This traveler T-shirt has 40 symbols that let you communicate in any country even if you don’t know the language.


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.

During our discussion and selection process, we found some icons that were part of the extended list, IconSpeak reported.

Only make something if it is both necessary and useful.

If it’s both necessary and useful, don’t be afraid to make it look good.

We decided to make the world edition really important.

Think about it: if you had to pick some animal symbols, how many would you choose?

Our goal is to create a global language of icons that everyone can understand.

It is a great joy to see that this is actually happening.

We invite people and organizations from everywhere to join this project.

We want to express our gratitude to the Icon Speak team for this interview!

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