Symbol ’24: Icons for Society: Past, Present & Future. An Exploration of 40 Years of Symbol Culture

Thu 19 - Fri 20 Sep 2024, 09:30 - 17:30

Online event

For more information or any queries, please email [email protected]

3D models of generative pictographic language at an exhibition

British Academy/Wellcome Trust Conferences bring together scholars and specialists from around the world to explore themes related to health and wellbeing.

2024 sees the 40th anniversary of Susan Kare's designs for Apple Macintosh's ground breaking screen icons and 42 years since Scott Fahlman introduced his joke markers made from punctuation (Emoticons). Few could have predicted how much a part of our everyday life that emojis, emoticons, and icons would become. It is hard to fully comprehend the far-reaching extent to which they are now used to facilitate communication in areas such as science, healthcare and medicine. This two-day conference will bring together academics, researchers, historians and design practitioners working across a wide range of industries to present research and applications showing how icons are used to communicate within their areas of expertise, and debate the future of icons on screen, in print and in the environment. A key consideration will be to identify and share good practice in multi-media design, AR/VR, AI/UX and fine art to best serve our wide audiences.

Conference convenor:

Dr Sue Perks, Independent writer and researcher

Conference Chairs:

  • Jason Forrest, Data Visualization Lab at McKinsey & Company
  • Professor Karel van der Waarde, Graphic design consultant
  • Rodrigo Ramirez, School of Design, UC Chile
  • Dr Wibo Bakker, Independent researcher

Speakers include:

  • Nigel Holmes, British/American graphic designer, information designer, author, and theorist
  • Professor Scott E Fahlman, Language Technologies Institute and Computer Science Department at Carnegie Mellon University
  • Jason Forrest, Data Visualization Lab at McKinsey & Company
  • Dr Wibo Bakker, Independent researcher
  • Dr Sue Perks, Independent writer and researcher
  • Dr Emily M. Orr, Smithsonian Design Museum
  • Dr Olivier Morin, Institut Jean Nicod, PSLUniversity, Paris
  • Professor Karel van der Waarde, Graphic design consultant
  • Deborah Lai, Act Now Coalition
  • Dr Kendrick Davis, UC Riverside
  • Professor Mandar Rane, IDC School of Design, IIT Bombay, India
  • Sibylle Schlaich, Moniteurs
  • Professor Daniel Utz, HfG Schwäbisch Gmünd
  • Viniyata Pany, Multi-disciplinary artist & experience designer
  • Marina Zurkow, American visual artist
  • Rodrigo Ramirez, School of Design, UC Chile
  • Jennifer Lee, Emojination
  • Dr María del Mar Navarro, The Design School at Herberger Institute for Design
  • Paul Mijksenaar, Delft University
  • Xu Bing, Artist
  • Juli Gudehus, Icon Spell
  • Loïc Marleix, Freelance Designer
  • Cesco Reale, KomunIKON'  
  • Julie Blanchard, KomunIKON and Universités Lorraine et Montpellier
  • Aiman Amine, KomunIKON
  • Laura Meloni, KomunIKON
  • Edgar Walthert, Type designer and author of Annex of Universal Languages
  • Maxim Weirich, Exhibition designer, curator and artistic researcher
  • Dr Haytham Nawar, Department of the Arts at the American University, Cairo

Conference ticket prices:

  • General Admission £15 per day (£25 for both days)
  • Concessions £10 per day (£20 for both days)

A conference programme will be added soon.

Funded by the Wellcome Trust

If you have any questions about this event, please refer to our events FAQs or email [email protected].

Image: Generative Pictographic Language project showcased at 'Scripts and Calligraphy: A Timeless Journey' exhibition, hosted by the Saudi Ministry of Culture in 2021, Ahmed Ellaithy

Organised in partnership with:

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