Part 3 – Exercise 2: Signs and Symbols

Choose one of the following concepts: Danger, Movement, Love, Here

How does existing visual language represent these concepts? Research the different similes and metaphors that are in common use. Document them through drawings, collecting examples and mind maps.

Now create an alternative symbol to represent at least one of these concepts.

I decided to choose the concept of ‘here’ for this exercise as it wasn’t immediately obvious what signs and symbols would represent ‘here’ apart from the obvious ‘map pin’ and pointing arrow and I was interested to see what I could come up with.

Signs and symbols for ‘here’ involve indicating a location. They draw the eye to a specific area or object of interest. Typically symbols can be map pins, pointing fingers or arrows.


Signs for ‘here’ can also be lines that mark an area or boundary, such as:

The word ‘HERE’ is also often used to indicate ‘here’.. such as ‘Ice Cream Available Here’

My mind map exploring the symbols relating to ‘here’ is below.

My thumbnail sketches exploring symbols for ‘here’ are below:

I chose the concept of a pointer dog as an alternative symbol for ‘here’. The dog is still effectively a ‘pointing’ symbol but is a different form of pointer from the more usual fingers, arrow heads and map pins.

I sketched the outline of a pointer dog in his ‘pointing’ stance and then simplifed the image into a series of angular shapes.

I used Adobe Illustrator to digitally create the same shapes and then combined them together into the dog outline.

I made the outline of the dog red to attract the viewer’s attention and gave the dog a pointy red nose, intended to pin point exactly where the viewer should be looking. My final symbol is below:



When I put my new symbol into practice on a map, I was a bit concerned that it wasn’t standing out, so I reversed the colours to make it predominantly red (and easier to see).





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