Kiwi Iconograms | An Idea Needing A Home

A set of icons which ignite kiwi-centric interest and conversation.

A few months ago I came across a set of icons and a wonderful offering to the world:

EXPERIENCE JAPAN PICTOGRAMS were developed with the mission to help as many tourists as possible by providing functionally and aesthetically well-designed pictograms as part of the basic infrastructure for tourism in Japan. For this reason, all the materials are made available for free use, whether that be personal, business, commercial, or non-profit use, so long as the user complies with the Terms of Use. The PICTOGRAMS were designed as minimum tools to convey basic information about Japan, as well as its diverse aspects. Despite the deceivingly simple design, each symbol, for the most part, is provided with a text–a story that gives you a glimpse into the everyday life and history of Japan.

Imagine a similar available set of visual icons which provide pictoral micro-stories of Aotearoa; as the world is still going in and out of varying degrees of lockdown, this ‘graphical tourism’ is a way for these tales to permeate across borders (both digital and real).

Here’s what fell out of my brain regarding what could be included in the set for starters:

  • Places: The Beehive, Hobbiton, Mount Taranaki, Milford Sounds, Huka Falls, Moeraki Boulders, Milford Sound, Rotorua Hot Springs, Franz Josef Glacier, The Remarkables etc
  • People: Gandalph, Golem, Jacinda Ardern, Sir Peter Jackson, Sir Edmund Hillary, Lorde etc
  • Wildlife: Kiwi Bird, Kea, Little Penguin/Korora, Whales, Tuatara, Weta, Fern, Kauri etc
  • Sports: Sailing, Rugby, Skiing, Netball etc.
  • Culture: Marae, Whakairo, Raranga, Kapa Haka, Tā Moko, Poi, Tiki etc

So if you’re a designer or agency who wants to offer the world something distinct, feel free to take this idea, give it a home and action with the agreement that the set of iconograms created will be gifted to the global community for use under Creative Commons 4.0 (CC BY 4.0) license.

Will share on with the many other agencies and organisations I know once making this live. In the meantime, throwing it out to the cyber-world to see if it ignites some creative souls who want to take a crack. Let me know if you do take it on please.

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2 comments

  1. Kia tūpato – if you begin trying to design anything within Te Ao Māori without the input of Māori designers you will be walking on shaky ground. It’s not enough to just ask a few of your “friends” it’s a process that involves a great deal of planning, thought and engagement. It is something that requires Māori to lead. Please don’t start till you get this right or you run the risk of cultural appropriation.

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