CCI Graphic Design student wins in national competition

A University of Portsmouth 2nd year BA (Hons) Graphic Design student has won a national competition to design arguably the most important symbol on Ordnance Survey maps – a public toilet.

William Chiu, 25, was announced as one of six winners of new symbol designs live on last night’s The One Show on BBC1 to a viewing audience of more than three million. Click here to see the show from last night (from 32 minutes in)

His design is likely to become one of the most commonly used symbols of all because there are more than 3,000 public toilet symbols shown on OS maps across Britain. In addition to the glory, the second-year student also won a bespoke Ordnance Survey map featuring his design.

William said: “Winning is definitely an achievement, as I originally entered it for fun and not expecting the phone call from The One Show.

“When I was talking to the judges apparently the toilet category had the most submissions so I feel very surprised and honoured my design was chosen, especially when I only submitted for one category and the other winners entered several.”

William made about 20 different designs of each the male and female icon before settling on the winning design.

He said: “I had to ensure the style of the design looked similar and the two icons worked with each other. The female in particular was very challenging and I took a risky move by not adding any arms, but I knew it was the right thing to do.”

The competition was organised by the BBC and Ordnance Survey and gave viewers the opportunity to play a part in the future of OS maps by designing new symbols from a possible list of 10. The organisers called for creative ideas to  represent art gallery; climbing centre; skate park; electric car charging point; solar farm; vineyard; kite surfing; toilet; ice rink; and cave/cavern.

The six new designs will join more than 90 existing OS symbols. The winners were chosen by an expert panel including cartographers, designers and product managers, based on their originality, clarity and how suitable each design was for reproducing digitally and in print.

Graphic design course leader Sarah Houghton encouraged all her students to enter the competition.

Entrants were told winning entries should require little or no interpretation and able to be understood quickly. They also had to work well alongside existing symbols and be legible at 5mm.

Ordnance Survey tourist symbols are almost always rendered in the plain blue on paper and digital maps. The most recent new symbols, introduced in 2009 in the OS Explorer series depict boat hire, boat trips, cycle hire, craft centres and heritage centres.

The competition was open to anyone who is not a professional graphic designer, cartographer or map designer.

More information about the competition and all of the new map symbols and where they are around the country can be seen on the OS blog

Article courtesy of UoP Press Office

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