Other Notable Symbols - 2014

Other Notable Symbols from 2014, chosen by Symbolic Systems Program affiliates:

the umbrella

Umbrellas on the ground in Hong Kong, October 11, 2014,fromhttp://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/9/9f/Umbrella_Revolution_Umbrella_in_Causeway_Bay_20141011.jpg

The umbrella came to symbolize the movement for peaceful revolution and democracy in Hong Kong (tied to Occupy Central with Love and Peace, some of whose members objected to the use of the umbrella as a symbol). Umbrellas were used as a defense against tear gas during protests that drew over 100,000 participants seeking free and fair elections.  - Nominated by David Orr (Class of 2005) and Alice Fang (Class of 2015)


Black Lives Matter is a social justice movement that grew out of the 2012 killing of Trayvon Martin. The social media hashtag #BlackLivesMatter was widely used in 2014 following the killing of Michael Brown, and is "a call to action and a response to the virulent anti-Black racism that permeates our society." - Nominated by David Orr (Class of 2005)

the Heartbleed bug logo

The logo of the Hearbleed bug, from

The Finnish firm Codenomicon created a brand name and symbol for the "Heartbleed" bug after uncovering an OpenSSL vulnerability in April. Codenomicon called this branding strategy "Bugs 2.0", a new and more effective approach to educating users about security issues.  - Nominated by Todd Davies (Associate Director and Lecturer)

the Biohazard sign

The Biohazard sign, from

The Biohazard sign, originally developed in 1966 by Dow Chemical Company for use on their containers, was widely used in media in 2014 in relation to the Ebola virus. West Africa was terrorized by the ongoing epidemic of Ebola throughout 2014, the largest Ebola outbreak in history.  - Nominated by David Orr (Class of 2005)

the flag of ISIS (the "Islamic State")

the flag of ISIS, from
http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Flag_of_the_Islamic_State_of_Iraq_and_the_Levant2.svg -

A variant of the black standard/banner of Muhammad from Islamic tradition, the black flag featuring the shahada above a rendering of the seal of Muhammad is used by jihadist groups including the "Islamic State" (ISIS or ISIL) and Al-Shabaab. ISIS became a target of war by the United States in 2014 following its beheadings of US and UK citizens. - Nominated by Keith Devlin (Senior Researcher, H-STAR)

the electron micrograph of the Ebola virus

Colorized transmission electron micrograph of the Ebola
virus, from

News outlets used a few different transmission electron micrographs of Ebola virions as symbols of this deadly disease during the Ebola virus outbreak in 2014. A widely used Ebola TEM was a color-enhancement of one of the first images of the Ebola Zaire virus, taken in 1976 by Dr. Frederick Murphy at the Centers for Disease Control.  - Nominated by Todd Davies (Associate Director and Lecturer)

the hashtag character ("#")

The hashtag or number character continued to grow in use in 2014 as the prefix symbol for hashtags on social media such as Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. The usefulness of this typographical symbol led the writer Lindy West to playfully dub the hashtag "symbol of the year" in 2010, two years before our first Symbol of the Year vote.  - Nominated by Joyce Ohgi (Class of 2002)

the marijuana leaf

Schematic of the cannabis leaf, from http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/thumb/a/a8/Cannabis_leaf.svg/200px-Cannabis_leaf.svg.png

The cannabis/marijuana leaf symbolized changing opinions and ongoing debates about the legalization of marijuana. At the start of the year, Colorado became the first state to legalize marijuana for recreational use. Washington joined during the summer, and Alaska, Oregon, and Washington, DC voted to do so in November, though legal battles continue. - Nominated by David Orr (Class of 2005)

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