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Ideograms: The New Wave of Visual Branding?

Updated: April 26, 2013

What are ideograms?

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, an ideogram is a character or symbol representing an idea or a thing or an idea but not a particular word or phrase for it.

Simple enough?

Try this definition on for size. According to an excerpt from assigned reading this semester, an ideogram is a graphical symbol that represents and idea, rather than a group of letters arranged according to the phonemes of a spoken language, as is done in alphabetic languages.

Talk about a brain teaser. Need a break yet?

Let’s try this one more time. Wikipedia simplifies it best. An ideogram is a graphic symbol that represents an idea or concept.

I like to think of ideograms as a means of transcending a universal language. Many ideographic symbols represent the same ideas and concepts in different countries and provide a means of communication understood by many human beings. Even if we are in strange country where we do not speak the language, we can still possibly have a way of communicating with other human beings.

How did this concept come about?

There is a lot of ambiguity surrounding the history of ideograms. Spokane Falls Community cites cave paintings as being the first evidence of recorded pictures with actual written communication being developed by the Sumerians using simple drawings or pictograms.

Research findings from Dr. Elif Ayiter; designer, researcher and educator, credits the Chinese with being one of the early innovators of this concept.

While the research findings of this institution and individual researcher do not offer a clear consensus of who was the first to start this concept, both researchers credit the Egyptian hieroglyphics with being the innovators of this concept. Egyptian hieroglyphics fused graphics with alphabetic elements to form symbols that represented abstract concepts.

Early examples of ideograms included pictures of ox’s to represent food and Roman numerals. Yes Roman numerals! I, II and III represent fingers on the hand. V represents the open hand and IV represents the open hand minus one finger.

So how do we use ideograms today? Can you identify any of these common ideograms below?


Before I reveal the ideograms above, let’s see what the experts had to say.

I interviewed two individuals for this piece. Neither interviewee decided to include a picture.

Terra Cooke: Holds a Bachelor of Science in Network Security. She currently works as a Security Engineer.
Jaleesa Jones: Holds a Bachelor of Science in Computer Information Systems. She is currently pursuing a Master’s in Cyber Security and Assurance.

Each individual was asked these series of questions regarding ideograms.

1. What comes to mind when you hear the word ideogram? Are you familiar with this design concept?

Ms. Cooke: I’ve actually never heard of this concept before and not exactly sure what it is without Googling it.

Mrs. Jones: A type of picture that even an idiot can understand. I’m familiar with the type of pictures ideograms entail but I never knew the proper term for it.

2. Can you identify any of the ideograms above? If yes, please tell me what idea, concept or cause you identify each picture with. Where/when do you see these ideograms most often?

Ms. Cooke: Yes I identify and understand each of these ideograms. The first is a sign often seen while driving on the road meaning slippery when wet. It’s meant for drivers. The second is also a driving ideogram meaning there’s a slight bend in the road. The third is a sign seen many different places from around restaurants, buildings, and outside. It means no smoking. The last sign is often seen on airplanes meaning buckle your seat belt.

Mrs. Jones: Most of these ideograms are caution signals and letting people know their rights. I see these ideograms mostly on roadways and public places.

3. Are any of the above ideograms more identifiable than others? What are your thoughts on the effective/non-effective use of ideograms in advertising?

Ms. Cooke: They are all identifiable to me. One was recently used on social media platforms, particularly Facebook to support equal rights. The second shows different emoticons used on social networking sites or for texting and the last is another driving sign. One may be more identifiable than the other depending on the person. All people will recognize the driving sign but those that don’t indulge in social networking or digital communications are less likely to understand the other two. As a result, they could be less effective in advertising depending upon the intended audience.

Mrs. Jones: Yes, the signs seen in public places and roadways are much more identifiable than the equality and emoji signs.

4. Do you think ideograms are a good way to generate interest in organizations/causes? Why or why not?

Ms. Cooke: I think they are a good idea because seeing that sign or symbol gives the audience something to relate back to when referencing that company. When a person sees a blue soda can with a white and red circle, they probably think of Pepsi. If the organization is something someone feels strongly about, it will cause a more permanent resonance in the person’s life.

