Communication through graphic symbols is older than civilized societies and structured languages. The representation of concepts using images has been vital to our communication since the stone age, and we still use it today. But are we aware of the power of visual communication?
The representation of ideas through graphic symbols knows a lot about culture and little about languages. Graphic visuals don’t distinguish borders and are capable of efficiently communicating the same concept at an airport in Frankfurt, a shopping mall in Istanbul, or a subway station in Caracas.
Besides the more universal symbols such as traffic signs or pictograms at a hospital, icons have occupied a more personal place in our daily lives. We find them in the control panel of our car, on the appliances that we use to cook, and the electronic devices through which we communicate. These icons provide us information in the form of functions or warnings, yet we also use them consciously to communicate ideas and emotions.
This “conscious use” of icons is our subject of interest. We want to explore the possibilities of visual communication, not as an exclusive resource for designers and artists, but as a “visual alphabet” for everyone. We wonder if icons can really cross language barriers, proposing new possibilities for communication, so we can use graphic symbols to share our thoughts and stories.
At BrandCrew we partnered with TEDxRíodelaPlata to look at the power of “graphic communication possibilities,” and test new ways of communication and creative thinking. As part of preparations for TEDxRíodelaPlataED 2015, an event entirely dedicated to ideas that can help transform education, we invited a group of teens and asked them a single question: "What is education for you?”
Using the Noun Project platform as the graphic resource, we selected a group of icons from different creators that served as “the alphabet.” Teens were asked to respond to the question by using icons from the alphabet to represent different concepts and create visual sentences and graphic metaphors that would later be the subject of collective interpretation.
We want to ask ourselves: Is it possible to create visual sentences capable to transmit an idea as accurate as written messages? What opportunities may arise through the conscious use of graphic communication? Which are the possible limitations when interpreting this visual messages?
We discussed, wrote, drew, and painted in a colourful debate about education and graphic communication. It was a great afternoon full creativity and ended with a lot of painted hands!
All of the material created during this workshop will be used as a part of the TEDxRíodelaPlataEd graphic identity this April 18 in Buenos Aires, Argentina. We will also be creating more educational iconic analyses as a part of the event identity.
We want to thanks to all of the participants to make this experiment possible, the icon designers and the Noun Project for such a wonderful platform and icons, ORT School for the space and TEDxRíodelaPlata.org for inspiring us!!
Icon Credits: Mateo Zlatar - SuperAtic LABS - Nadya Brätt - Miki Shoji - Erin Standley - Diego Naive - Diego Naive - Jens Tärning - Gonzalo Bravo - Sofía Moya - Naomi Atkinson - Dmitry Baranovskiy - Hafizh - Marwa Boukarim - riyazali - useiconic.com - Simon Child - Simon Child - Convoy - OCHA Visual Information Unit - Egon Låstad - Ed Gray - Slava Strizh - Nikhileswar Jangala - iconsmind.com - Mister Pixel - Saman Bemel-Benrud - Luis Prado
Photography and video: Esteban Rosselli
Workshop and Idea: Brandcrew