Posts tagged “unisex”

New symbols for new times

Medical marijuana dispensary, Sausalito, CA, November 2010

I was unable to find out about this symbol’s history or affiliation. Green Cross is a common term/symbol for medical pot, but seems tied to various local organizations (including a delivery service in San Francisco), while this specific graphic didn’t show up anywhere in my searches. Meanwhile, as new symbols and meanings emerge they can sometimes conflict: Green Cross is also an international organization, based in Switzerland whose mission “is to respond to the combined challenges of security, poverty and environmental degradation to ensure a sustainable and secure future.” When multiple groups appropriate and recontextualize an existing symbol (in this case the Red Cross) that collision is ever more likely.

Unisex bathroom sign, San Francisco, CA, August 2010

While this sign, seen in the Commonwealth restaurant, may actually be a branding icon for the restaurant (since it appears on their menu) and not a new symbol for men-plus-women, given its visual insinuation, and application (appearing on two adjacent doors, just where you’d expect to find the bathrooms), it begins to suggest a broader meaning. Unisex bathroom signs are typically denoted by the icons for men and women, together but the idea (intentional or not) that this usage has a gestalt not fully addressed by combining existing symbols is a powerful one.

What new symbols and new meanings are you seeing?


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