New York Times: Rajie Cook, Designer of Worldwide Pictogram Symbols, Dies at Age 90

David Bjorkgren
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Rajie Cook, the Washington Crossing designer who, together with Don Shanosky, developed the pictogram symbols used around the globe to identify public spaces, died on February 6 aged 90, writes Neil Genzlinger for The New York Times

In the 1970s, Rajie Cook and his associate Don Shanosky were asked to develop a set of symbols that could efficiently convey the kinds of information people in a public place might need. The 34 pictographs they designed are still in use today. Image and caption via the New York Times.

Cook & Shanosky Associates won a contract in 1974 to develop a set of symbols that could be universally understood to provide information that people in public spaces may need. This includes the location of the closest elevator or if smoking is allowed. 

The 34 pictographs they came up with are still in use today. For their work, the pair received an award for “outstanding achievement in design for the government of the United States” from President Ronald Reagan. 

Cook was also known for his three-dimensional sculptural displays – boxes that incorporate the various objects he had found. The majority were inspired by his exploration of his heritage as the son of Christian Palestinian immigrants and the things he witnessed during his many trips to the Middle East. 

He considered his works, which have been exhibited in many museums and galleries, to be “art activism.” 

Read more about Rajie Cook at The New York Times here

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