The Mulberry Symbols, or Pictograms, are a set of scalable SVG graphic images designed for communications use. They are ideal for adults using AAC software or devices or any online accessibility use where their liberal licence ensures unrestricted use, copying and distribution.
Below is a sample of the Mulberry Symbols. You can view the entire collection of symbols (very large web page) or download a pdf as described below.
We believe that communication is a fundamental human right. Many people with impaired speech and other language difficulties require symbols to support their communication needs, to enable their desires, wishes and opinions to be expressed.
These symbols are provided as a “free at the point of use” resource for speech and language professionals (SLTs) or developers to use in communication aids or to print. We also hope exciting new uses will be created so we have used a liberal Creative Commons licence.
- Designed to overcome high costs experienced by symbols users - free at point of use
- Foster innovation by allowing reuse and derivations, including internationalisation and use in web apps.
- Adult oriented symbols - most proprietary sets are designed for children
- Features unusual symbols usually missing from proprietary sets
- Designed by graphic artists, reviewed by community and coloured by SLTs overseeing volunteers who had mental health issues
- Symbols and design process originated by Garry Paxton who then assigned copyright over to Steve Lee in 2018
The Open AAC ecosystem
Mulberry is proud to be part of the growing number of tools and services providing free and open access to symbols and AAC. Steve Lee wrote a blog post summarising the state of play in April 2020.
The Latest Release contains:
- A zip of all the symbols in SVG format, including a spreadsheet with categories, tags and rating (large file)
- A PDF of the symbols sorted by category (large file)
- this is also available as a web page sorted by category (large file)
- A CSV of information for all the symbols (e.g. name and category)
We also have:
- A partial Finnish translation of symbol names (select “raw” to download)
Downloading individual symbols
We plan to add an interactive facility to select and download symbols but until then it is possible, though you need to specify the symbol name yourself.
- Open categories.html - it’s big so a slow download
- Right click on a symbol and select “Save Image” or equivalent depending on your web browser
- Change the filename from index.svg to whatever you want and save
We’d love to know how you plan to use the symbols so we can provide the best possible access.
These symbols are published under the Creative Commons BY-SA licence. You can use the symbols in any project or product, commercial or otherwise as long as any distribution gives us clear attribution and any new or derived symbols are shared under the same licence.
So, you are free to reproduce these symbols and distribute them or derivatives in printed or electronic form. For example, in a printed communication document or board, a website, app or marketing material. While you may charge for your product or added value, you must not charge for the symbols themselves. They are to remain free of cost and freely available to all.
We do encourage you to modify and enhance the symbols so that they are even more useful. We’d love you to contribute your changes back to us to share but you are not required to do so. The licence allows us to find and publish your changes anyway but we’d much prefer to work directly with you.
You can easily use the text “Copyright 2018/19 Steve Lee - This work is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 UK: England & Wales License.” and also attribute us with a link to this website plus a mention of Mulberry Symbols.
We’d love to work with you to help improve the symbols or this website. For example, new symbols and translations are currently needed. We use the GitHub collaboration platform to discuss and track work - see you there.
The Symbols in Use
Here’s a list of uses of the Mulberry Symbols that we know about. Please let us know of others so we can add them.
- Printable Resource for COVID19 patients by Eliada Pampoulou & Maria Constanta of Cyprus University of Technology in English and Greek (pdf).
- AlwaysInMind is a web app for simplified and managed access to media and communications.
- BabNoor is an Arabic language AAC iOS app.
- Bildstod.se is a free and open online resource that lets users create their own symbol support from a large database collection of open symbol sets. Some of the Mulberry symbols there have been adapted by DART.
- BoardBuilder is a web app for designing communication boards which can be exported as PDF or to AACs.
- cboard is an open source communication web app using symbols and text to speech.
- Commtap use the symbols in their Symboliser product for adding symbols to text and Eye Gaze Communication Book Maker which use the open source symbol server.
- CommuniKate is an AAC and set of Powerpoint/Impress board templates.
- Global Symbols provides a dictionary of international communications symbols, apps and training.
- Open AAC is an initiative to create and encourage open-licensed resources and tools to support AAC users.
- Symbol-It is a mobile app that allows you to easily immerse a symbol speaker in their symbol system by facilitating real-time speech to AAC symbol conversion.
Thanks and Acknowledgements
- Garry Paxton, Project manager - for the vision of free, web-friendly, disruptive, community reviewed symbols
- Claire Barge, Graphics Designer - for the symbols with their adult-friendly, clear, inclusive style
- Sandra and others - for their work in symbol colouring
- E.A. Draffan and several Speech and Language Therapists for suggesting and reviewing symbols
- Our techie GitHub contributors
If you have any questions or suggestions then do raise an issue over on GitHub or drop me a line at “steve @ opendirective . com”.