Most Overused Symbols In Graphic Design

Added 28.03.12

When it comes to graphic design, there are some symbols, icons and shapes that seem to be constantly used, mostly because they evoke some sort of feeling or idea when outsiders see them. Whilst there is nothing wrong with the consistent use of these symbols, the fact that they have become so common (and overused in some respects) in graphic design circles is something that should not be overlooked.

• Hearts
This symbol is definitely the most popular for use in graphic design, and it is used to represent a number of ideas (a sense of the spiritual, emotional and moral, as well as the most common one of love).

• Skulls
Another fairly popular symbol, the skull is generally used to represent the idea of death or rebellion – it symbolizes something mean and not to be messed with.

• Wings
This symbol is used to represent a number of feelings and ideas, from freedom (angels and birds) to human values (hope, enlightenment, protection and inspiration).

• Crests
Traditionally, crests were used to tell knight combatants apart when their faces were covered by protective masks. These days, it is believed that crests are still used to distinguish ourselves from one another.

• Light globes

Often used in graphic design to represent an idea, the light globe is also commonly used to portray a sense of creativity or innovation – it is a universal symbol of something new.

The next time you are tempted to use one of the above symbols in a graphic design project, ask yourself what exactly it is that you want that particular icon to say to outsiders. You may find that a less common symbol could work just as well (if not better) to evoke the same feelings.