The Biohazard symbol is one of the most well-known and universal warning signs of modern society. The symbol, and the threat represented thereby, are respected and feared for the sterness and severity. But where did the symbol come from?
A post turned up yesterday on Digg explaining it. This isn’t the sort of information I would generally seek, but it’s bloody interesting! What we have here is a clear example of graphic communication in its purest form. Creating an association and linking that notion to a symbol is what branding is all about — whether done by scientists or artist, the result is equally as powerful.
… it had to be unique and something that would be striking enough that it would be remembered. We wanted something that was memorable but meaningless, so we could educate people as to what it means.
Am I the only one who sees the B-Hazard logo as somewhat insect-like? It evokes the notion of claws, teeth and talons, which are generally harmful to us mortals. I wonder if that was intentional. And yes, it also kinda looks like a virus molecule, but that’s going into geek world a little too far.
Speaking of vaguely-triangular symbols which represent threats to life and limb — remember the new radiation sign which is crap?
If you’re interested in signs, symbols, patterns, and cognitive sciences definitely check out Signs and Symbols by Adrian Frutiger. Yes, that Adrian Frutiger.