Biohazard: Iconic Symbol Designed to be “Memorable but Meaningless” by Kurt Kohlstedt (99% Invisible)
Before uniting behind a single symbol, scientists working with dangerous biological materials faced a dizzying array of warning labels that varied from one laboratory to the next. Then, in 1966, Charles L. Baldwin of Dow Chemical and Robert S. Runkle of the National Institutes of Health co-published a critical paper in Science. Their piece called for the adoption of the biological hazard (or: biohazard) symbol as we know it today. This new symbol they hoped to become standard, however, was unconventional: a crowd-tested solution designed to be maximally devoid of obvious meaning or associations.

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