Information technology — Cultural and linguistic interoperability — Definitions and relationship between symbols, icons, animated icons, pictograms, characters and glyphs

ISO/IEC TR 20007:2014 clearly defines each term related to ISO and IEC symbology in a single document and harmonizes difference of use and possible correspondence between different objects covering these concepts.

Technologies de l'information — Interopérabilité culturelle et linguistique — Définitions et relation entre symboles, icônes, icônes animées, pictogrammes, caractères et glyphes

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Status
Published
Publication Date
27-Apr-2014
Current Stage
6060 - International Standard published
Completion Date
28-Apr-2014
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ISO/IEC TR 20007:2014 - Information technology -- Cultural and linguistic interoperability -- Definitions and relationship between symbols, icons, animated icons, pictograms, characters and glyphs
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TECHNICAL ISO/IEC
REPORT TR
20007
First edition
2014-05-01
Information technology — Cultural
and linguistic interoperability —
Definitions and relationship between
symbols, icons, animated icons,
pictograms, characters and glyphs
Technologies de l’information — Interopérabilité culturelle et
linguistique — Définitions et relation entre symboles, icônes, icônes
animées, pictogrammes, caractères et glyphes
Reference number
ISO/IEC TR 20007:2014(E)
ISO/IEC 2014
---------------------- Page: 1 ----------------------
ISO/IEC TR 20007:2014(E)
COPYRIGHT PROTECTED DOCUMENT
© ISO/IEC 2014

All rights reserved. Unless otherwise specified, no part of this publication may be reproduced or utilized otherwise in any form

or by any means, electronic or mechanical, including photocopying, or posting on the internet or an intranet, without prior

written permission. Permission can be requested from either ISO at the address below or ISO’s member body in the country of

the requester.
ISO copyright office
Case postale 56 • CH-1211 Geneva 20
Tel. + 41 22 749 01 11
Fax + 41 22 749 09 47
E-mail copyright@iso.org
Web www.iso.org
Published in Switzerland
ii © ISO/IEC 2014 – All rights reserved
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ISO/IEC TR 20007:2014(E)
Contents Page

Foreword ........................................................................................................................................................................................................................................iv

Introduction ..................................................................................................................................................................................................................................v

1 Scope ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................. 1

2 Terms and definitions ..................................................................................................................................................................................... 1

3 Purpose of each different concept...................................................................................................................................................... 3

4 Limits and strengths of each different concept .................................................................................................................... 3

5 Properties of each (different) concept .......................................................................................................................................... 4

5.1 Searchability.............................................................................................................................................................................................. 4

5.2 Presentation .............................................................................................................................................................................................. 4

5.3 Shape, precise representation, fuzzy representation, encoding, animation, temporal

representation, etc. .............................................................................................................................................................................. 4

6 Relationship between the different concepts ......................................................................................................................... 4

7 Input, process and output considerations (from drawing to search, via representation on

different media and encoding) .............................................................................................................................................................. 5

8 Databases, sets and repositories ......................................................................................................................................................... 5

Bibliography ................................................................................................................................................................................................................................ 7

© ISO/IEC 2014 – All rights reserved iii
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ISO/IEC TR 20007:2014(E)
Foreword

ISO (the International Organization for Standardization) and IEC (the International Electrotechnical

Commission) form the specialized system for worldwide standardization. National bodies that are

members of ISO or IEC participate in the development of International Standards through technical

committees established by the respective organization to deal with particular fields of technical

activity. ISO and IEC technical committees collaborate in fields of mutual interest. Other international

organizations, governmental and non-governmental, in liaison with ISO and IEC, also take part in the

work. In the field of information technology, ISO and IEC have established a joint technical committee,

ISO/IEC JTC 1.

The procedures used to develop this document and those intended for its further maintenance are

described in the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 1. In particular the different approval criteria needed for

the different types of document should be noted. This document was drafted in accordance with the

editorial rules of the ISO/IEC Directives, Part 2 (see www.iso.org/directives).

Attention is drawn to the possibility that some of the elements of this document may be the subject

of patent rights. ISO and IEC shall not be held responsible for identifying any or all such patent rights.

Details of any patent rights identified during the development of the document will be in the Introduction

and/or on the ISO list of patent declarations received (see www.iso.org/patents).

Any trade name used in this document is information given for the convenience of users and does not

constitute an endorsement.

For an explanation on the meaning of ISO specific terms and expressions related to conformity

assessment, as well as information about ISO’s adherence to the WTO principles in the Technical Barriers

to Trade (TBT) see the following URL: Foreword - Supplementary information

The committee responsible for this document is ISO/IEC/JTC 1, Information technology, Subcommittee

SC 35, User interfaces.
iv © ISO/IEC 2014 – All rights reserved
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ISO/IEC TR 20007:2014(E)
Introduction

It seems that many people misunderstand the limits of standardizing each of the concepts covered in

this Technical Report. As a case in point, ISO 7000 standardizes graphical symbols with precise shapes,

where, for example, the proportions are strictly established, while ISO/IEC 10646 sometimes defines

a coded character that maps an existing ISO 7000 symbol (which is practical for searching in technical

documentation, for example). However, any single coded character can be represented by a variety of

different glyphs, thus open to a variety of shapes and proportions, as long as symbols remain recognizable

(a glyph is not standardized for a given coded character in this case, the coding element is standardized

unambiguously alongside its name only). Some do not recognize that this is possible; nevertheless, both

usages are internationally standardized and used with apparently contradicting requirements.

