Ingenious Shirt Uses Recognizable Icons to Help Break Language Barriers When Traveling

Traveling is a fantastic way to learn about the world, but it's made significantly harder when there's a language barrier. ICONSPEAK wants to ease your frustrations with their ingenious solution: a shirt that displays common (and therefore recognizable) icons across the world. Simply point to a universal symbol (or symbols) on the shirt and it will help communicate what you're trying to say–whether it be that you're looking for a bathroom, need to know if the tap water is okay to drink, or simply want to know the local time.

ICONSPEAK was founded by three friends–George, Steven, and Florian–who have traveled to the deepest corners of the world. Their brand came to life while on a backpacking trip through rural Vietnam. In trying to correspond with the locals, they found that the most effective way was to draw signs and symbols on paper. “We thought it would be great to have an essential set of icons with you, permanently,” they write, “so that you could just point on whatever you need– and people would understand.” They began listing the types of imagery you'd need on a trip, and the shirt was born.

ICONSPEAK sells their helpful t-shirt in their online shop.

ICONSPEAK: Website | Instagram | Facebook
via [Lost At E Minor, Bored Panda]

Sara Barnes

Sara Barnes is a Staff Editor at My Modern Met, Manager of My Modern Met Store, and co-host of the My Modern Met Top Artist Podcast. As an illustrator and writer living in Seattle, she chronicles illustration, embroidery, and beyond through her blog Brown Paper Bag and Instagram @brwnpaperbag. She wrote a book about embroidery artist Sarah K. Benning titled 'Embroidered Life' that was published by Chronicle Books in 2019. Sara is a graduate of the Maryland Institute College of Art. She earned her BFA in Illustration in 2008 and MFA in Illustration Practice in 2013.
Become a
My Modern Met Member
As a member, you'll join us in our effort to support the arts.
Become a Member
Explore member benefits

Sponsored Content