One of the best aspects of working at (mt) is discovering our clients’ stories. Meeting clients and exploring our network for exceptional projects is in our DNA. The Noun Project is the product of a collaboration of great design and civic minds, yielding a library of rights-free, down-loadable symbols.
1. Tell us who you are and what you do?
The Noun Project is a free online visual dictionary of symbols and icons. We have become a great resource for graphic designers, artists, architects, educators, really any type of creative person to effortlessly find and download high quality symbols for their projects. We were founded by myself (Edward Boatman), Sofya Polyakov and SimpleScott. SimpleScott’s amazingly talented studio, Simple.Honest.Work, is in charge of our web development.
2. What were you doing before you started The Noun Project?
I was working at an architecture firm in Santa Monica, CA. In my spare time I was constantly drawing symbols in my sketchbook.
3. What’s next for The Noun Project?
Our goal over the next 12 months is to exponentially grow the collection while maintaining the highest quality of design and keeping The Noun Project free, simple, and fun to use. With Submissions now open, The Noun Project is no longer just a library. It’s also a workshop, where concepts are visualized and shared freely. It’s a museum where we discover who actually designed the symbols we interact with on a daily basis. It’s a new way of thinking where language is seen, not spoken. One of the things that really excites us is seeing how different designers from around the world visualize the same object, what similarities and differences exist in how we interpret things that seem so ordinary. Besides growing the collection, our focus will be on increasing user participation so that there is more interaction between designers and the site.
4. What are the most unusual icons on your site?
Command Symbol. Even though for Mac users the Command symbol is a part of our everyday lives, most people don’t know the design is derived from the ancient St. John’s Arms symbol in Northern Europe.
Bio-Hazard Symbol. I find this symbol fascinating because there is such a large articulatory distance between the symbol and the referent. This means the symbol looks absolutely nothing like the concept it is trying to represent. The Bio-Hazard symbol was developed by Dow Chemical Company in 1966. They used focus groups to try to determine which designs were most memorable.
Protest Symbol. The Noun Project, along with several design volunteers, created this symbol at a design charrette in Chicago this past summer. Protests are a phenomenon that are as old as humanity itself. I think that is why such a simple primitive symbol like the closed fist is so powerful and universal.
We’ll be featuring clients on our blog as often as we can. If you are doing something exceptional and would like to be featured on the (mt) blog, email Jason at firstname.lastname@example.org.