Mrs. Jones: I feel ideograms are a great way to generate interest because people love pictures and generally do not like to take the time out to read.

So, how did you do?

Here are the identities of the ideograms in order from left to right: slippery when wet, merge left, no smoking, fasten seat-belt, gay marriage equality, emojis, left or right turn only.

Are ideograms becoming the “new wave” of visual branding?

As Mrs. Jones pointed out, ideograms are a great way to generate interest especially for people that do not like to read. Ms. Cooke also offers great insight as to what happens when people simply cannot understand another language with her Pepsi example. Ideograms can transcend all boundaries with the effective use of symbolism and can boost visibility and clout for organizations around the world.

Think of ideograms, you have encountered over the years. Have they been effective? Are ideograms replacing the need for verbal advertising or does the use of ideograms by organizations enhance and strengthen brands?

You decide.

If you still need more convincing, please view my elevator pitch on the importance of ideograms.


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Frequently Asked Questions: The National Marriage Project at the University of Virginia

Disclaimer: This post is intended solely for the purpose of week 14’s assignment for JOMC 711 and does not directly reflect FAQ’s for the organization listed above.

What is the National Marriage Project?

How did we come about?

What do we do?

What are our goals?

What resources do we offer?

Where can you find our research?

How do you contact us?

How can you get involved?

What is the National Marriage Project?

The National Marriage Project is a nonpartisan, nonsectarian, and interdisciplinary initiative located at the University of Virginia.
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How did we come about?

The National Marriage Project was founded in 1997 by Rutgers University Sociology Professor David Popenoe. Drs. Popenoe and Barbara Dafoe Whitehead spearheaded this program at Rutgers University from 1997 to the summer of 2009. The National Marriage Project then moved to the University of Virginia. W. Bradford Wilcox, associate professor of sociology at the University of Virginia is now the director. Dr. Wilcox is also the only staff member for this project.
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What do we do?

The Project’s mission is to provide research and analysis on the health of marriage in America, to analyze the social and cultural forces shaping contemporary marriage, and to identify strategies to increase marital quality and stability.
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What are our goals?

1. Publish information about the current health of marriage and family in America.

2. Gather information and data on the state of marriage among young adults.

3. Provide data results regarding marriage to journalists, policy makers, religious leaders, the general pubic and young adults.

4. Conduct research on the ways in which children, race, class, immigration, ethnicity, religion, and poverty shape the quality and stability of contemporary marriage.

5. Acts as a liaison to bring marriage and family experts together to develop strategies for strengthening marriage.
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What resources do we offer?

The National Marriage Project provides resources and reports on a number of topics pertaining to marriage. Other resources include audio and video coverage of some of our research.

Ever heard of the phase happy wife, happy life? Well we are bringing a brand new meaning to that old phrase. Use our fact sheets to check and see what you can do to ensure a happy marriage for both partners!
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Where can you find our research?

Articles from the National Marriage Project are published in a number of publications. We also invite you to visit our website to see what future publications we are working on.
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How do you contact us?

If you have issues accessing anything on our website or if you have concerns about our publications. Please feel free to mail a letter to the address below. You may also call or e-mail us.

The National Marriage Project

P.O. Box 400766

Charlottesville, VA 22904-4766

Phone. 434-321-8601  Fax. 434-924-7028

Email. marriage@virginia.edu
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How can you get involved?

If you would like to donate to our cause please contact us at marriage@virginia.edu.
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Title IX: Compliance Initiatives to Advance All Student Athletes

Disclaimer: The content of this story is intended solely for the purpose of week 14’s assignment for JOMC 711. The comments from the interviewees in this post do not in any way reflect the entire views of the organization’s these individuals work/ed for or attend/ed.

