2b. Choosing a Symbol Set

Updated by Global Symbols with UNICEF ECARO

symbol sets

When considering symbol set choices it is important to think about:

  • involving stakeholders including AAC users.
  • setting up an AAC Forum who can work together, either face to face or online.
  • making use of a simple voting system using examples from different symbol sets. This may just be a document with a series of symbols from a group of symbol sets.
  • the idea of building on what is already available and only designing new symbols where necessary.
  • AAC symbol sets as not being standardized unlike some universal icons used for safety and warnings. AAC symbols tend to differ in their style, use of colour and outlines, as well as formats for use with technology or paper-based systems.

symbol set schema

Remember the need for:

  • ease of learning and ‘guessability’ when looking at symbols.
  • a wide range of symbols to cope with increased use in different settings and for a variety of tasks, whilst also considering cultural nuances.
  • adaptable symbols, for example making sure the image does not contain writing. This is so they can be used with any language and for a variety of concepts.
  • a style guide or schema with grammar and topic rules to guide design. (Widgit symbol set schema)
  • the open license of the symbol set to ensure it allows for personalization with the ability to add additional elements such as number, tense, or additional symbols for combination words or phrases such as ‘orange juice.

Examples of open licence symbol sets on Global Symbols

See Also