Idioms and Other Sayings Translated Into Pictograms

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I’m so embarrassed. I wish I could just crawl into a hole and die.

Pictograms are universally recognizable pictorial symbols that communicate daily essentials like directions, the location of bathrooms and which is male and female. But what would pictograms look like if they were applied to more complex idioms and sayings? That was the question that led Akihiro Mizuuchi and his art students at Tokoha Gakuen University to create “Designing symbols sayings.” The web designer, illustrator and educator worked with his students to turn words into shapes.

A lot of the idioms were Japanese, making their equivalent pictogram slightly confusing for those unfamiliar with the language. But here are a few that seemed to work.


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Money comes and goes


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A child who sleeps well grows well.


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Silence is golden


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You scratch my back and I’ll scratch yours


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Win or lose

As a fun bonus, Mizuuchi and his class also created a few pictograms for classic movies.


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The Matrix


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Laputa: Castle in the Sky


1 Comment

  1. Hello, I am a teacher and idioms is my favorite topic, I have learned pictogram here. This is a cool idea, my few students are great painter, I will take their help to create a booklet.

    Thanks, Ruth

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