Title IX: Compliance Initiatives to Advance All Student Athletes

Are you a parent with children currently in school playing sports? If not, are you grandparent, aunt or uncle, or godparent with loved ones currently in school playing sports? Did you play sports in school or are you currently in school playing sports?

Imagine a world where you or your loved ones could go to school on a full sports scholarship without having to pay a single out of pocket expense. That would definitely be helpful in these tough economic times.

Now imagine if your son or daughter, grandson or granddaughter, niece or nephew, or godson or goddaughter applied for the same sports scholarship only to find that the boy was given the scholarship over the girl.

How would that make the girl feel? Like less of an athlete? Like her contributions to sports doesn’t matter perhaps?

Now imagine a world where all student athletes are given a fair chance to receive scholarships for all sports regardless of gender. Where all student athletes are provided a platform to display their talents and abilities. That’s where Title IX comes in.

So what is Title IX?

A bill passed June 23, 1972 to ensure equality in men’s and women’s sports and education. This law requires high schools and colleges to provide equal opportunities and facilities to all athletes and students regardless of gender. In addition, schools cannot exclude any student from participating in any education program or activity receiving federal financial assistance based on their sex.

Goals of this assignment:

In order to present an unbiased view of this bill, I focused on what programs have done to gain and stay in compliance with this bill by interviewing sports administrators from Universities and high schools to see how their organizations have tackled the task of satisfying the three standards of Title IX compliance, also known as the three-prong test.

Since the basis of Title IX and the controversy surrounding this bill mainly focuses on the sports component, this piece has been narrowed down to focus on the athletic component.

These components include:

1. Effective Accommodation of Interests

2. Financial Assistance

3. Equivalence in Other Benefits and Opportunities

In addition to interviewing sports administrators, I planned to interview a few student athletes to get their view of the bill. However, I could not clearly identify the rules and regulations regarding interviewing student athletes, so I decided to poll college/high school students to see how many are familiar with this bill and its affects and benefits on their education. You may view those results in my previous post labeled assessing knowledge of Title IX.

Avoiding conflict of interest:

I am not currently a student athlete or sports administrator. I also do not volunteer or participate in any recreational sports activities that support or promote Title IX so I am confident that I will be able to present this subject matter in an accurate, unbiased way.
Proposed Interviewees for this assignment:

* College/University:

1. Lawrence Bubba Cunningham, Director of Athletics, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill (Could not be reached, but referred another source.)

2. Dr. Heidi Grappendorf, Assistant Professor (Teaches gender issues and diversity in sport management.), North Carolina State University (Agreed to interview and is included in this piece.)

3. Ingrid Wicker, Director of Athletics, North Carolina Central University (On vacation, but has agreed to an interview at a later date.)

* High School

1. Perry Tyndall, Athletic Director, Kinston High School (Kinston, NC) (Could not provide any information on this subject due to only being in this position for one year.)

2. Bob Hill, Athletic Director, Hillside High School (Durham, NC) (No response.)

3. Jack Rogers, Athletic Director, Leesville Road High School (Raleigh, NC) (No response.)

Through referrals, I interviewed the following sources for this project.

1. Beth Miller, Senior Associate Athletic Director, The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, referred by Lawrence Cunningham. (Provided valuable insight on Title IX coordination and practices for UNC Chapel Hill)

2. Mr. Jerry L. Vaughn Jr., North Carolina State University Alumni (Major Sports Management), former high school classmate. Mr. Vaughn also referred Dr. Grappendorf. (Provided valuable insight on Title IX initiatives and implementation from a former athlete/students perspective.)

So what do my interviewees have to say about the compliance initiatives of Title IX?

*Beth Miller and Heidi Grappendorf were both asked the same series of questions. Mr. Vaughn was asked separate series of questions. All questions and answers are provided below.

Interviews with Beth Miller and Heidi Grappendorf.

