbol signs are a system of 50 pictograms designed to communicate information to passengers and pedestrians in airports, transportation hubs, and other large international venues. They were developed by the American Institute of Graphic Arts (AIGA) in collaboration with the U.S. Department of Transportation (DOT) in the 1970s.

International Symbol signs are designed to be universally understood, regardless of language or culture. They use simple, geometric shapes and clear colors to convey information about essential services and facilities, such as restrooms, baggage claim, and emergency exits.

The symbols are also designed to be highly visible and legible from a distance. They are often used on signs and maps in airports and other busy transportation facilities, where people are often moving quickly and may not have time to read text.

Symbol signs have become a standard feature of transportation facilities around the world. They are also used in other public places, such as museums, stadiums, and shopping malls.

Benefits ofsymbol signs:

  • Universal communication:  symbol signs can be understood by people of all languages and cultures.
  • Clear and concise: The symbols are simple and easy to understand, even from a distance.
  • Highly visible: The bright colors and bold shapes of the symbols make them easy to see in busy environments.
  • Versatile: symbol signs can be used to convey a wide range of information, from essential services to directional cues.

How to use International symbol signs:

When using symbol signs, it is important to consider the following guidelines:

  • Use the symbols in a consistent way throughout your signage system.
  • Place the symbols in a prominent location where they can easily be seen by pedestrians and travelers.
  • Use clear and concise text to supplement the symbols, but avoid cluttering the signs.
  • Make sure the symbols are large enough to be legible from a distance.


Pictograms or symbol signs are a valuable tool for communicating information to people from all walks of life. By using these symbols in a clear and consistent way, you can help to create a more welcoming and accessible environment for everyone.

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