Dancing couple design wins age-positive icon competition
The competition set up by the Centre for Ageing Better, in partnership with Public Health England, aimed to find a new icon to portray older people in a positive light.
Following the creation of the final designs, the age-positive icons will be made publicly available for unlimited use by any individual or organisation by February 2021.
In September, the Centre for Ageing Better – supported by Public Health England – launched a competition inviting designers to rethink the symbols and icons commonly used in public to represent older age groups.
The project was incredibly well received and shared – the conversation continued beyond social media with the competition capturing attention on national TV.
With more than 120 submissions, the entrants drew on a range of ideas, from abstract concepts such as tree rings, to reimaginations of the walking stick.
The winning entry, as chosen by the judging panel, was a submission from SwaG Design which gave the original symbol of the couple crossing the road a unique spin.
SwaG Design were inspired by their work with the organisation Intergenerational Music Making saying, ‘we chose to evolve the current UK road warning sign for older people hunched over by providing a positive reason for the posture. Dancing is one of the things that people of all ages love as it promotes physical, mental and emotional health as well as a chance to be sociable, expressive and uplifting.’
With this as the inspiration they reimagined the existing icon as two older people dancing across the street, the walking stick becoming a dancing cane.
The judges were pleased with the design being able to capture the diversity of older people, portraying an active and social pair, while breaking out of the triangular road sign shape.
The judges will support Ageing Better, Public Health England and a representative group of older people in working with SwaG Design to produce a final design and wider set of icons and illustrations that depict the diversity of people in later life.
The judges would also like to recognise the runners-up of the competition:
Our panel of judges included:
- Louise Ansari, Director of Communications and Influencing at the Centre for Ageing Better
- Alison Giles, Joint Associate Director for Healthy Ageing at the Centre for Ageing Better and Public Health England
- Elaine Rashbrook, National Lead – Life Course, Adults and Older Adults at Public Health England
- Barbara Douglas, Elders Council of Newcastle
- Sarah Weir, Chief Executive of the Design Council*
*Sarah has since stepped down as Chief Executive for health reasons and Cat Drew, interim Chief Executive, will now be working on this project.
Find out more about the final suite of icons available to download for use.