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