Travelling is a unique experience that allows you to learn as you travel. However, if you land in a country where English is not widely spoken and understood, interacting with the other culture gets complicated. At times like these, you have to revert to the use of sign language and hope they follow what you are trying to say!
Iconspeak has been designed to offer a solution in such sticky situations and breaks the language barrier. The Iconspeak tee shirts are covered in small icons representing the most basic needs. All you need is to point at the symbol and communicate what you want.
Florian, George and Steven love to travel. The trio came up with the idea based on their globe-trotting experience, something they call the ‘Iconspeak World.’ They were travelling across Vietnam and decided to add the pictorial representations of all their needs to a tee shirt to make the lives of other travellers easy.
“When were you the last time in a situation where no language or hand gesture that you master was sufficient to get you what you wanted? Imagine you are abroad – in a foreign country, in a foreign culture, maybe while travelling the world. That’s what we did, travelling the world – partially, well the three of us combined almost completely. In the furthest and deepest corners of our world we were repeatedly left with no words, either in breathtaking awe due to the sceneries or in empty silence, due to our lacking linguistic talents. Such situations got us thinking about how to bridge language barriers with utmost simplicity, on a global level. The answer came to us after a remarkable experience in the depths of Vietnamese backcountry; ICONs. Because with ICONs, you can SPEAK, you can SPEAK to the world.”
ICONSPEAK was founded in 2015. They claim that simplicity has its own charm and thus, they tried to keep things simple. They explain on their site how it takes just a shirt to bring people closer:
“…how to bridge the language barriers of our world: a shirt. Through a shirt you can – in the most rudimentary ways – combine gestures, vocals and mimics to create interaction. A shirt does not need to be recharged and still, you can have it on as long as you please. Furthermore, you won’t have to worry that we will send you software updates to your shirt which will make it uncomfortable to wear, slow to wash or any such thing. It’s a shirt. This is where we start, but not where we will stop – the challenges on our way to bridge the language barriers of our world are manifold and will lead us to platforms and mediums other than textile as well…”
The Iconspeak shirts, totes, and tank tops come is varying sizes and cost $33 each. You can order one for yourself from their website.