Icons & Symbols
Icons and symbols are present in every aspect of our lives. Computers, in particular, are filled with icons and symbols. In order to turn on the computer you press the power button that does not say on, but is indicated by a symbol. Then once the computer has booted up, you can choose from a multitude of icons in order to complete the tasks at hand. The icons may or may not have words, but instantaneously we know their meaning and how to use them effectively.
Icons, however, vary cross culturally and therefore have to be designed so that everyone recognizes them easily. Careful analysis has to be done in order to communicate effectively without words. Important factors such as color, contrast, and grouping that are explained in the Gestalt theory also have to be taken into consideration. The icons and symbols that we see on-screen everyday may be easy to interpret, but it is only because graphic designers have worked carefully to ensure the correct meaning is conveyed to us.