The Noun Project and the Wikimedia Foundation host an Iconathon to create an ‘Encyclopedia Collection’ of free icons

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There are a considerable number of icons in the visual language of the Wikipedia interface. These symbols play a key role in helping create a familiar space where volunteer contributors can understand and participate in the corpus of free knowledge. Consistent with the DNA of Wikipedia, it is critical to employ imagery and symbols that are sensitive to many cultures, while conveying complex concepts, some of which might be uncommon to the rest of the web 2.0 world.
Iconathon_ImageThis challenge is incredibly exciting for the Wikimedia Foundation Design Team. Like everything else, the icons and the visual language used on the Wikimedia projects need to be open source and freely usable, and they should be co-designed with the community.
With this in mind, we are partnering with The Noun Project to help us facilitate an Iconathon, a collaborative design process for the creation of new icons that will work across devices, addressing areas of navigation, action and expression.
The Noun Project has organized workshops across the country to let the public participate in a co-design process and to further increase their understanding of the civic topics they engage with. Previous Iconathons have created public domain symbols for concepts like “human rights,” “food bank,” “electric car,” and “sustainable energy.”
We’re excited to be working with The Noun Project. They share many of the values that inspire our projects and they have an open process that puts the community of users first.
“The Visual Language of Wikipedia” Iconathon will take place on Saturday, April 6th, at our headquarters in San Francisco. We hope you will come out and participate.
Vibha Bamba, Interaction Designer, Wikimedia Foundation
Event Information:
Title: “The Visual Language of Wikipedia” Iconathon by The Noun Project
When: Saturday, April 6th from 10:30am to 4:00pm
Where: Wikimedia Foundation at 149 New Montgomery Street, San Francisco, CA 94105
Tickets: Seating is limited. Free tickets are available at

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Hi. It is not clear to me what these icons are for. Are they intended to be added in Wikipedia’s interface? Thanks.

Hi Notafish,
The icons will be used in the Wikipedia interface & will be freely available online as an open source collection.
This license enables you to download, use, copy, share, modify, and build upon the symbol as long as you follow proper Attribution Requirements

Hi Notafish,
I received additional Clarification: Symbols created during the iconathon will be released into the public domain, so no attribution will be needed (in reference to below).

Vibha – it’s pretty ironic reading you trying to school Notafish of all people on how free licences work…
I too am confused about what these icons are for. You say for the interface. Can you give an example or three?
Also, this blog is an international forum but “across the country” could be anywhere. I assume you mean the USA?

Delphine, Liam: The purpose of the individual icons fall into two larger categories. 1) Icons and symbology that we’ll (the WMF) use for internal projects (both new and old – like Page Curation, Echo, and the upcoming Flow); and 2) Icons and symbology that will be done in the same visual style and provided to the editor community as suggestions for use in certain areas (like the icons for “Protected” and “Semi-Protected”, or “Stop” or whatever). Obviously, the community makes the decisions in those areas, but we’d like to see us hit a level of consistency. As far as the… Read more »

Hi Liam: No intentions of schooling anyone.
I am a new editor here at Wikipedia and I was simply clarifying that no attribution will necessary.
Here are 3 examples of icons that we will use for the Wikipedia interface in addition to what Jorm provided:
Edit Reverted, Page Nominated for Deletion, Block User.
There is a bigger list here and everyone is welcome to add to it:

Wikipedia is always great.Last time I donated $33 to wikipedia.I am very happy because wikipedia is our public library.anyone can write articles on wikipedia.Its damn awesome.I wish for wikipedia’s future steps.

Vibha, rest assured, I didn’t feel schooled :). Brandon & Vibha, thanks for your answers. My question was a loaded one in the following: I find the idea of an Iconathon simply great, but I am a bit worried that an iconathon run in San Francisco that’s going to decide on icons used across the projects in many languages might be just too “short-sighted”. Of course, if we’re talking about 3 icons, that might do the trick, but if we want to pursue that kind of stuff (which, again, I find great), we should definitely try and make this happen… Read more »

notafish, internationalization is a very valid concern given the circumstances. Members of the WMF i18n team will be central, if not primary WMF representatives at the event. Some will be videoconferencing in, and some will be physically attending; but all will be representing i18n needs and their own native cultures and languages (of which English/American aren’t dominant, Vibha and myself included). It won’t be as comprehensive as you’ve discussed, but suffice it to say that between the i18n team and WMF staff as a whole, these icons are going to get quite a lot of cultural validation 🙂 That said,… Read more »

Munaf, it’s my job to be concerned ;). I think it would be cool to see how remote participation might be integrated, or remote validation, or something along those lines. My experience is that there is no better “validator” than the community at large in the projects, who have a deep understanding of how the projects work, rather than just (even multicultural) staff. You have to do with two layers of culture here. The project culture as well as the national/lingusitic culture. Quite a tricky thing. 😀