1. How has your school tackled the task of determining the athletic interests and abilities of students?

Beth Miller: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill has initiated self studies  every 5-6 years to assess UNC’s compliance with this bill. Ms. Miller expressed that UNC will not meet the proportionality requirement of Title IX due to the high percentage of females in the student body and the large number of participants in the football program. However, UNC has a great commitment to making sure there is equality in men’s and women’s sports offering 15 women’s and 13 men’s programs. Other initiatives that UNC has taken to ensure equality in interests:

    • Added women’s lacrosse in 1995 and women’s rowing in 1997.
    • Provides electronic surveys to students to assess interest and ability in athletics.
    • Looked at high school sports, other programs offered on campus and programs offered at the recreational level and found that UNC Chapel Hill is not missing any interest that women wanted.

Heidi Grappendorf: If you look at NC State’s record, the University continually strives to practice proportionality among men and women sports. Although this is challenging, NC State has shown it’s commitment to Title IX by building new women’s softball and track fields to match facilities offered to men.

2. Universities/Colleges and High Schools are not required to offer particular sports for each sex or an equal number of sports for each sex. Have you ever experience a situation where student of either sex wanted a particular sports program that isn’t offered?

Beth Miller: For women, not in the last 10+ yrs.  For men, interest has been expressed, but not officially pursued.   UNC Chapel Hill has a process for students to petition for sports to be added to the intercollegiate offerings, but has not had anyone go through this process to add a men’s sports.   However, UNC Chapel HIll likely would not add a men’s sport because doing so would widen the proportionality disparity and in essence cause UNC Chapel Hill to be unable to make progress in that area of Title IX.

Heidi Grappendorf: Cited an experience she had while teaching at Texas Tech University. The University added a rodeo team to meet Title IX compliance and to add a sport students wanted that wasn’t provided. If there was ever a sport that needed to be added, the University supported that initiative and tried to include it.

Any University that has a commitment to Title IX will try to level the playing field. As far as gender equality goes, some schools are afraid to do anything to add on men’s sports because of the financial responsibility that comes along with those additions such as balancing scholarships and federal aid. She does not agree with cutting men’s or women’s sports to be in compliance with Title IX, but did cite that if you look at studies being done about Title IX, you will see that 60-80% of schools are not in compliance with this bill and that those numbers are scary and does not send a good message in general about the importance of this bill.

3. How has your school ensured that the number of men and women participating in intercollegiate athletics is proportionate to overall enrollment?

Beth Miller: This task is not feasible due to the increased % of enrollment of women and men on campus. With the current rate being about 59% for women and 41% for men. However, UNC Chapel Hill has made great strides to make sure there is an equal playing field for all student athletes.

Heidi Grappendorf: NC State has been good about keeping the proportionality rate of student athletes within 2-3% of enrollment and cited that this is a difficult task to handle.

4. How has your school ensured equal financial assistance for student athletes?

Beth Miller: As stated before, UNC Chapel Hill has conducted self studies to check on this regularly. In addition, UNC Chapel Hill has monitored this every year by providing surveys and questionnaires to students and coaches that assess the equality of equipment, facilities, tutoring and medical services offered to all athletes. This is also done to ensure there are no gender issues or concerns regarding programs offered to all athletes. UNC Chapel Hill also makes sure the amount of athletic grant-in-aid dollars allocated for athletics is in proportion to the participation numbers of each gender.  For example:  currently the total student-athlete population is 45% women, so 45% of the total athletic grant-in-aid dollars is allocated to women.  The same goes for the 55% for men.

*Information on UNC Chapel Hill’s initiatives to educate their campus community about Title IX can be found on their website.

Heidi Grappendorf: NC State has worked hard to support both men and women’s sports. She cited an incident where there was an issue with the salary gap of basketball coach Kay Yow and other men’s coaches. NC State recognized this discrepancy and increased her pay to match male coaches. NC State has not only made sure men and women athletes have equal facilities and programs, but have also ensured equal pay for men and woman athletic employees.

*More information on NC States gender equality initiatives can be found on their website.

