Karabo Poppy Moletsane and Jasmina El Bouamraoui create a suite of customisable symbols for Wiki’s 20th birthday

The illustrators build a set of 101 symbols, each representing different areas of knowledge, cultures and celebrations for the free encyclopaedia's anniversary.

Date
19 February 2021
Reading Time
2 minute read

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This year marks two decades of Wikipedia – the free online encyclopaedia that that sees over 280,000 people around the world editing it pages every month.

To celebrate the birthday and 20 years’ worth of free knowledge, Wikipedia has commissioned two illustrators to create a set of 101 symbols (also known as Wiki wing dings), each representing different areas of knowledge, cultures, celebrations, the internet and the Wikimedia movement.

Karabo Poppy Moletsane – a South African illustrator, graphic designer and street artist – and German-Moroccon illustrator Jasmina El Bouamraoui were onboarded to produce the visuals. In total, they created a suite of birthday symbols for the Wikipedia anniversary. Each birthday logo is customisable, meaning that the Wikipedia volunteers and users can download the symbols they like most as a template, to then make their own display and build a whole host of narratives in the process.

Both Karabo and Jasmina worked together to produce a collection of symbols that reflect multiple cultures and corners of knowledge. Inspired by Mayan symbols and Egyptian hieroglyphics, each symbol holds an individual meaning, and can be used to create “Lego-style” building blocks to tell different stories.

Users are invited to reuse, remix and have fun with the symbols – they can be applied in a variety of ways in any available graphics editing program. You can either use the text-only mark (without symbols), or use a custom mark to start making your own. Wikipedia has also provided a wide mix of colour palettes inspired by celebrations from around the world, pulling references from confetti, cakes, piñatas and party decorations. These colours can be adjusted to fit any design necessary, before layering the icons and adding in any decorative elements.

If you’d like some guidance on how to build your own symbol, Wikipedia has provided a template to begin customising your own mark design. The text ‘Wikipedia’ can be replace with any localised word mark, and you can then place the number 20 next to the mark, before picking out any symbols to use above the text.

To get started, Wikipedia has set up a useful guide on how to download and customise your own set of logos. You can view all the details here.

GalleryKarabo Poppy Moletsane and Jasmina El Bouamraoui: Wikipedia 20 Anniversary (Copyright © Karabo Poppy Moletsane and Jasmina El Bouamraoui, 2021)

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Karabo Poppy Moletsane and Jasmina El Bouamraoui: Wikipedia 20 Anniversary (Copyright © Karabo Poppy Moletsane and Jasmina El Bouamraoui, 2021)

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About the Author

Ayla Angelos

Ayla was an editorial assistant back in June 2017 and has continued to work with us on a freelance basis. She has spent the last seven years as a journalist, and covers a range of topics including photography, art and graphic design. Feel free to contact Ayla with any stories or new creative projects.

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