Story of the Peace Sign

In hippie scene, History, peace on February 22, 2008 by Editor Z

Yesterday there was a birthday. No not a person and not even so much a concept, but a symbol that allowed many to communicate the concept. I am talking about the peace sign.

People take the peace sign for granted today, and it has almost become a cliche. A few months ago I even saw the Gap selling designer shirts sporting the logo. it to has become another casualty of a consumer society that can saturate anything into a designer product.

But the peace sign of course was a symbol designed for anti-establishment purposes in a cold war world. The concept of peace has deep roots in religion and goes far back, likely into the reaches of ancient history. However, a symbol, language allowing one to easily express a concept was not yet born.

That changed on February 21, 1958 by Gerald Holtman, a British textile designer and anti-nuclear activist for one of the first anti-nuclear demonstrations in history. Even the placement of the lines and why they were stationed that way have an explanation. Here is more:


At its basic level the design combined two letters from the semaphore alphabet of flag signaling, N (flags at eight and four o’clock) and D (flags at six and 12 o’clock), to indicate nuclear disarmament. A circle signified the Earth.

From there the mascot caught on in America, thanks in part to Martin Luther King and well you know the rest of the story.

But we should look to see the peace symbol as much less of a fashion statement and more of something designed to communicate a vision of peace and brotherhood.



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