From an educators perspective, Heidi Grappendorf has taught sport and psychology courses and was surprised at the number of students that are aware/unaware of this bill. She realizes the importance of this bill and cites that some students are clueless about what the bill entails and that most students only think this bill applies to sports. In addition, she would like schools to make a commitment to gender equity. She believes that the lack of education about this bill in schools and the unwillingness of some schools not committing to Title IX sends the wrong message about the importance of this bill in general.

Heidi Grappendorf suggested I research a study on Title IX performed by a colleague of hers, Christy Greenleaf, from the University of North Texas. My research took me to a synopsis on the outcomes of that study conducted by Christy Greenleaf and Christina Moore.

Interview with Jerry L. Vaughn Jr.

1. As a former student and athlete, were you educated on Title IX?

Athletically, he was never educated by a coach or athletic director on what Title IX was or the components of Title IX and what it entailed. Once he went to college, he received education on Title IX from academic interactions and courses mainly because of your major.

2. Do you think you would have ever received education on Title IX or have a full understanding of what the bill is if you had not majored in Sport Management?

It’s tough to say whether or not he would have received education on it. Most people think that Title IX only applies to sport, so it is heavily talked about in sport management. But, he feels that courses in human resources or administration would cover this bill for individuals hoping to get jobs in education because the bill applies to all educational programs receiving federal funding and not just sports. In addition, he feels that sociology courses would cover this bill as well because it pertains to the equality of all human beings regardless of gender.

3. As a former athlete, what have your experiences been with regards to equal treatment, facilities, etc. provided to men and women?

In regards to facilities, as a former athlete at Kinston High School, the quality of the men’s and women’s locker rooms were equitable. When the men’s basketball team got new uniforms and shoes, the women did too. As an expression of their commitment to gender equity, Kinston High allowed female students to try out for the junior varsity or varsity football teams. During his time at Kinston High, Mr. Vaughn witnessed two female students take advantage of this opportunity and become football players.

So why do we need Title IX?

1. Equal facilities and programs for students.

2. Increased number of female participants in sports.

3. Equal pay for male/female administrators.

What do the statistics show?

The Women’s Sports Foundation shows a significant increase in the number of female participants in sports. The New York Times shows an increase in the range of sports female athletes participate in. However, male athletes are still given more opportunities to play sports than female athletes.

Title IX Presentation

Data from the National Collegiate Athletic Association and the Department of Education’s Equity in Athletics Disclosure Act shows a discrepancy in the percentage of proportionality of student athletes participating in sports.

What are students saying about Title IX?

What does the President have to say about Title IX?

What needs to be done?

Overall, from the interviews and research I conducted, high schools and colleges need to do more to stay in compliance with this bill. In addition, more education on this bill should be given to students to provide information on the entire bill overall instead of just the sports aspect of the bill.

What can you do?

I strongly encourage anyone who knows someone playing sports or who has or is playing sports themselves to speak with school administrators and ask what they are doing in their local areas to educate parents, athletes, and loved ones on what they are doing to make sure their schools are in compliance with this bill. You can also contact the National Association of Girls and Women in Sport (NAGWS) or the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletic Administrators (NACWAA) to become and advocate for Title IX compliance.

The very last thing you can do is attend the games of male and female athletes to offer direct support for their programs.

I have a niece that participates in bowling and Tae Kwon Do and I attend every testing session and bowling competition. If Title IX weren’t in place, I don’t think there would be a platform for her to participate in these activities.

Niece with bowing trophies.

Niece with bowing trophies.

Niece with Tae Kwon Do Certificate of Excellence.

Niece with Tae Kwon Do Certificate of Excellence.

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Assessing Knowledge of Title IX

The poll below is intended for the purpose of identifying the level of knowledge current and previous college and high school students have about Title IX. Please feel free to leave comments and visit my blog for more information to follow on this subject.

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Welcome to “The Wacky Waterfall!”

We are a new news organization seeking to provide accurate up to the minute coverage of current events. Below are a few or our recent updates and current openings to join our staff!