This Technical Report tries to harmonize the apparent limitations of use of the different concepts

involved in the ISO and IEC context.
© ISO/IEC 2014 – All rights reserved v
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TECHNICAL REPORT ISO/IEC TR 20007:2014(E)
Information technology — Cultural and linguistic
interoperability — Definitions and relationship between
symbols, icons, animated icons, pictograms, characters and
glyphs
1 Scope

This Technical Report clearly defines each term related to ISO and IEC symbology in a single document

and harmonizes difference of use and possible correspondence between different objects covering these

concepts.
2 Terms and definitions
For the purposes of this document, the following terms and definitions apply.
2.1
character

member of a set of elements used for the organization, control, or representation of textual data

Note 1 to entry: A character may be represented by a sequence of one or several coded characters

[SOURCE: ISO/IEC 10646:—, 4.5]
2.2
code point
DEPRECATED: code position
value in the Universal Character Set codespace
[SOURCE: ISO/IEC 10646:—, 4.10]

Note 1 to entry: Values of the Universal Character Set (UCS) codespace are integers (numbers) ranging from 0 to

10FFFF (hexadecimal [base 16] numeric representation)
2.3
coded character
association between a character and a code point
[SOURCE: ISO/IEC 10646:—, 4.8]
2.4
font

collection of glyph images having the same basic design, e.g. Courier Bold Oblique

[SOURCE: ISO/IEC 9541-1:1991]
2.5
glyph
recognizable abstract graphic symbol which is independent of any specific design
[SOURCE: ISO/IEC 9541-1:1991]
© ISO/IEC 2014 – All rights reserved 1
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ISO/IEC TR 20007:2014(E)
2.6
graphic character

character, other than a control function, that has a visual representation normally handwritten, printed,

or displayed
[SOURCE: ISO/IEC 10646:—, 4.29]
2.7
graphic symbol
visual representation of a graphic character or of a composite sequence
[SOURCE: ISO/IEC 10646:—, 4.30]
2.8
graphical symbol

visually perceptible figure with a particular meaning used to transmit information independently of

language
[SOURCE: IEC 80416-1:2008, 3.4, ISO 17724:2003, 31]

Note 1 to entry: The unique nature of graphical symbols is language independence. Therefore, the use of letters

and punctuation marks as graphical symbol elements should be avoided.

Note 2 to entry: Graphical symbols are usually abstract representations that stand for something, but that require

learning on the part of users to take on their meaning.
2.9.1
icon

user interface (symbol or object) representing an object or a function of the computer system

[SOURCE: ISO/IEC 11581-10:2010, 3.4, modified]
2.9.2
icon

symbol or combination of symbols in graphical user interfaces representing a function of the computer

system
2.9.3
icon

object of manipulation of a function of the computer system through graphical user interfaces for

computer applications

Note 1 to entry: Icons should be graphical representations that convey information with a minimum reliance on

language.

Note 2 to entry: Icons have dynamic nature depending on the function of the computer system.

Note 3 to entry: Icons may be entirely abstract, such as graphical symbols, or pictorial, such as pictograms, or fall

at some point between those extremes.
2.10
pictogram

simplified pictorial representation, used to guide people and tell them how to achieve a certain goal

[SOURCE: ITU-T Recommendation E.121, modified]

Note 1 to entry: Pictograms should be graphical representations that convey information with a minimum of

reliance on language.

Note 2 to entry: Pictograms are, as far as possible, self-explanatory, and require little or no learning on the part

of users.
Note 3 to entry: Pictorial representation can be two- or three-dimensional.
2 © ISO/IEC 2014 – All rights reserved
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ISO/IEC TR 20007:2014(E)
2.11
symbol

visual (audible or tactile) sign, single letter, numeral, punctuation mark each of which has a fixed meaning

Note 1 to entry: Symbols are usually graphical representations that convey information with little reliance on

language.

Note 2 to entry: Symbols are usually abstract representations that stand for something, but that require learning

on the part of users to take on their meaning.

Note 3 to entry: Examples of symbols are graphical symbols, graphic symbols, character symbols, chemical

symbols, mathematical symbols, musical symbols, sex symbols, status symbols, tactile symbols and audible

symbols.
3 Purpose of each different concept

The purpose of a symbol is to carry a meaning. A pictogram is a symbol as simple as possible whose

purpose is to carry a symbolic meaning easy to understand for humans, ideally in an intuitive way,

independently of language and culture. In ISO and IEC, standardized symbols are codified with strict

forms. The purpose of a glyph is similar to that of a symbol, but goes beyond, in that it may also apply

to a symbol that has become codified more abstractly over history, as for example glyphs representing

letters of an alphabet (which, at the time of publication of this Technical Report, have no meaning by

themselves, while a mere symbol is intended to have a meaning). Sets of glyphs usually grouped in a

given style are called fonts. The purpose of a character is to group similar glyphs (even of different fonts)

so that they all be recognizable as similar by humans, to carry all the same meaning, and to encompass

all glyphs with the same meaning. Finally the purpose of a coded character is to codify a character

for its transmission and processing (sorting, searching, matching, text structuring, etc.) by computers,

independently of their presentation. The purpose of an icon is, on one hand, to codify the computerized

visual representation of a symbol, and on the other hand, to represent an entity associated with an

object or and action in computer applications.
4 Limits and strengths of each different concept

Symbols standardized under ISO 7000 or IEC 80416-1 are destined to be reproduced directly on

equipment (they are typically silk-printed or engraved). Their main limitation is also their strength:

they shall be reproduced in their strict proportions and hence cannot be confused with other symbols

because no tolerance is allowed. The intent is that once learnt by humans, they
...

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