Reclaiming The Accessibility Logo

Throughout the course of human history, symbols have held an important place in our collective consciousness. From cave drawings to hieroglyphics, street signs to Emojis, pictures have long been a means of sharing messages. Symbols can convey emotion, relay important information, tell stories, represent what is important to us and even alter the way we think. One of the most recognizable symbols in our culture is the international accessibility logo; a rather stiff looking stick character that conveys that society is putting forth an effort, at least minimally, to accommodate disabled people.

accessibility-iconWhen activists from the Accessible Icon Project set out to update the existing logo they fully understood the power of of symbols, that a picture truly is worth a thousand words. Brian Glenney and Sara Hendren from Massachusetts designed the new symbol as a way to counter the stigma associated with disabled individuals by portraying wheelchair users as more active. This updated logo was initially created as part of a guerrilla art movement, spray painted across existing signs, but was later adopted as my home state of New York’s official accessibility symbol. While there are still a great many hardships and inequalities present for the disabled community, I believe this symbol represents a positive change in perception

Building off of this concept, I decided to undertake a little digital art project to create a few of my own disabled logos in the same art-style. One of the first symbols I created was Darth Vader, being a massive Star Wars fan and all. There was just something so fun and empowering about depicting one of the most iconic villains of all time as a wheelchair user. Another character I created was Captain America, one of my favorite superheroes, I enjoyed making this symbol… super. I ended up sharing these logos on a fellow activist Jensen Caraballo’s Facebook group, Disability Community: Pride and Culture, where I realized how much people were excited about these creations.

Below are all the logos I have created so far…

Wheelie Vader.jpg

Darth Vader

Disabled Batman2

Batman

Disabled Wonder Woman.png

Wonder Woman

Disabled Batgirl

Barbara Gordon/Batgirl

Oracle (without weapons).png

Barbara Gordon/Oracle 

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4 thoughts on “Reclaiming The Accessibility Logo

  1. FlutistPride says:

    I created an accessibility logo with a DiSC (Dominance, Influence, Steadiness, Compliance) circle because some people fail to recognize temperament as a factor in disability.

    -Autistic ChlorSan (Choleric-Sanguine), ENTP-A, High D, 8w7 sx, ILE/ENTp, and DiSCability advocate

    Like

  2. Mel Petricko says:

    Hi Mike,

    These logos are awesome. Do you mind if I use Barbara Gordon/Oracle on my new website, with credit to you? when/if the page goes live on the internet I will of course link to you as well.

    Either way, thank you for creating them. They’re so meaningful as expressions of visibility within fannish spaces of pwd. Thank you.

    Mel

    Like

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