Lonely Planet Writer

Innovative communication T-shirt allows travellers to break down language barriers

A T-shirt covered in different icons has been designed to help travellers overcome language barriers by allowing the wearer to point to a series of pictures in order to communicate.

ICONSPEAK is a company created by three friends who came up with the idea for the T-shirts after experiencing a motorcycle breakdown while travelling in Vietnam, where it proved difficult to communicate, according to their website. The trio realized how they had often relied on drawing symbols in order to communicate on their travels and decided to create a list of icons that could be used in a variety of situations.

“In the furthest and deepest corners of our world we were repeatedly left with no words, either in breath-taking awe due to the sceneries or in empty silence, due to our lacking linguistic talents,” they write on their website.

The images include symbols for money, a bed, a car, Wi-Fi, fire, a lock, a book, a beer and more. It also includes some concept-based images like a heart and a peace sign.