Signs and Symbols

In this exercise you will read existing signs, symbols and images, and then drawing on
their visual language create your own symbols.

Choose one of the following:
Danger  Movement  Love  Here

Now create an alternative symbol to represent at least one of the concepts.

I started by scribbling in my sketch book, then used the internet to expand on various thoughts. At first I worked on all four symbols, just to see where it leads.


Reference pictures…





This is a screen shot from You Tube, it shows how movement has been created to draw the eye to the focal point in the picture.






love birds LOVE_sculpture_NY Love_you! simple_beauty_ii_by_love_hand_in_hand-d2y1e46


I found some information about love symbols that I had never seen before. We’re all familiar with hearts and roses, but I didn’t know that the maple leaf was a symbol for both passion and fertility, The triangle is new to me too. It seems that some symbols re-appear in various cultures, and are usually based on mythology and religion. Some love symbols are both for earthly and divine love.



In exploring a new symbol for love, I focused on the idea of two equal shapes, that are connected. In my sketches, I’ve drawn circles, and half moon shapes that fit together in different ways.


The word HERE could be interpreted as a point of information, but also linked to religion or spirituality…Here and now, stillness, serenity (or that could be me being a hippy!) Anyway, I found myself focusing on a single dot being emphasised or suspended. (As shown in the right hand page of my sketchbook above)

I also googled both the single word “Here”, and the phrase “you are here”.


you are here 16_religionist_symbols here you are here 2


There are a lot of warning signs for all sorts of dangers…flood, chemicals, slippery floors, sharp bends, radiation, bio-hazards, electricity etc…I don’t think there is one definitive symbol for danger, although you could argue a skull and cross bones might be the closest!


I looked up warning signs, and warning colours in nature.

hazards radio waves hazard warning colours in nature wasp


Designing new symbols

As I played with ideas, I got particularly interested in developing the symbol for LOVE. Taking the ideas from paper to screen, I used Illustrator to develop some vector graphics based on my sketches.

love symbols NEW

Some of these pictures remind me of various things…segments of a satsuma, an airline logo..hmmmm! I went back to my sketchbook again, as I wanted to explore some kind of decoration. Particularly to see if I could make the symbol seem “ancient”or traditional in some way. On the right hand page is my final design.

love symbols final roughs


I took a picture of this design, opened it in Illustrator, and used live trace. From this, I was able to reverse out the design.

A New Symbol for Love

my symbol


New Love Symbol Live trace all black   New Love Symbol Live trace part blackNew Love Symbol white on grey

These look OK at a reduced size, but don’t have a “rustic” feel when enlarged, so I then used a Dirt effect to distress the image, making it look like a print. (I hope)

New Love Symbol dirt effect

And these are completely different – various torn paper effects

New Love Symbol torn paper blackNew Love Symbol green leaves


New Love Symbol texture

I hope these work OK in the end. I think these interlocking shapes worked quite well, and were interesting to embellish in different ways. Its weird thinking of a new symbol, as our existing ones are so familiar!

One final thing to add…I also have the symbol drawn with the pen tool in Illustrator which can take a solid pattern fill. I couldn’t resist playing a bit more…

Here’s some “vintage fabric” and a “vintage tile”! I could create a custom pattern too, but i think I need to get on with the next project!

blue tile

love symbol fabric



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