The ultimate travel t-shirt overcomes language barriers

The ultimate travel t-shirt overcomes language barriers

TORONTO — Like a modern twist on ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, two Swiss friends have designed the ultimate t-shirt for travellers featuring universal icons that help overcome language barriers around the world.

Iconspeak is the brainchild of George Horn and Florian Nast, who in 2013 had no way of communicating with locals while travelling to a remote village in Asia with “no infrastructure and zero tourism.” This inspired the two friends to come up with a simple yet effective solution: the Iconspeak t-shirt.

The Iconspeak collection comprises three types of t-shirts designed with about 40 essential icons to help travellers out in foreign countries. These include the universal symbol for car, fire, tools, clock, camera and Wi-Fi. The idea is to simply point at an icon to communicate simple messages and requests, a time-saving technique that is sure to help ease frustrations for both travellers and locals.

According to Oddity Central, the collection includes  three different t-shirts – long, short and sleeveless – as well as tote bags and hats that feature fewer icons. The products are available internationally through the Iconspeak website.

Horn and Nast write on the website: “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.”

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