It seems that the International Atomic Energy Agency has determined that it must needs stand up for terrible design and design by committee with the release of the eye-poppingly fucked-up ‘improvement’ to the extant rediation symbol. Seriously, how stupid can an international bureaucracy be?

The long-held symbol, the well-known three-wedge-on-yellow design, effectively combined the four dark areas of a death’s head with a clear and elegant visualization of both radiation and half-life, the dark areas occupying one half of the radiating circle about the node’s center point.

The ‘improved’ symbol places a much-reduced-in-size old symbol (presumably the source of the agency’s design need, as incomprehensible or insufficient) at the apex of a less-generally-known sign shape, ‘hazard triangle,’ against an unfamiliar red background, lessening the contrast between the darker and lighter areas of the symbol at the same time as the overall size of the emblem is reduced by about three quarters.

Then the rest of the triangle is filled with a cornucopia of inharmoniously-combined elements. From top to bottoms and left to right, the old radiation symbol at the apex of the triangle sheds a bouquet of downward-pointing spermatozoa, which menace to the leaft of the triangle a peculiarly-spindly-boned jolly roger (black bones on a red field, certain to confuse aline intellegences, vast, cool, and unsympathetic who will note that most mammal bones are greyish white), an international dot-head figure in flight, apparently from the giant black skull, and an arrow rendered at the same density as the running dot-head figure and possibly indicating that one should flee large black skulls when menaced from the sky by wriggling arrowhead spermatozoa.

Seriously, this is the most terrible international signage ever envisioned. If they really thought the old symbol was no good, why the fuck would you bother to keep it in the new ‘improved’ symbol?

The new, uh, design, combines no fewer than SIX (hazard triangle, radiation badge, rays, death’s head, running man, arrow) independently existing symbols and changes the color scheme of the existing and most effective symbol to a less effective scheme. Furthermore, presumably someone on the committee that came up with this horrible menace to communication is at least familiar with the transition, 20 years gone, from the death’s head to Mr. Yuk?

Honestly, if that’s the quality of work that comes out of the IAEA these days, then I can state that the GWB objective of hollowing out the agency in order to enable more plausible invasion scenarios in Iran and Korea is well in hand. An agency that promulgates this logo has the credibility of a hungry toddler and the threat capacity of an enraged grizzly bear.

It’s so awful, in fact, that I suspect a hoax.


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