Malofiej-week is here

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Free Visual Language for everyone – the nounproject

This imaginative project has set out to become an ‘Online library consisting of the highly recognizable symbols, that form the worlds visual language’. It’s a very simple website thenounproject.com so far – designed by the designdirector of the Obama Campaign even. When you open the website you’re presented with 72 icons – and you can load in another screen of symbols until you reach around 586. Download them – (one by one) And then you can start speaking Visual …

The idea looks good. Who doesn’t like free vectorstuff as a designer? But the hype “Sharing, Celebrating and Enhancing the world’s visual language”¬†surrounding the project is a bit much, when you look at the limited selection, you get now. The conversation would run dry fast, if this was all we got to say.

Right now it doesn’t scale well either – the website is already close to being of no use due to 1 by 1 download and taking forever to spot the right icon. I could draw most of these symbols in the time it takes me to locate one. So without the promised search, categorization etc. it really is a hot-air project designed to sell you some t-shirts. As you can see in the video asking you to support the project at Kickstarter (funding for creatives) the man behind the project, Edward Boatman, speaks half of the time about these amazing t-shirts with icon-prints on them. Boatman asked for 1,500 dollars, but ended up with 14,366 dollars because he would send you a t-shirt if you donated 30 dollars or more, so that was a pretty smart move by him. And what a nice smile he has too …

That said – I did find a good one: The ‘Kill pie-charts with an axe’-symbol. I put it up as illustration for this article. That could be useful in many editorial rooms, and should break a laugh, when you realize it’s authentic – designed by National Park Service US in 1982 as a sign for firewood.

Until thenounproject.com delivers on some of the promises and spend some of the 14,366 dollars to start code a usable UI, I’ll look elsewhere for my signs and symbols. One place to look could be http://signsanddisplays.wordpress.com, where the mission isn’t as obvious, but the amount of free vectors is inspiring.