Re: Suggestion for new dingbats/symbols

From: Andreas Stötzner <>
Date: Tue, 28 May 2013 23:35:26 +0200

Am 28.05.2013 um 22:25 schrieb Asmus Freytag:

> Solid scholarly study of the use of signs, symbols and pictographs might help - except that there seem to be no scholars that tackle these from

> an angle that would ultimately be useful for encoding. I don't believe that is merely a funding problem, but something more fundamental.

I did some general research – based on study of typical occurences – some years ago, on a modest scale. *

One could always start with applying proven methods: making sensibly scaled surveys, collect typical real-world examples; review, compare, discuss; propose unifications and disambiguations. Try to be careful with the distinction between glyph (what is depicted?) and character (what is meant?). – All this is not so terribly difficult.

Yes, “scholarly” would be more appropriate than “scientific”, if we want to uphold that distinction. The problem is that nowhere a comprehensive standard canon of “all pictographs” (or the like) exists. The task of studying, selecting, defining and encoding of these signs has much to do with approximation and choice, hence “no exact science”. Rather: *practical scholarship*. A few definitions may be needed though.

One *can* review e.g. the signage repertoire of, lat’s say, ten or 15 major airports. Or of a dozen of major touristic guides. Or the sports pictograms of the Olympics of the last 50 years. – Survey. And one *can* extract from such a survey a reasonable choice of characters which then represents a good and comprehensive set which will serve well for communication needs of the kind in the future. (a set that is for many more useful than one “Bingodings” or the like :-)

Established academic bodies do not bother themselves with such topics, perhaps it’s just too common, too real. However.
A bit of common sense, a bit of scholarship, a bit of time and work – and there we go.


If there is a fundamental problem, I think it is the question about the very starting point, the basic axiom.
option 1: “pictographs is something undefined which is differently applied, usually by proprietary sets, in various environments.”
option 2: “pictographs form a kind of general scriptual convention and occur similarily in many environments.”

A. Stötzner.

* a kind of thematic skeleton:
more links:


Andreas Stötzner
Gestaltung Signographie Fontentwicklung

Wilhelm-Plesse-Straße 32, 04157 Leipzig
Received on Tue May 28 2013 - 16:40:49 CDT

This archive was generated by hypermail 2.2.0 : Tue May 28 2013 - 16:40:56 CDT