The “wheelchair” symbol gets an update

Disabled symbol in New York

Here’s Dylan’s piece. For full context my answers are below.

What do you think of the new wheelchair logo?

Jeff Gentry of the Accessible Icon team said the purpose of the project wasn’t to replace the original design, but to create conversation about accessibility, inclusion, and the capability of people with disabilities to navigate their world. That’s a worthy aim, and despite the mostly negative online comments I’ve read it’s probably far too early to judge the project’s effectiveness.

Is it a better design? More positive than the previous iteration?

I rarely see anyone in a wheelchair who leans forward to such an extent unless they’re in a race. Perhaps there was an iteration between the new and old where the figure didn’t seem to be in such a hurry.

Some critics say the new logo appears to be inspired by a Paralympic athlete and is not representative of all handicapped disabled persons. Fair criticism?

The use of a chair will always mean the design isn’t representative of everyone with a disability. What’s important is that people understand the meaning of the symbol, whether there’s an element of motion to the design or not.

If you were charged with the redesign, how would you approach it?

I’d look for a different way to create a conversation.

The story elsewhere:
The handicap symbol gets an update, from The Washington Post
Governor Cuomo signs legislation updating New York’s accessibility signage and logos, on the Governor’s website
The icon graphic elements, on the Accessible Icon Project site
International Symbol of Access, in the archives

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