RE: Suggestion for new dingbats/symbols

From: Whistler, Ken <>
Date: Fri, 31 May 2013 00:58:30 +0000

> How to write a mail like this:
> "When you arrive at Madrid airport, follow the sign that looks like this: [?]"
> Even if the font library supports all needed symbols, it will be easier to
> send a photo than to choose the sign from a huge Unicode symbols list.


This discussion about signs is inherently open-ended, and I do not
share Andreas' sanguinity about how amenable this area is to organized
research and classification. Sure, you can always collect and classify signs
and their use, but that basically doesn't even begin to touch the question
of appropriateness for encoding as characters. Essentially we are talking
about entirely different *modes* of symbolic communication here, and
they cannot (imo) be mapped one-to-one into character encodings.

Any particular collection of such signs starts off with the obvious symbols
that are *already* encoded as characters, shades off into stuff we could
have arguments about appropriateness for symbols encoded as characters,
and there very quickly veers into total pictorial crazyland. Take any particular collection
of airport signage you want, for example. There are bezillions of examples
to choose from, say:

Where do you start? Where do you stop? I contend there is not and cannot
be any definitive answer. The domains and modes are different here, by their
very nature.

What signage does is usually *better* handled by the appropriate technology of
images, rather than the inappropriate technology of characters, although
everybody can agree that there is an overlapping area where *some*
pictographic symbols can and should be handled as encoded characters.

Received on Thu May 30 2013 - 20:02:52 CDT

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