Roger von Oech

Creative Think

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Craig Kaiser

The trouble with so many metaphors is that they can't conveniently be reduced to a simple, easily-recognizable, stylized image. The argument for light-bulb as pictogram is pretty strong because it is rich with history and simple in form.

Whatever the suggestion, it also needs a strong opposite. What is the anti-image? The bad idea. An unlit lightbulb is OK, but weak, differing only in color. A broken light bulb isn't great either. There's no convenient pictogram for "dark".

Vitaly's post on the difference between a metaphor and a pictogram is a good one. The image needs to be universal and simple, and those two things are very hard to come by. Envelopes work pretty well for letters, but mailboxes are much more troublesome because they don't look the same in different parts of the world.

Everyone who has seen electricity has seen a lightbulb. It was the *first* way to produce artificial light, and is therefore forever tied to creativity and innovation. Its connection with light, and enlightenment, is about as universal as you can get.

I'd love to find other metaphors, but so far I haven't been successful.

Randy Bosch

I have come around to "the lightning bolt". It is a timeless symbol, unlinked to cultural or technological icons and representative of the "Aha!", "Eureka" moments that link "new idea" to what a new idea truly is - comprehension, understanding, discovery. The exclamation point is a punctuation symbol that is often synonymous with it. It also can represent the pain of a bad idea (remember "Wizard of Id"?).

(My other idea was Roger's smile, but that would be too patronizing for me to mention!)

Lightning Bolt!!!!!

Emma DAvey

This is an interesting post although I mostly disagree with it! I'm
currently doing a university project on finding an alternative for the lightbulb for when there was no electricty, in the Victorian ages what do you think could represent and idea then?

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