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April 27, 2015

Recognition for pictogram design

Recently, good news arrived at HansemEUG’s UB Design Lab.
Assistant Manager Kim Duk-hwan, of the UB Design Lab, won the “Public Information Graphic Symbol Competition – Best Symbol Award” from the Korea Technical Communication Association.
The award recognizes the designer’s creativity and compliance with standards and is registered with International Organization for Standardization’s ISO 7001.


Duk-hwan was very happy to receive KTCA’s award. He managed to complete the design for the competition between his normal work assignments, as he was eager to exhibit his design. When the award was announced, Duk-hwan broke the news to his General Manager and was warmly congratulated. This award also serves to highlight HansemEUG’s design capability.

What are pictograms?
Pictogram is a compound word that combines “picture” and “telegram.” They are pictorial symbols that can be used internationally, as the design enables people to perceive the meaning intuitively regardless of language, race, and culture. Pictograms should be understood by everyone immediately, without any prior knowledge. The message is visualized and must be simple with an intelligible meaning. 

If a symbol has multiple interpretations, difficult situations may arise. Therefore, they must be designed in a way that allows people to perceive and understand the meaning instantly.

Standardized symbols are commonly used for safety signage and in public facilities, such as airports, toilets, subways, exits, and public transportation. The organizations that manage the standardization process are Korean Standards for national standards and International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for international standards.

Examples of pictograms
Pictograms must be recognized by everyone and understood instantly. Designers must be aware that images are interpreted more arbitrarily than text depending on the way they are expressed.
 
<Korea>                                         <China>                                           <Japan>
The pictures shown above are pictograms indicating seating that is reserved for the elderly, the disabled, and pregnant women in Korea, China, and Japan respectively. There are minor differences but they manage to convey the same message. 

For general facilities, domestic standards can be applied without much trouble. However, for public facilities used by many and unspecified persons, it is recommended to use international standards


A robust research and planning process
Before finalizing his design, Duk-hwan carried out extensive planning and research to shape his design concept. The data he collected included literature on symbol production, ISO standards, cultural factors, and the examination of a range of existing designs. Before submitting his design for the competition, he extensively tested the symbol to ensure that it would perform its function. HansemEUG is proud to say to that Duk-hwan is an asset to our team. We expect many great things from him in the future.

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