A submission to change the face of accessibility
International Accessibility Symbol Design Competition
The UIA put out an open brief for designers and architects to redesign the accessibility symbol:
The challenge is to develop a new symbol of accessibility that better represents the variety of people who use buildings and other types of built environments. The outcome will be a new graphic symbol of accessibility, to be proposed to the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) for adoption as the new international symbol of accessibility.
1. ili does not discriminate, it encapsulates all levels of ability.
2. ili does not aim to only illustrate any specific type of disability, accessibility or ability — but instead all of these things, as the letterforms used within the icon are present in them all conceptually.
3. ili is inherently human in nature, and transcends language, cultures and creeds while doing so. ili is truly global. ili is genderless, and therefore representative of all those who identify as human.
4. ili is positive and uplifting, changing the perception of what is seen to have something ‘missing’, to something that is optimistic. The intention is to move from blue to a more positive yellow in application.
5. ili is responsive, working very small and very large, and thus it is scalable — it could be used in digital accessibility settings as well as physical.
6. ili works inside any shape, predominantly with circles and squares in mind.
7. ili has a story, and thus helps to educate when people learn about it. ili aims to change the narrative around those with accessibility requirements.
8. ili is fun. It has the power to change people’s moods for the better. And that’s a great thing.
9. Each letter making up the face is an accessible from a readability point of view — there is no ambiguity in which letterforms they are.
10. ili has a nickname, and therefore has the power to become colloquial — it can be a memorable mark.
11. ili is a clear departure from the old. It represents a leap forward with clear inclusivity intentions — not half a step. This gives it visibility.
12. ili can be drawn 100 different ways, and still feel the same. This makes it accessible in another dimension — professional application isn’t always needed for the message to communicate.
13. You can draw ili with your toe in the sand — a true test of any icon!
14. Persons engaged with throughout the process with disabilities indicated that the design concept felt more inclusive of wider community with accessibility requirements.
15. Persons engaged with throughout the process with disabilities indicated that the use of a typeface where there is no character disambiguation was a positive step towards inclusivity in their communities.
16. Persons engaged with throughout the process with disabilities indicated that a focus on not highlighting any specific disability, or focusing on disability in a visual way, was key to changing perceptions towards those with accessibility requirements.
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