Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Enduring Icons and Bright Ideas.

While reading the Beloit Mindset List for the class of 2016, I stopped at # 27:

Outdated icons with images of floppy discs for “save,” a telephone for “phone,” and a snail mail envelope for “mail” have oddly decorated their tablets and smart phone screens.

I hadn't really thought about that before.  Suddenly a light went on in my head.

I had been idlely wondering if, since the familiar incandescent light bulb is being  phased out, would the newer fluorescent bulbs come to represent bright ideas.  However, these other ancient icons have persevered; why not the old light bulb?

I have a theory in connection with the bright-idea idea.  I remember little drawings of Thomas Edison with his light bulb hovering above his head in a thinking-cloud frame.  This was the pictograph of Edison inventing the light bulb. I think this image led to the now common use of the pictograph above for having a bright idea.  Maybe people zillions of years in the future will still use this icon and have no idea why it should represent a bright idea.

Think about that, will you.

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