Communicate In Any Language, Using Only Your T-shirt
In a quest to address the common travel dilemma of language barriers and miscommunication, a team of Swiss designers have created an item of clothing that speaks for itself. Founded in 2015, Iconspeak aims to break language barriers by creating amazing, simple and helpful products such as multiple gadgets and utensils that many travelers can use around the world.
"Simplicity was always a trait that unites us in many forms, call it lazy or genius, but we like to keep it simple. And hence follows our starting point of how to bridge the language barriers of our world: a shirt," declares the Iconspeak website.
So how does the T-shirt address the problem? On it are nearly 40 easily recognizable icons, representing common concepts that travelers can use to express themselves wherever they are in the world. Asked how they came up with the idea, co-founder George Horn told CNN that they were inspired by their own experience.
"We came up with the idea in 2013 when we were riding motorbikes through Vietnam and one broke down," he said. In search of assistance, they ended up in a small village where no one could understand them. By drawing out images and symbols on pieces of paper, they were able to somehow explain their situation.
Not like any fashion statement, the shirt is a unique translation tool. Individuals can relay messages by simply pointing to universally understood symbols for trains, buses, bikes, hotels, beer, food, hospitals, airplanes, and even Wi-Fi.