Changes to Published Articles

We here at The Wacky Waterfall will take every precaution to make sure the news we report is done so accurately. However we know that some news is not always reported accurately and may need to be corrected and revised. Due to recent suggestions from our readers, The Wacky Waterfall has decided to implement the following policy regarding changes to articles published online. This information will be distributed by e-mail to all staff and displayed on our website for readers to view as well.

Changes to articles published online will be handled by following these procedures:

If found by the writer:

  1. The writer will place a notation at the top of the original story stating that the story has been recanted (if the story is found to be untrue) or updated (if new developments have arisen).
  2. At the bottom of the original story, the writer must provide a hyperlink to the new or updated version of the story.
  3. The writer will at no time revise the original story posted.

If found by a fellow staff member:

  1. The staff member must call a meeting with the public editor and writer of the story and inform both of the corrections that need to be made.
  2. The staff member will provide both the editor and writer with sufficient evidence beyond a reasonable doubt including credible sources from other reputable news organizations. This does cannot include information from individual personal blogs.
  3. The editor and writer will review the information to determine whether a recant or update needs to be made.
  4. Once a decision has been made, the writer will then follow the steps to making corrections noted above in the “if found by the writer” section.

If found by a reader:

  1. The reader should submit send an e-mail to the public editor, Jeaquetta Jackson, at jae825@email.unc.edu and provide sufficient information regarding why a change needs to be made. Attachments can include references to online or print media regarding information on the story in question.
  2. If the reader would like to remain anonymous, he/she can leave comments in the suggestions section of our website which will be reviewed by the public editor and the writer.
  3. If it is determined that changes need to be made, the writer will then follow the steps to making corrections noted above in the “if found by the writer” section.

How to Share and Contribute Information

The Wacky Waterfall encourages readers to share content from this site through social media, blogs and other outlets. Since this is a public website, there are no requirements needed to share our information with others.

However, we also encourage our readers to contribute information that may be beneficial to stories posted on our site by doing the following:

  1. You must complete a registration form to become a member of our site. You will need to provide your name, e-mail address, and the city and state you reside in. You will be prompted to verify your e-mail addressed after registering. Once registered, you may post anonymously or use an abbreviated name.
  2. If you would like to stories updated or recanted or if you wish to provide supporting documentation such as pictures or videos to published articles, please e-mail The Wacky Waterfall’s public editor, Jeaquetta Jackson, at jae825@email.unc.edu and provide sufficient supporting documentation for your submission.
  • Updates and recants may be submitted anonymously by utilizing our sites suggestions section.
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We’re looking for a Vice President of Social Media to join our team!


Here at The Wacky Waterfall we strive to provide up to the minute news coverage of current events to the public. We are seeking an individual to oversee our social media and account management operations. The Vice President of Social Media will be charged with creating and implementing rules and regulations regarding how information from our site is added to social media sites. The Vice President of Social Media will also be charged with creating and implementing how the staff at The Wacky Waterfall uses social media sites to charge other news organizations with providing recants or updates to previously uploaded stories. The Vice President will serve as a liaison between staff at The Wacky Waterfall and other news organizations to ensure quality assurance.


  • Create public relations programs and media strategies to promote our site and increase readership.
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  • Serve as a liaison between The Wacky Waterfall, our partners and other new organizations to strengthen our public relations unit.
  • Make independent decisions regarding marketing initiatives and work with our legal department to create and implement social media content rules and regulations for The Wacky Waterfall.


  • Must have excellent communication and organization skills.
  • Must have 5+ years of experience in public relations, compliance, journalism or communications.
  • Must have proficient experience in account management and implementing social media initiatives.
  • Experience in compliance is a plus.
  • Master’s degree in public relations, marketing, or compliance preferred or a combination of experience and education and experience.

How to Apply:

A resume, letter of intent, and a list of three references are required for this job posting. Please e-mail these items to the public editor, Jeaquetta Jackson, at jae825@email.unc.edu.


Who do you think won the debate?

For more transcripts of the debate visit:

The Washington Post

CBS News

Fox News