Friday, February 18, 2011

The Pictogram

This pictogram reading informs on its history. It touches on the earliest forms of pictogram in prehistoric times, the middle ages, and modern times. Immediately, one of the most memorable pieces of information from this editorial is the phases at which the pictogram is understood. "At first glance of the pictogram the most important qualities are perceived. At second glance the less important qualities are perceived. By the third glance the additional details are perceived." This is information to consider when translating our artifacts into icons simply because icons are meant to be read quickly, clearly, and without the use of written language. Pictograms should have the ability to communicate independently of other pictograms, however one of the characteristics of pictograms is that the complete interpretation lies within a system. In order to understand the full context of a particular pictogram the receiver must be able to infer meaning from how it is linked to the rest of the system, such as the one below.

Additionally, a pictogram is most successful when a combination of surroundings, an icon, form, and color is present. The receiver's interpretation is dependent on where and how a pictogram is placed in the real world environment. As designers, we should be well aware the power of placement, scale, surroundings, and color choice can have on its audience.

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