I think that the things you are talking about (the recycling symbol, the
radioactive symbol, etc.) should be called and considered "logos". And logos
(either commercial or a public domain) are normally considered images --
just like photographs, maps, or graphs --, not text.
However, it is true that a logo has somewhat a closer relation with text,
for several reasons:
1) A logo is often, if not always, composed with glyphs from the writing
system (letters, digits, etc.);
2) A logo has often more or less the same size (vertically) as the text
that it goes with, as opposed to other pictures, whose size is normally
independent from the surrounding text;
3) A logo has normally a fixed position within the text, as opposed to
other images, whose position is much more loosely connected with parts of
text (e.g. "on the same page as this point").
But a logo has also a few characteristics that would be very odd for text:
4) A logo, like pictures, has fixed graphics, while characters have an
abstract shape that is subject to "font variations";
5) A logo, like pictures, normally has fixed colors (including its
background, sometimes), while, in all modern writing systems the color of
text is free ((OK, I know, not in some ancient Mesoamerican writing
6) A logo is often the property of someoene (individual, institution or
company) and/or is subject to legal usage restrictions (I cannot print the
recycled logo on new paper!), as opposed to writing systems, that are the
property of mankind and have no usage restrictions.
All considered, IMHO, logos of any kind do not need to be encoded in a
However, points 2 and 3 above (logo size and position depend from
surrounding text) are important features of logos, while point 5 above (logo
color is independent from text color) is not always true.
So, upper-level word processing protocols should allow a special handling
for logos, like automatic scaling, moving and coloring them -- and similar
features are already commonly available on existing software.
A good starting point for such WP protocols would be a generic "anchor" code
point that can be inserted in the underlying Unicode text to show the exact
position of an embedded element. If I am not wrong, such a thing is already
available since version 2.0:
U+FFFC (OBJECT REPLACEMENT CHARACTER)
Am I interpreting correctly the intended usage for this code point?
> -----Original Message-----
> Sent: 1999 October 26, Tuesday 15.11
> To: Unicode List
> Subject: Re: FW: where is the RECYCLE icon ?
> Markus wrote:
> The Möbius-loop recycling symbol is now defined in some ISO
> standard that also specifies text that goes into it for material
> class markings (e.g., PS4 for a certain type of polystyrene,
> This symbol is sometimes encountered in books and other printed matter to
> show that the paper used was recycled; and in such situations it would
> that it is a "character", i.e. it is typeset rather than "artwork". I
> believe it was originally a trade mark owned by the Container Corporation
> of America, but they have released it into the public domain (horses and
> stable doors, probably), and it is now promoted by the American Forest and
> Paper Association for this purpose.
> In fact there are two variants (black symbol on a white circle or no
> background, and white symbol on a black disc) to indicate partly recycled
> and 100% recycled paper, respectively. For these purposes it is
> that explanatory text be placed under the symbol: i.e. it is not "pierced"
> (or "combining") in the way that the corresponding symbol for plastics is.
> In the same category there is now also a symbol (character?) to indicate
> permanent paper (i.e. uncoated lignin-free and acid-free paper meeting
> certain strength requirements); it consists of the infinity symbol in a
> circle, introduced as an American standard by the National Information
> Standards Organization and now adopted by the International Federation of
> Library Associations and the International Organisation for
> (ISO 9706). It is recommended that it be included with the imprint of
> books, and therefore seems to meet at least the naïve definition of a
> I hope this is relevant.
> Séamas Ó Brógáin
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