Foodicons International Food Icon Design Challenge Opens December 1, 2020 The Lexicon, Adobe, The Noun Project and AIGA launch global design initiative for food

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Graphic designers, art directors and illustrators are invited to participate in a global challenge to develop a shared, open-source, and royalty-free iconographic language of food. Winning selections to be unveiled at the 2021 UN Food Systems Global Summit

“Visual languages can help people communicate more universally, across borders, languages, and backgrounds.” ~ Nathan Shedroff

Sponsored by Adobe, The Lexicon, AIGA and the Noun Project, Foodicons is an open global call for designers to participate in developing new icons to promote sustainability and create resilience in the food system globally by focusing on terms such as climate change, biodiversity, food waste, nutrient density and food equity among hundreds of concepts defining food systems around the world. Twenty finalists, designers chosen by a panel of experts for each category, will receive 1-year Adobe Creative Cloud license. All designers whose icons are chosen for the final foodicons set will receive an official digital badge for use in portfolios, LinkedIn profiles, etc.

“The purpose of this project is to help create wider understanding among all of the people who participate in various food systems around the world, from those who grow, prepare, and sell food to those who eat it,” explains Nathan Shedroff, executive director of the project. “Visual languages can help people communicate more universally, across borders, languages, and backgrounds.”

Starting December 1 through December 19 designers are invited to join for a series of five monthly challenges that will focus on agrobiodiversity, climate change, food waste, plants and proteins, the circular economy of food, food equity, true cost accounting and regenerative agriculture.

The challenge intends to provide consumers with greater food literacy while making the food system more transparent. In addition, Foodicons will provide food system professionals with an effective way to communicate with colleagues, organizations, and the public.

Sign-up to receive updates about the challenge:

Designers can apply at

20 designers, chosen among those in each challenge, will receive 1-year Adobe Creative Cloud licenses.

All designers whose icons are chosen for the final foodicons set will receive a “badge” they can attach to their portfolios, LinkedIn profiles, etc.

Using a style guide specifically developed by Adobe for the challenge, designers will be invited to submit icon designs for hundreds of terms selected by the Foodicon’s international committee of food experts. The icons will depict everything from basic elements like water, rice, and gluten, to more complex concepts like no-till farming, plant-forward diets, and appropriate technology. Final selections will be publicly released at the UN Food Systems Summit in 2021, then posted permanently on The Noun Project as a free resource for all to use.

“When consumers have a deeper understanding of the food they eat, they can better support a food system aligned with their values,” notes The Lexicon’s Douglas Gayeton.

“AIGA is honored to partner in the largest collaborative design project in history and continue a legacy of using design to create impactful change,” said Bennie F. Johnson, AIGA’s Executive Director. “Accessible, open-sourced design can aid in translating the complexities of food systems into a universally-understood concept — truly an investment in food literacy equity as we seek to solve global problems together from a shared understanding.”

“Our mission at Adobe is to change the world through digital experiences, which is why we’re excited to be part of the Foodicons Challenge,” said Jamie Myrold, VP of Design, Adobe. “Given the increased importance of visual language to help people around the world communicate with each other, this initiative is a great way for designers to work together to solve a program within the food industry,” states Jamie Myrold, VP of Design from Adobe.

The Foodicons Challenge was conceived and developed by Green Brown Blue, a food systems solutions accelerator led by The Lexicon.

About The Lexicon
The Lexicon is a North America-based NGO that uses evidence-based storytelling, strategy and mobilization to build movements tackling our food system’s greatest challenges. By illuminating the meaning behind powerful ideas, we spur people to pay closer attention to how they eat, what they buy, and where their responsibility begins for creating a healthier, safer food system.

About AIGA
AIGA, the professional association for design, advances design as a professional craft, strategic advantage, and vital cultural force. As the largest community of design advocates, AIGA brings together practitioners, enthusiasts, and patrons to amplify the voice of design and creates the vision for a collective future. AIGA defines global standards and ethical practices, guides design education, inspires designers and the public, enhances professional development, and makes powerful tools and resources accessible to all.

About Noun Project
Noun Project is building a global visual language that unites us — a language that allows quick and easy communication no matter who you are or where you are.

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Laura Howard-Gayeton

Laura Howard-Gayeton
since: 11/2020
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