DES2104 – Wk 2 Lecture

This week the lecture opened with an introduction to the differences between pictograms and ideograms. A pictogram being a representation of something in the real world (often with a visual resemblance), while an ideogram is a symbol which has had it’s meaning agreed upon and doesn’t necessarily represent something in the real world. The example given by Stuart was that of the ‘red cross’ and the ‘red crescent’ as ideograms, representing not a literal red object, but rather as agreed upon symbols of the relevant organisations.

While pictograms generally have a real-world basis, they are by no means objective. One way this was demonstrated to use in considering the well-known mapping of the London Underground which was originally designed by Harry Beck. This manner of displaying the train line was considered radical at the time, and disregarded geographical accuracy in favour of visual clarity. Although the pictogram represented the real-world train system, it’s overall style was influenced moreso by the circuitry diagrams familiar to Back and the tools he used at the time (which produced straight lines and 45˚angles).

The First London Underground Image

Continuing the discussion of the subjectivity of pictograms and ideograms we were shown images of the Male / Female toilet signs from around the world; although these types of signs are generally based on representations of a male and female person respectively, the symbols (in context) have the agreed upon meaning that they represent the presence of toilet facilities. The images of signs from across the world were quite interesting, as there was a great deal of variety (and subjectivity) based on the country, culture, and even specific location of the sign.


Towards the end of the lecture we learnt more about our upcoming projects. One particular point a want to remember is about considering sets as a ‘system of seeing’. When we create our series of images, we should aim to continue a theme/style throughout. Some ways in which we can connect our sets are by matching:

  • Line weight
  • Angles
  • Styles
  • Shapes
  • Proximity

Coming up…. Week 2 Tutorial Details.


[Image 1] London Underground [Scanned Image]. (n.d.).

[Image 2] Toilettes publiques [Photograph]. (2010).

[Image 3] Toilet Sign 2 [Photograph]. (2012).

[Image 4] Toilet Sign 25 [Photograph]. (2012).

One thought on “DES2104 – Wk 2 Lecture

  1. Pingback: DES2104 – Wk 2 Tutorial | NOT A BLOG

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