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为什么危险符号不能永远持续下去

Why danger symbols can’t last forever

You probably know how this symbol is supposed to make you feel.
你可能知道这个符号想让你产生什么感觉
And this one.
还有这个
This one too, even if you’re not sure exactly what it means.
这个也是 即使你不确定它的确切含义
But what about this?
那这个呢
This symbol – The Jolly Roger –
这个符号 骷髅旗
was once one of the most feared symbols in the world.
曾经是世界上最可怕的符号之一
It represented death, pirates, and poison.
它代表死亡 海盗以及毒药
But today, it’s associated more with treasure,
但如今 它更多地与宝藏
blockbuster movies, or Halloween than actual danger.
大片或万圣节相关 而不是真正的危险
We are surrounded by icons that warn us:
我们身边遍布着警告我们的符号
what to stay away from, what not to do,
该远离什么 不该做什么
what to be afraid of.
应该害怕什么
But how do you design a symbol in a way
但是 如何设计一种
that will last across generations and languages?
能够跨越世代和语言的符号呢?
It turns out that is an incredibly hard thing to do.
事实证明 这是一件非常困难的事情
Back in the early 20th century, there was an urgent need
在20世纪初 人们亟需一种
for a new kind of warning symbol.
新型的警示标志
At the time, there was no universal standard
当时 没有用来表达
for communicating the presence of dangerous biological materials.
危险生物材料存在的通用标准
Laboratories at the US Army used an inverted blue triangle.
美国陆军实验室使用蓝色倒三角形
Those at the Navy used a pink rectangle.
海军使用粉色矩形
The Universal Postal Convention used a white staff-and-snake on a violet background.
国际邮政公约使用紫罗兰底色上的蛇杖标志
There was no consistency in the visual language used to communicate risk.
那时用来传达危险的视觉语言毫无一致性
That was dangerous, and could lead to accidental infections.
这很危险 并且可能会导致意外感染
So in 1966, a group of engineers and designers
因此 在1966年陶氏化学公司的
at Dow Chemical set out to create the best
一个由工程师和设计师们组成的团队
possible icon for biohazardous materials.
着手为生物危害材料设计一个最佳标志
They laid out six design criteria.
他们列出了六个设计标准
First, it needed to be visually striking,
首先 它需要在视觉上有冲击力
so that it would draw immediate attention.
以便立即引起注意
That ruled out simple shapes like those from the Navy and Army.
这排除了像海军和陆军那样的简单形状
It also had to be unique and unambiguous,
它还必须独特且没有歧义
in order not to be confused with symbols used for other purposes.
以免与其他用途的符号混淆
That ruled out the snake-and-staff, which has multiple versions
这就排除了蛇杖 因为它有多个版本
and has a pretty vague meaning as a general symbol for medicine.
且作为代表医药的通用符号含义模糊
On top of that, it had to be quickly recognizable and easily recalled.
除此之外 它要让人们快速认出并易于记忆
Had to be easy to stencil.
需要方便制版印刷
And rotationally symmetrical, in order to appear identical from all angles.
且旋转对称 以使其从不同角度看起来都相同
And lastly, it had to be acceptable to groups of all backgrounds.
最后 它还要能被所有背景的群体接受
So the Dow Chemical team designed an experiment.
于是陶氏化学公司的团队设计了一个实验
Charles Baldwin, an environmental health engineer behind the experiment, said that the team
实验背后的一位环境健康工程师查尔斯·鮑德温说
“wanted something that was memorable but meaningless … so we could educate people
“团队想要一个既难忘又无意义的符号 好让我们
as to what it means.”
教给人们它的含义”
They showed a set of 24 symbols to 300 people from 25 American cities.
他们向来自美国25座城市的300人展示了一套24个符号
There were 6 newly-designed biohazard markers, and 18 common symbols
其中有6个新设计的生化危害标志 以及18个常见符号
— things like Mr.Peanut, the Texaco star, the Shell Oil symbol, the Red Cross, and a swastika.
例如花生先生 德士古之星 壳牌石油标志 红十字以及一个万字符号
Participants were asked to guess the meaning of each one, which was used to assign each
受试者被要求猜测每一个符号的含义
one a “meaningfulness score.”
以此给每个符号计算出一个意义性得分
A week later, the same participants were shown those original 24 symbols, plus 36 more.
一周后 原来的24个符号加上36个新的符号 被展示给相同的受试者
They were asked to identify which symbols they remembered seeing
他们被要求指出自己记得的
in the previous round of the study.
在上一轮研究中见过的符号
Among the six competing biohazard designs, this one stood out.
在六个竞选的生物危险设计警告中 这个符号脱颖而出
It scored the highest in memorability, but the lowest in meaningfulness.
它在难忘度上得分最高 而在意义性上得分最低
So it was unforgettable,
所以它让人过目不忘
but also a totally blank slate for designers
但对于想要赋予它含义的设计者来说
who wanted to give it meaning.
又是一张白纸
And with that, it became a national standard.
它就此成为了一个国家标准
It’s easy to overlook how much visual communication work these symbols are doing.
我们很容易忽视这些符号在视觉交流中起了多大作用
They’re simple — you only need a straightedge and a compass to recreate them.
它们很简单 只需要尺规作图就可以创作出来
And unlike most other hazard symbols,
且不像大多数其他的危险符号
they don’t reference an existing physical object or idea.
它们不涉及到已经存在的真实物体或者想法
But they’ve remained iconic for decades, helping people recognize serious dangers that
然而它们数十年来始终具有标志性 帮助人们认出那些
may remain a threat for thousands of years to come.
可能在未来数千年仍是威胁的严重危险
And that raises the question:
这就产生了一个疑问
could the meaning of those symbols stand the test of time?
这些符号的含义能经受住时间的考验吗?
