SIGNS AND SYMBOLS AROUND THE WORLD by Elizabeth S. Helfman
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SIGNS AND SYMBOLS AROUND THE WORLD

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KIRKUS REVIEW

From ampersand and branding to Yang-yin and zero, this history of signs and symbols boasts coherence, completeness and essential graphic material Complementing the text. Tracing cave paintings, pictographs, petrographs and petroglyphs, through cuneiform and ideographs to alphabets and numerals (not originally Arabic but Hindu), it moves to magical and religious symbols (the circle and the cross) as well as coats of arms and colophons, tradesmen's guild marks and modern trademarks; e.g. Nabisco's ""coat of arms"" is a variation of the colophon of the fifteenth century Society of Printers in Venice. Science and industry have developed their own sign languages: meteorologists have standardized weather map symbols and architects have blueprints, both systems intended for precision as were the astrologers' zodiac and the alchemists' symbols (the latter two also intended to exclude the uninitiated); even computers have a raison d'etre. Attempts (by the UN and private, organizations) to standardize directional and instructional signs are discussed, and pointing out that the sign for ""doctor"" submitted by students at a Swedish school of design is the Same as the hobo sign meaning ""open eye--police looking for hoboes"" is significant of the repeatedly helpful cross-referencing. The reproductions and drawings are strategically placed, the thorough index further enhances its value as a reference work, and the bibliography includes adult texts as well as ""books of special interest to young people."" *Look it up.

Pub Date: Nov. 27th, 1967
ISBN: 0595120261
Publisher: Lothrop, Lee & Shepard