The International Symbol of Acceptance
Full disclosure: There is a discount offer at the end of this post (for 3ELove’s merchandise featuring their symbol). However, I have been meaning to write about this design for some time; it has such deep significance for me, and I hope it will gain prominence as more people are introduced to it.
And for more on visual representation of disability, see lauredhel’s post on disability logos.
The International Symbol of Acceptance, the wheelie-heart logo, was created by Anne Marie Hopkins. She, along with her brother, mother and two friends, founded the company 3ELove in 2007. Anne passed away in January, but her brother Steve is attempting to promote her design, her words and her ideas through the company.
Their about page describes the symbol:
Our symbol, the “International Symbol of Acceptance” or the “wheelchair-heart logo” is the drive behind much of our goals and products. It is a symbol of society accepting people with disabilities as equals and a symbol that people with disabilities accept their challenges and even embrace them. By replacing the wheel with a heart, the stigma of the wheelchair is also removed, and it can be a symbol for people with any disability or impairment. It is about the person, not society’s perception of their lack in abilities.
3ELove references Anne’s slogan: Embrace diversity. Educate your community. Empower each other. Love life.
I remember running across the symbol some time ago thanks to FRIDA (Feminist Response in Disability Activism, which can’t be plugged enough!). I haven’t been able to get it out of my mind since. I am a lover of visual design, and I can’t think of a single way to better visually represent the very ideas this blog and everyone involved in this community fights so hard for.
It forces everyone who looks at it to associate the typical symbol of disability with a typical symbol of positivity — which causes dissonance in many minds. This is a good thing, to my thinking, because that dissonance will upset the psyche enough that many will think further about their assumptions around disability. Oh, people aren’t going to come to advanced disability theory out of nowhere in response to one graphic, but it’s just about the most potent seed I can think to plant for sighted folks who come across it.
When you look at this logo, what are your thoughts? What does it mean to you? And if you’ve seen it before, has it affected your thoughts at all? Free association and open thinking welcome in comments.
3ELove has been kind enough to offer readers a 5% discount on any order of their merchandise featuring the logo through their store if they use the discount code FWD during checkout. They recently expanded their offerings from t-shirts to include zip and pullover hoodies, tote bags, messenger bags, stickers and decals — I am waiting on a LOVE zip hoodie in accesibility-blue myself! We will also receive a small amount to help with operating costs with every purchase that uses this code. This offer is limited to 60 days, so it will expire at midnight on December 30, 2009.