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icon clusters

Iconic symbols with a universal feel — such as the crosswalk man or the restroom lady — have long been a mainstay of graphic language. They are very useful in their directness. Both icons and logos are used as a pictorial solution reduced to their bare essence to convey a message, but there has always been a fine line between them, in that icons are purposely anonymous, whereas logos could not be more personalized (or should be, at least). But as symbols, icons are so ubiquitous that it’s only natural that they would eventually start to jump the track from the world of giving directions to the world of corporate representation. The question is: How do you send a message with an icon that you are something much more?

The answer: Merge multiple icons together with transparent linkage. Bundling several messages into a single unit demonstrates simplicity and clarity of image but also indicates the depth of a concept. This is managed in the same way you might express a thought, by linking several words into a phrase, except with this technique, designers are using icons as if spelling out a rebus. AT&T uses this technique effectively as the visual centerpiece of its current Rethink Possible marketing campaign.

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FBA (Foxtrot Bravo Alpha), South by Southwest

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Ed Nacional, Money Magazine

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Chris Rooney Illustration/Design, Thinkbox

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Principals Pty Ltd, Taubmans

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