Since the moment when the very first coverage about ICONSPEAK was out there and the idea and product started to gain traction, we were confronted with the question “why don’t you guys do an app?”
We have of course thought about the tech question long and hard before launching, that and given the nature of our products, we were not surprised about the question. The possibilities nowadays are almost limitless – you can talk to your phone and a gentle voice will answer almost all your questions. A whole bunch of translating services and apps are already out there – some now also come as in-ear piece or as handheld devices. Hence the options are vast and the players are many – however, it is certainly not the case that in the t-shirt or apparel business we would be confronted with fewer players in the market…
Still, we went for a t-shirt as the initial application and basis to express our icon language. Apart from the obvious advantages over highly technological solutions such as electricity independence, a shirt also has more hidden advantages: it’s fun, its interactive, its universal.
The fun that people have with our product is most important to us – we receive stories of funny customer experiences from all over the world and we are more than happy to hear those. Most of them are based on the interactivity of the shirt, which means that it can be used at all time and by all the people around someone in an ICONSPEAK t-shirt (or other product of ICONSPEAK). And as the concepts of icons and a t-shirt are so universal, even old ladies in rural Kazakhstan immediately know how to interact with it.
Yes, a low-tech solution like a t-shirt also has lots of limitations – but maybe that is exactly what it should have. We in no way intend to create an icon language that would replace verbal communication at all. The ICONSPEAK World Edition was created as a fun product that helps bridge language barriers and sparks interaction and communication. We claim that with it you can start conversations and express basic needs to everybody, everywhere. However, we strongly encourage everybody to also learn the verbal language of every place that you visit – be it just a few words, give it some effort. It’s a sign of respect for the local culture and will bring you far in your daily travel life.
In that sense, go out there - speak to everybody, everywhere!
p.s. what you see in the picture is a prototype of a new textile that we are currently testing… stay tuned @ICONSPEAK !
oh - and instead of a potato, at the end of this post you are rewarded with a 11% discount code for our store! Just type in "blogiant" in the chekout section =)