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About

Global Symbols is a place to discover and publish Alternative and Augmentative Communication (AAC) symbol sets.

Many people use symbols as a communication aid to break language barriers and communicate with people who can't speak.

For Symbol Users, Friends, Family and Carers

Global Symbols has a huge collection of high-quality symbols you can use for communication. Search our symbols, download and use them.

With our free BoardBuilder, you can quickly create boards of symbols to help communication. Create boards for day-to-day activities, special occasions, meals - anything.

For Symbol Set Creators

Get your symbols online quickly, where they can be discovered and used by anyone.

Global Symbols is a free publishing platform designed especially for symbol sets. You'll spend less time managing a complex website, so you can concentrate more on your symbols and your community.

  • Visitors can browse and search your symbols in a rich catalogue.

  • Multi-language symbol labels.

  • Upload draft symbols, publish later.

  • Review and voting tools to get feedback from your community.

  • An API for your symbol set.

  • Automatic inclusion in BoardBuilder and several other online symbol tools.

Our Project

Global Symbols aims to link and create freely available AAC symbol sets with other linguistically and culturally localised symbol sets to provide world wide access to appropriate pictographic based communication that can be used on any communication application. We have worked with several app developers who were supported by the  UNICEF Innovation Fund, in particular with Cboard and Jellow.

The symbol sets and other resources collected on this site are intended for:

  • languages that do not have localised symbols to support speech, language and literacy in health care, education and social communication situations.

  • all AAC users, their families and carers as well as professionals in the field interested in using symbols.

  • supporting low levels of literacy, learning disabilities or specific learning difficulties, where symbols can aid reading and writing skills.

  • helping with social interaction difficulties where symbols can act as prompts.

Symbols may also work in a similar way for those who acquire speech and language difficulties due to strokes and brain injury.

If you want to create your own symbol set and share it with others please register to upload the symbols.

Where it has been felt that there is no need to generate new symbols for certain concepts or the symbol sets have a small number of symbols, you may find the concepts you want in the ARASAAC symbol set.  This set was used as the basis of the Tawasol symbol set thanks to collaboration with Centro Aragonés de Recursos para la Educación Inclusiva (CAREI).  ARASAAC symbols are offered under a CC (BY-NC-SA) Creative Commons licence but you may notice that some other symbol sets come with slightly different licences.  When sharing symbols with others, please abide by the licence under which they are provided and acknowledge the original owners of the symbol set. 

The Team and Associates

The Global Symbols team came about as a result of work on The Arabic Symbol Dictionary and Tawasol Symbols developed in 2016, thanks to the ECS Access Team at the University of Southampton, the Qatar National Research Fund and all the participants in Doha, Mada – Qatar Assistive Technology Center. and Hamad Medical Corporation.

Acknowledgements

We are grateful to The OpenMoji Project, whose symbols we have used on some pages of this website, the support provided by the University of Southampton and students who have helped with projects, such as prototype versions of Boardbuilder and Symbol Creator.