The Symbol Sourcebook

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Signs of the Times: Breaking the Language Barrier
In soliciting information about symbols from people and organizations around the globe, Henry Dreyfuss sent out two articles that expressed his vision for symbols' potential to transcend written or spoken language.
Signs of the Times: A Reminder about Isotype
While researching for the Symbol Sourcebook, Henry Dreyfuss was reminded of an important set of symbols from earlier in the 20th century.
Page from the book the Symbol Sourcebook showing black text and black and grey imagery on a white background; “HOME ECONOMICS” at top left with “Dressmaking and Tailoring” below to indicate three rows of symbols including a pair of pants with two parallel stripes on the left leg with “TAKE IN PANTS LEG” below.
Signs of the Times: Questions for Vogue
Henry Dreyfuss worked to get the Symbol Sourcebook promoted on the pages of the magazine to an unexpected result.
Signs of the Times: Context Is Everything
Sue Perks analyzes the various symbols that have stood for "poison" or "danger" and proves that in communication design context is everything.
A white, rounded-square ashtray featuring a red outline of a triangle with a black vertical line in it.
Signs of the Times: Neiman Marcus’s Symbol Merchandise
As part of a broad promotional push for the Symbol Sourcebook, Henry Dreyfuss worked with Neiman Marcus to produce a bold selection of merchandise related to symbols.
Page one of a handwritten timeline on yellow line paper with text written neatly in black with red underlining. Full transcript of the document at the bottom of the webpage.
Signs of the Times: Symbol Sourcebook Chronology
Paul Clifton, project manager of the Symbol Sourcebook, compiled a chronology documenting key moments in the development of the project.
Signs of the Times: Interview with Pam Holaday
Sue Perks interviews Pam Holaday, member of the Symbol Sourcebook team who draw the majority of the symbols.
Signs of the Times: How the Symbol Sourcebook Works
Sue Perks explains the structure of the Symbol Sourcebook, along with Henry Dreyfuss's thinking behind much of the book's content.
Black-and-white photograph of three people standing around a table. A man wearing horn-rimmed reads and points to a sheet of paper.
Signs of the Times: Producing the Symbol Sourcebook
Looking at archival correspondence, Sue Perks charts the wide-reaching, collaborative process Henry Dreyfuss and his team undertook to create the Symbol Sourcebook.