Sunday, 5 September 2010

Know your icons

Who'd have thought there were so many design options for "Men" and "Women" toilet icon designs.

The linked blog-post is intended by the author as a look at gender stereotypes more than design – and so almost makes it seem there's no solution to the options (because of embedded, two-way ideas in portraying men and women as icons.). Therefore, the writer's preferred option: unisex toilets. Meanwhile, in the process she's uncovered some quirky design decisions.

By the way, in Japan, when the signs are coloured men are always blue and women red. Which led to a mistake by a Japanese woman friend in London, who, on auto-pilot, followed the colour rather than the shape and ended up in the men's toilet. It is funny, the seemingly "natural" way these separations are taken on board and enforced – I had another woman friend desperately in need of a pee at an event who avoided the long queue for the women's toilet and entered an empty stall in the men's. Some idiot men were banging on the toilet door and yelling her to get out immediately. Strange world we live in.

Further to this "problem", I'm reminded of the QI programme which said that the world "girl" originally meant a "child" (of either sex) and that pink was the preferred colour for boys and blue for girls (which would confuse the blue-for-boys allocation on Japanese toilets). As I said, a strange world…

The photo above is a very old one of mine (on an early cheap digital camera), not from the linked blog, taken in a cinema where Romeo + Juliet was showing.

Via mutanteggplant

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