Why Iconathons?

Building and sharing the world’s visual language through interactive design workshops.

Our world is more connected than ever before. Symbols serve as some of the best tools to overcome many language and cultural communication barriers, and they also have the power to reinforce, change and shape how we represent concepts, objects, places, emotions and more. Since 2011, Noun Project has been building, sharing and celebrating the world’s visual language, amassing a collection of over a million icons created by a global community.

Iconathons are facilitated design workshops organized by Noun Project in partnership with world class organizations and sponsors across the country. Through Iconathons, with our partners and workshop attendees we create new sets of graphic symbols that are added to the public domain, free for everyone to use.

Besides contributing much-needed civic minded symbols to the public domain, Iconathons bring together communities. These workshops are specifically intended to encourage the public to participate in the design process to provide a well-rounded and impactful final collection. Previous Iconathons have created public domain symbols for concepts like human rightsurban disaster preparednessinnovative teaching methodssustainable energy and conservation.

Here are just a few of the Iconathons that have resulted in much needed new icons for the public domain:

Investigative Journalism with The New York Times

Disaster Preparedness with the American Red Cross

Clean Water with Charity:Water

Intellectual Property with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office

Innovation in Education with Duke University

Neighborhood Revitalization with the City of San Francisco

As we plan our next Iconathons we’d love to hear from you — what are the topics you think we should consider? What concepts need icons? What concepts need better, more accurate icons? Tell us in the comments or tweet @nounproject and let us know!

Interested in hosting an Iconathon? Get in touch: iconathon@thenounproject.com

The entire Iconathon symbol suite can be seen here.

You can also read our blog post about How the Iconathons Came to Be with the help of Chacha Sikes and Karla Macedo from Code for America.

Noun Project Team
Noun Project Team

Related Articles