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Using Symbols

Kit of Parts
Best Practice Workbook
Symbol Artwork
Frequently Asked Questions


Universal symbols are an important new innovative tool for health facility wayfinding systems. Universal symbols help create dynamic systems where patients and visitors feel more comfortable and confident while navigating in a health care facility. If you are ready to use health care symbols in your wayfinding system you are in the right place.

Please complete this short survey to help us learn how these symbols will be used. Your comments will help us develop this website and prepare us to meet your needs in the future.

Fifty-four (54) health care symbols are available: 12 for administrative or facility services, 32 for clinical or medical destinations and 10 for imaging services. All symbols are in the public domain, and free to anyone who wishes to use them, thanks to generosity of the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. Simply down load what you need from this site, written permission is not needed and there are no fees associated. Symbol copyright © 2010 aims to protect the image, not to restrict their use.

To learn how these symbols were developed and tested click here or About Symbols on the side bar.

To see how innovator health facilities are using symbols in signage click here or on Best Practices in the side bar

Artwork for universal health care symbols can be downloaded from this website in PDF format. This means they can be opened and read in Adobe Acrobat Reader, as well as most vector-based software programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, AUTOCAD, etc. Vector-based software will allow the symbols to be accessed as artwork and used for other applications such as signs.

Kit of Parts Top

Kit of Parts refers to a set of key documents developed to help with implementation of health care symbols.

All the documents listed here can be downloaded at no cost – just click on the title. The Kit of Parts includes:

SYMBOL POSTER (11x17)

All 54 symbols with the referent tested are available as a poster. The poster is set to print 11x17 but printer setting can be used to print on regular 8x10 paper. Click here to download the poster.

SYMBOLS ARTWORK - Zip Files with all 54 Symbols

Artwork for individual symbols is available in EPS and PDF formats without associated referents. These files are intended to enable use of artwork with associated referents in the font type and size appropriate to each project.  Use the referent code in the table below to identify referents tested for each symbol.

Click here to download Symbols in PDF Format

Click here to download Symbols in EPS Format

Click here to download Symbols in EPS Mac Format

NOTE: Design software is not needed to develop production ready files using the artwork provided here. Local fabrication vendors should be able to work with production files created in Microsoft Word and saved as PDF files. Consult your local printer, sign production or graphic design professionals for how to best use this artwork to meet your signage or wayfinding needs.

BEST PRACTICE WORKBOOKS Top

Developing a Symbols-Based Wayfinding System: Implementation Guidebook.This is a 66 page guidebook that describes five important elements for effective planning and implementation of a signage project using graphic symbols. It includes planning tools and case examples drawn from the four innovator sites implementing symbols signage and other best case examples.

Part 1: Formulating a Symbols-Based Wayfinding Strategy
Part 2: Destination Hierarchy and Referent Naming
Part 3: Design and Development Using Symbols
Part 4: Design Testing and Analysis
Part 5: Symbol Support and Education

To download the report click here.

Universal Symbols in Health Care Workbook. This is a 30 page workbook covers the importance of universal symbols, the benefits they provide to hospitals and healthcare facilities and offers practical suggestions for implementation taken from best practices in other fields that effectively use symbols as part of their wayfinding systems. This report was developed in 2005 based on symbol testing experience with four test sites.

To download the report click here.

symbol ArtworkTop

Symbols are now available for the following referents common in health care wayfinding systems. Artwork can be downloaded from this website in PDF format. This means they can be opened and read in Adobe Acrobat Reader, as well as most vector-based software programs such as Adobe Illustrator, Corel Draw, AUTOCAD, etc. Vector-based software will allow the symbols to be accessed as artwork and used for other applications such as signs.

Clinical & Medical Symbol Art

Alternative/Complementary(CM11)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Kidney (CM22)

PDF         EPS       EPS MAC

Cardiology (CM23)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Labor & Delivery (CM25)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

 

Care Staff Area (CM02)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Laboratory  (CM12)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Anesthesia (CM30)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Mental Health (CM16)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Dental (CM29)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Neurology (CM17)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Dermatology (CM18)

PDF         EPS       EPS MAC

Nutrition (CM10)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Diabetes (Education) (CM07)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Oncology (CM14)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Ear, Nose & Throat (CM19)

PDF        EPS        EPS MAC

Ophthalmology (CM15)

PDF        EPS        EPS MAC

 

Family Practice (CM08)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

 

Outpatient (CM05)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Genetics (CM27)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Pathology (CM13)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Health Services (CM01)
PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Pediatrics (CM26)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Immunizations (CM09)

PDF        EPS        EPS MAC

Pharmacy (CM06)

PDF       EPS       EPS MAC

Infectious Diseases (CM28)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Physical Therapy (CM32)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Inpatient (CM04)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Respiratory (CM20)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

 

Intensive Care (CM03)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Surgery (CM31)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Internal Medicine (CM21)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Women’s Health (CM24)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

The next set of symbols are designed to be used for administrative or non clinical locations and services.

Administration & Facilities Symbol Art

Administration (FA05)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Interpreter Services (FA10)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Ambulance (FA02)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Medical Library (FA08)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Billing (FA07)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Medical Records (FA06)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Chapel (FA12)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Registration (FA03)

PDF         EPS       EPS MAC

Emergency (FA01)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Social Services (FA11)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Health Education (FA09)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Waiting Area (FA04)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

A palate of imaging symbols was developed to test two different approaches of symbol design.

Imaging Symbol Art

Cath Lab (MA03)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

MA06

Imaging (Alternative MA07)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Mammography (MA02)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Imaging (Alternative MA08)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

MRI / PET (MA04)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Imaging (Alternative MA09)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Radiology (MA01)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Imaging (Alternative MA10)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

Ultrasound (MA05)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

   

Imaging (Root Category) (MA06)

PDF        EPS       EPS MAC

   

Department of Transportation (DOT) Symbols Top

Symbols based signage systems can also be enhanced with several Department of Transportation symbols that are appropriate for use in health care settings. Click here to see these symbols.

Accessibility
Hearing Assistance
Restrooms
Coffee Shop
Hospital
Smoking
Drinking Fountain
Information/US
Stairs
Elevators
No Smoking
Telephone
Fire Extinguisher
Nursery
Volume Control
Gift Shop
Restaurant
First Aid

The Federal Highway Administration also has a symbol set (available on www.aiga.org) designed for airports and train stations with symbols that are commonly used in hospitals and other public buildings.

Frequently Asked Questions Top

  1. Why would I use symbols in my sign system?
  2. Where can I get the symbols for use on signs?
  3. How much does it cost to use the symbols?
  4. Can I change the symbols?
  5. Can I make small changes to these symbols?
  6. What does wayfinding mean?
  7. I don’t see some symbols that I need. Why not?
  8. Why were these referents chosen to develop symbols?
  9. How were the symbols designed?
  10. What is the significance of ≤87 and >87 to the testing?
  11. Did all the symbols in this set receive scores >87?
  12. Will there be additional symbols developed?
  13. Can I use these symbols as a logo for my medical business?
  14. Our facility could use the symbols, but some of the referents differ from our terminology. Can we still use the symbols?