By. Ran

Oh, how I wish I had this t-shirt when I was in Afghanistan back in 2009!  We were situated in a little Observation Post somewhere in Kandahar for a week or two at a time. We have nothing but rations to eat. After many days of hard trying and elaborate drawings, I was finally able to communicate to a local Afghan National Army soldier that we would like some real food. And then, for the rest of our stay, for just a couple of dollars per week, we got hot meals twice per day. If I had had this 40 icon t-shirt, I could have saved my tummy days and days of eating cold rations.

IconSpeak is a useful T-shirt printed with 40 universal icons, perfect for those situations where you do not know the local language or have forgotten how to say that your car battery needs charging.

The idea for this shirt was thought up by three Swiss “pen-pushers” over multiple drinks and after an unforgettable adventure with a broken-down motorcycle, somewhere in Vietnam. And this is just a little of their story.

“Many times we were confronted with a language barrier that was only to be overcome by drawing signs, symbols or icons on a piece of paper, map, or into the dirt,” explain George, Steven, and Florian. “We thought it would be great to have an essential set of icons with you, permanently, so that you could just point on whatever you need – and people would understand. Soon the notepad was pulled out again and we started listing more or less essential icons that would have been of great help during not just ours, but basically anyone’s trip.”

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“In the discussion and selection process we came across some icons that were on the long list,” IconSpeak told us.

“Don’t make something unless it’s both necessary and useful”

“But if it is both necessary and useful, don’t hesitate to make it beautiful”

“We decided to really make the world edition ‘essential’ ”

“Imagine if you had to choose several animal icons – where would you stop?”

“We aim to develop an icon language that can be used and understood all over the world”

“To see now that this is really happening is a big pleasure”

“We invite individuals and institutions from all over the world to participate in this venture”

We thank IconSpeak for this.

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