ICONSPEAK is a functional apparel line that helps those who travel the world to overcome the language barriers by a set of universal icons.
It was founded in 2015 by a group of three Swiss friends — George, Steven, and Florian — who while traveling through Vietnam in 2013 faced a language barrier when they had to find a mechanic who could fix one of their motorbikes. So after struggling with the language and pretending to understand what the mechanic told them, they realized that that wasn’t the first time they were confronted with a language barrier that they could only overcome by drawing signs on a piece of paper, map, or into the dirt.
With that in mind, and with a few too many drinks, they came up with this amazing idea: an essential set of icons on a shirt that people could just point on whatever they need – and people would understand!
As you know, I’m an icon lover, so it’s no surprise that I felt in love with this brand as soon as I saw it, but I think the main reason I’m obsessed with ICONSPEAK is because it reminds me of a college project (And here it goes, my personal story that nobody cares about, but whatever). When I was studying I had this class of iconography where a project was to create a business based on icon design, of course at that moment nobody understood the project, but at the end we managed to deliver something — we had no option —; so after a few years of that class and see this brand I finally understand what the professor meant.
What I did learn from that class is that an icon set is a family that has to have a consistent design, and unfortunately, this set isn’t like that. Each icon of the shirt is different, one is linear, another one is filled, the other one is more detailed, and I can go on with many more comments, but the point is that it looks like a random group of free downloaded icons instead of a special and unique set of icons of the brand, as it should be. My recommendation is that they should develop a style for the brand and icons and stick to it, that way the brand will start to look unique and raise its value. So if you want some help I will gladly to help you just send me and email.
In conclusion, this is a great brand/project, it solves a common problem in a very simple and effective way, of course, the icon design can be improved a lot, but for now it works, I would have loved to have one of this shirts or bags when I was traveling. And remember: Never underestimate the power of icons, and most importantly, a few drinks can help you to have a million dollar idea, LOL, just kidding, don’t drink and design.
But well.. at least this is my f opinion