November 21st, 2011

Design Guidelines for User Submissions

With the opening of User Submissions, designers from around the world can now upload their symbols to the collection and help further the mission of sharing, celebrating and enhancing the world’s visual language.

In order to ensure that the collection remains of the highest design quality, all submissions will go through a curation process.  Having design and style guidelines is critical to maintaining a collection that remains consistent in style while it grows. Therefore, we recommend following these design considerations when submitting a symbol.

1.  Your design should contain only the essential characteristics and facts of the object or idea you are turning into a symbol.


Both of these symbols represent a house, but the symbol on the right has additional unnecessary elements that take away from communicating the overall essence of a house.  The symbol on the left is stripped to its bare essentials by using only the necessary visual elements.  Because of this, it is a much more effective and elegant design.

2. Design style should be consistent throughout the symbol.

Both of these symbols represent a thunderstorm.  The symbol on the left utilizes a consistent design style throughout - there is an equal level of abstraction in the design of the cloud as in the lightning bolt.  The symbol on the right, however, uses two differing design styles with the cloud and the lightning, which creates a symbol that is visually messy and confusing.

3.  The symbol should not look illustrative or hand drawn, rather it should have the characteristics of a street sign. 

We are looking for designs that are well executed.

4.  Symbol designs should not include your own personal opinion, feeling, or belief towards the object or idea you are trying to depict.

Both of these symbols represent a bank, but obviously in very different ways.  The symbol on the left is neutral and objective, while the symbol on the right is trying to communicate an opinion that banks are evil.  While opinions make great art pieces, they do not make the most effective symbols.

While following the design guidelines above will not guarantee that a symbol will be accepted, submissions that do not follow them will most likely not be added to the collection.

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