Sunday, January 09, 2011

Public Information Symbols in Japan

The book "Symbol Signs" (AIGA, 1993) documents the development of the standard symbols for use in airports by the American Institute of Graphic Arts for the U.S. Department of Transportation. A similar process was undertaken in Japan by the "The Study Committee of Public Information Symbols" from April 1999. As with the US effort this was a joint private government partnership with the Ministry of Land Infrastructure and Transport and the Nippon Foundation. The Study recommended 125 Public Information Symbols in 2001.

The symbols are in eight categories:
  1. Public Facilities
  2. Transport Facilities
  3. Commercial Facilities
  4. Tourism,Culture,Sport Facilities
  5. Safety
  6. Prohibition
  7. Warning
  8. Mandatory
There are three grades (A, B and C), with "Grade A" having the most commonly used symbols. There is also a fourth category of "Existing", which is presumably of symbols in common use which the committee did not particularly like, but felt obliged to include.

The Symbols follow the style of the US AIGA DOT symbols and mostly use the AIGA recommendations, but have more detail. As an example, as well as an "Information" sign (small case "i"), there is a "question and answer" sign ("?").

The sample syvbmols are prtovided as 70 x 70 pixel PNG files. The sybmols are mostly monochrome in black on a white background. The safety signs are in green or red, prohibition signs in red and black on a white background and warning signs in black on a yellow background. PDF, EPS and GIF archioes are proveded of each set of symbols at higher resolutioons. However, the symbols are not provided as individual files at higher resolutions, making the m much harder to use.

Public Facilities

Grade A

  • Question & answer
    Question & answer
  • Information
  • Hospital
  • First aid
    First aid
  • Police
  • Toilets
  • Men
  • Women
  • Accessible facility
    Accessible facility(*1)
  • Accessible slope
  • Drinking water
    Drinking water
  • Smoking area
    Smoking area
  • Smoking area
    Smoking area(*2)
  • *2 Use the symbol below wherever so required by the fire prevention ordinance.

Grade B

  • Check-in / ReceptionCheck-in / Reception
  • Lost and found
    Lost and found
  • Hotel / Accommodation
    Hotel / Accommodation
  • Tickets / Fare adjustment
    Tickets / Fare adjustment
  • Baggage storage
    Baggage storage
  • Coin lockers
    Coin lockers
  • Lounge / Waiting room
    Lounge / Waiting room
  • Meeting point
    Meeting point
  • Bank, money exchange
    Bank, money exchange
  • Cash service
    Cash service
  • Post
  • Telephone
  • Fax
  • Cart
  • Elevator
  • Escalator
  • Stairs
  • Nursery
  • Cloakroom
  • Dressing room
    Dressing room
  • Dressing room(women)
    Dressing room(women)
  • Shower
  • Bath
  • Water fountain
    Water fountain
  • Trash box
    Trash box
  • Collection facilitiy for the recycling products
    Collection facility for the recycling products

Transport Facilities

Grade B

  • Aircraft / Airport
    Aircraft / Airport
  • Railway / Railway station
    Railway / Railway station
  • Ship / Ferry / Port
    Ship / Ferry / Port
  • Helicopter / Heliport
    Helicopter / Heliport
  • Bus / Bus stop
    Bus / Bus stop
  • Taxi / Taxi stand
    Taxi / Taxi stand
  • Rent a car
    Rent a car
  • Bicycle
  • Cable car
    Cable car
  • Cable railway
    Cable railway
  • Parking
  • Departures
  • Arrivals
  • Conecting flights
    Conecting flights
  • Baggage claim
    Baggage claim
  • Customs / Baggage check
    Customs / Baggage check
  • Immigration / Quarantine / Inspection
    Immigration / Quarantine / Inspection

Commercial Facilities

Grade B

  • Restaurant
  • Coffee shop
    Coffee shop
  • Bar
  • Gasoline station
    Gasoline station
  • Cashier


  • Shop
  • Newspapers,magazines
  • Pharmacy
  • Barbar / Beauty salon
    Barbar / Beauty salon
  • Baggage delivery service
    Baggage delivery service

Tourism,Culture,Sport Facilities

Grade B

  • View point
    View point
  • Athletic stadium
    Athletic stadium
  • Football stadium
    Football stadium
  • Baseball stadium
    Baseball stadium
  • Tennis court
    Tennis court
  • Swimming place
    Swimming place
  • Ski ground
    Ski ground
  • Camp site
    Camp site
  • Hot spring
    Hot spring

Grade C

  • Park
  • Museum
  • Historical monument
    Historical monument
  • variant 1
    variant 1
  • variant 2
    variant 2


  • Nature reserve
    Nature reserve
  • Sporting activities
    Sporting activities
  • Squash court
    Squash court
  • T bar lift
    T bar lift
  • Chairlift


Grade A

  • Fire extinguisher
    Fire extinguisher
  • Emergency telephone
    Emergency telephone
  • Emergency call button
    Emergency call button
  • Emergency exit
    Emergency exit
  • Safety evacuation area
    Safety evacuation area



  • General prohibition
    General prohibition
  • No smoking
    No smoking
  • No smoking
    No smoking(*1)
  • No open flame
    No open flame
  • No entry
    No entry
  • No parking
    No parking
  • No bicycles
    No bicycles
  • No admittance
    No admittance
  • Do not rush
    Do not rush
  • Do not touch
    Do not touch
  • Do not throw rubbish
    Do not throw rubbish
  • Not drinking water
    Not drinking water
  • Do not use mobile phones
    Do not use mobile phones
  • Do not use electronic devices
    Do not use electronic devices
  • Do not take photographs
    Do not take photographs
  • Do not take flash photographs
    Do not take flash photographs
  • *1 Use the symbol below wherever so required by the fire prevention ordinance.

Grade B

  • Do not use prams
    Do not use prams(*2)
  • No swimming
    No swimming
  • No camping
    No camping
  • *2 Require supporting text

Grade C

  • Do not eat or drink here
    Do not eat or drink here
  • No uncaged animals
    No uncaged animals


Grade A

  • General caution
    General caution
  • Caution, obstacles
    Caution, obstacles
  • Caution, uneven access / up
    Caution, uneven access / up
  • Caution, uneven access / down
    Caution, uneven access / down
  • Caution, slippery surface
    Caution, slippery surface
  • Caution, drop
    Caution, drop(*1)
  • Caution, overhead
    Caution, overhead
  • Caution, electricity
    Caution, electricity
  • *1 Require supporting text


Grade A

  • General mandatory
    General mandatory
  • Quiet please
    Quiet please
  • Please stand on the left
    Please stand on the left(*1)
  • variant / Please stand on the right
    variant / Please stand on the right(*1)
  • *1 Require supporting text

Grade B

  • Line up in twos
    Line up in twos(*2)
  • variant 1 / Line up single file
    variant 1 / Line up single file(*2)
  • variant 2 / Line up in threes
    variant 2 / Line up in threes(*2)
  • variant 3 / Line up in fours
    variant 3 / Line up in fours(*2)
  • Directional arrow
    Directional arrow
  • variants
  • *2 Require supporting text


  • Close safety bar
    Close safety bar
  • Open safety bar
    Open safety bar
  • Get off
    Get off
  • Raise ski tips
    Raise ski tips
  • Skiers have to get off
    Skiers have to get off

No comments: