Monday, July 5, 2010

A symbol for openness and transparency?

On the Calgary Democracy project website, I’m building in detailed accountability details for every bit of information posted. This tracks who added a given piece of information to the website, who edited it, which moderator confirmed it, and when all that happened. All that information will be made available in a way similar to the “History” on Wikipedia articles.

In working on the visual design for the website it occurred to me that it could be useful to have an icon/symbol for “transparency and openness” that could be used to link to the accountability details wherever they are available.

My question to you:

What would an icon for openness and transparency (especially regarding government) look like? Is there one already?

What visual element(s) might it incorporate? Some possibilities I can think of off the top of my head include: Locks, window, open book, hands with palms up, magnifying glass, ledger, … Many of those are already used for other things (especially magnifying glass for search) so would probably not be appropriate.

Please share your thoughts (or leads on existing icons). Thanks!

2 comments: said...

Grant, one way would be to do a "forbidden" sign (circle with bar through it) over an icon of secrecy: someone with a finger in front of their mouth going "shhh", "Top Secret" stamp on a page, blinds pulled down, or the stick man spy of Mad Magazine's spy vs spy.

Alternately a positive symbol like a window blinds up and shafts of sunlight coming in, people listening to a speaker, or someone holding a book open and facing away from them.

Miss Bliss said...

Hey Grant!!

I believe that all candidates should be required to disclose who specifically is funding his/her campaign. There should be an audited list disclosed under every candidate.

After reading nadreck's post, all I can think of is a photo of someone "shh"ing with a bar through it. I love it! Anti-Secrets!

You have a tough job designing an unbiased, open election of luck.

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