We live in the age of the brand. And accompanying it is a frenzy of visual signage: pictograms, which transcend language and convey meaning to any number of tongues and languages. And in Japan, where modern pictographs like emoji first took hold, a competition to reign supreme over fellow pictogramians, and to create better, more usable pictograms, is bringing artists and designers together.
Pictathon – a combination of the words pictogram and hackathon – was started last year by web designer Jun Sakurada and IT enthusiast/musician Kazz Watabe. The event, currently in its 3rd iteration, runs for about 4 hours. Competitors are given a topic and then 45 minutes to design and refine their pictograms. A judging process pits winners against each other and after 3 rounds a winner, along with a handful of great pictograms, have emerged. Here’s how the latest Pictathon last month went down.