I wish I had this shirt when I was in Afghanistan in 2009. We were at a small Observation Post in Kandahar and had only rations to eat. After a lot of effort, I finally managed to let an Afghan National Army soldier know that we wanted hot food. We ended up getting hot meals twice a day for just a few dollars a week. If I had this IconSpeak shirt, it would have saved us from eating cold rations for weeks.
A T-shirt with 40 international symbols printed on it can make communication much easier when you don’t speak the local language. This idea was created by three Swiss friends who were inspired by an adventure on a broken-down motorcycle in Vietnam. To learn more about their experience, read the story below.
George, Steven, and Florian experienced a language barrier that they had to overcome by drawing symbols on paper, maps, or in the dirt. They thought it would be great to always have a set of essential icons with them, so they could just point to what they needed and people would understand. They took out a notepad and started listing essential icons that would be helpful for anyone’s trip.