March 2024

„Bildzeichen verstehen und gestalten“: Book on icon design featuring two projects of Peter Schmidt Group

In his book “Bildzeichen verstehen und gestalten” (Understanding and designing icons), Holger Ziemann presents theoretical approaches, practical considerations and exemplary solutions in icon design. Among the best practices are two projects by the Peter Schmidt Group: the work for Linde and Deutsche Bahn.


In a globalized world of communication and media, icons serve as a universal system of images: they provide us with orientation in virtual and physical places and enable communication beyond the respective national language. But how do you design icons that work across the most diverse target groups and cultures - and that also fit into the identities of companies and organizations? Designer Holger Ziemann, Professor of Media Design at IU International University, explores theoretical approaches and practical considerations in his 240-page book “Bildzeichen verstehen und gestalten”. It also includes a chapter that highlights exemplary solutions. 


Two best practices: Linde and Deutsche Bahn 

The featured projects include two works by the Peter Schmidt Group – the icons for industrial gas manufacturer Linde and the German state railway company Deutsche Bahn. Both are examples of high design quality, intuitive comprehensibility, but also of the seamless integration of icon systems into corporate presences. For example, the Linde icon language is based on the Linde Dax Global corporate typeface. It uses an asymmetrical grid, different line weights and striking fragments, which also characterize the typography. 


For Deutsche Bahn, on the other hand, the designers of the Peter Schmidt Group initially developed a new element – the so-called Pulse. A line with rounded end points, which is derived from the brand's logo and was also transferred to the icon language. A distinction is made between functional and illustrative icons: Functional icons represent actions in user interfaces. Illustrative icons, on the other hand, have a more complex design and the pulse is clearly emphasized by the two-tone style. These icons can be used in place of images or support positive moments of use – for example as an animation after a successful check-in.


The book “Icons – Bildzeichen verstehen und gestalten” has been published in German by av Edition and is available for €39.95. More information about the book including a sample can be found on the publisher's website.

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Guido Schröpel
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Katja Trümper
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