Few people have pondered that question quite like Gregory Benford.
除了格利高里・本福德以外 没有多少人仔细考虑过这个问题
He’s a physicist and science fiction author.
他是一个物理学家 也是个科幻小说家
In the 1990s, he was invited to work on the Waste Isolation Pilot Project, or WIPP.
20世纪90年代 他被邀请参加废物隔离试验计划(WIPP)
The WIPP is a massive storage site for radioactive waste
由美国能源部设立的废物隔离试验计划
in the southeastern plains of New Mexico,
是一个大型放射性废物储存场地
organized by the US Department of Energy.
位于新墨西哥州东南部平原
Benford was brought in to help calculate the probability
本福德被请来帮助计算
that someone or something would intrude on the site for as long as it remains dangerous
若它在在未来一万年中仍然危险
— approximately the next 10,000 years.
有什么人或物侵入该场地的可能性
“Well, name anything that has persisted for 10,000 years.
“好吧 说出任何一件持续了一万年的东西
Any institution.
任何机构
There isn’t any.
根本就没有
The record is probably something like the Catholic Church or the core of the Jewish religion,
时间最长的记录可能是像天主教会或犹太教的核心什么的
which tells us something about what really lasts.”
这告诉了我们什么能真正持续下来”
The meaning of a symbol can change over time, like the Jolly Roger,
一个符号的含义可能随时间改变 就像骷髅旗一样
which wouldn’t work for the radioactive threat at the WIPP.
这就无法对废物隔离试验设施的放射性威胁起到警示作用
“If you’re approaching the WIPP facility and you see a skull and crossbones you might think,
“当你接近废物隔离试验场地 看到骷髅头和交叉的白骨的时候 你可能会想
‘Hey this is where the pirates buried their treasure.’”
‘嘿 海盗们在这里埋下了宝藏’”
So how do you indicate a long lasting danger across any language?
所以该如何用跨越语言的方式标示一个长远的危险呢?
Since the 1970s, engineers, anthropologists,
自20世纪70年代以来 工程师 人类学家
physicists, and behavioral scientists have
物理学家和行为学家们
proposed different solutions to that problem.
针对这个问题提出了的不同解决方式
One strategy was to add context to the symbol.
其中一种方式是给符号添加上下文
By illustrating cause and effect in a three-part cartoon like this, designers could communicate
像这个三格漫画一样 通过展示起因和结果 设计师可以传达其含义
the idea even if the symbol lost its meaning.
即使符号本来含义已经失落
But this kind of visual communication still made a lot of assumptions about the user:
但这种视觉交流仍然对其观者作出了许多假设
that they would read left to right,
比如他们会从左往右看
that they would understand causality between frames
他们能够理解每格图画之间的因果关系
— and, of course, that the drawing itself would last millennia of wear and tear.
当然还有 图画本身能在几千年的磨损中保存下来
So other designers started to focus on creating a warning without inscribed communication,
所以其他设计师开始注重通过改变这地方本身的形态
by altering the shape of the location itself.
来创造一种无需刻写信息的警示
And that yielded designs like this.
他们想出了像这样的设计
Spike fields, forbidding blocks, giant pyramids:
尖刺田 路障 巨大的金字塔
these designs capitalized on natural instincts
这些设计利用了
of fear and discomfort to keep people away.
人们恐惧和不安的本能来让人远离
But even then, they weren’t foolproof.
但即使这样 这种设计也不能万无一失
Designers couldn’t be sure whether they would be perceived as terrifying or fascinating.
设计师们无法确定它会令人们恐惧还是被吸引
“Conflict between these two urges:
“这两种需求起了冲突
you want people to notice it but you don’t want people to go there.
你想让人们注意到它 但你不想让人们去探索它
Those are always going to fight each other.”
这两者总是会造成矛盾”
So without symbols, without basic illustrations, or physical structures,
所以 不用符号 不用基本的图画 也不建造实体的结构
how can you effectively communicate a warning?
该如何有效地传达警告呢?
That’s where the more philosophical design solutions come in.
这时更哲学的设计方案就出现了
In 1984, the German Journal of Semiotics
1984年 《德国符号学杂志》发表了
published a series of solutions from various scholars.
一系列来自不同学者的解决方案
Linguist Thomas Sebeok proposed creating an atomic priesthood,
语言学家托马斯·西比奥克提议创立原子祭司之职
where an exclusive political group would use its own rituals and myths
即 对外严守秘密的内部团体将使用自己的仪式和传说
to preserve information about the radioactive areas.
来保存放射性区域的信息
And philosophers François Bastide and Paolo Fabbri
而哲学家弗朗索瓦·巴士德和保罗·法布里
proposed to genetically engineer bioluminescent cats
提议用基因工程制造在放射源附近
that would glow in the presence of radioactivity.
会发光的生物发光猫
By creating songs and traditions about the danger of glowing cats, the warning could
通过创作歌曲和传统来讲述发光猫的危险 这则警告信息可以与我们
last as long as the oldest relics of civilization we have: culture.
最古老的文明遗迹——文化——一起在时光中长存
There’s no definitive solution for warning people far into the future.
该如何警告遥远未来的人们 并没有一个明确的解决方案
But designing clear, inclusive symbols
但是设计清晰和概括性的标志
will continue to be a fundamental part of how we keep people safe.
仍将是我们努力保障人们安全的一个重要手段
We will change, and so will the ways we communicate visually.
我们会改变 我们用视觉语言进行交流的方式同样也会改变
Our warning symbols will have to change along with us.
我们的警示标志必须随我们一同改变

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视频概述

如何设计一个令人恐惧的标志?这个问题远比你想象的复杂得多。

听录译者

收集自网络

翻译译者

nis

审核员

审核员NEHC

视频来源

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lOEqzt36JEM

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