, Salem, MA


November 21, 2012

Our view: A welcome new icon

Kudos to Brian Glenney and Sarah Hendren for their work on a new image to replace the age-old “handicapped” symbol, which has long been in need of an update.

The current symbol — one in use all over the country — shows a stationary stick figure sitting rigid in an unmoving wheelchair.

The new logo designed by Glenney, a Gordon College professor, and Hendren, a student at the Harvard Graduate School of Design, casts a much more active profile, with a person with an arm in the air as if to propel the chair forward.

Glenney said he hopes the new logo challenges how people perceive those who are disabled.

“The project is evolving the handicap symbol from a static stick figure into a symbol that is active and embodied,” Glenney told reporter Jonathan Phelps. “The symbol is actually called the International Symbol of Access, but everybody calls it the handicap symbol, and that’s what we want to change.”

On Monday, the new logo was painted onto all the handicapped parking spots at Gordon College. Students and staff also placed stickers of the new designs on all of the handicapped signs on campus. The city of Malden and several private companies have also committed to using the new icon.

It’s a good start to a worthwhile initiative.

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