Buy a good symbol dictionary

When I design presentations, I sometimes imagine a pendulum swinging between two extremes – extreme clarity and extreme novelty. Trying to find the middle, an idea that's clear enough to be understood and novel enough to be interesting.

Or my minds eye goes to Raphael's excellent fresco of "The School of Athens", and how the center is anchored by Plato and Aristotle – Broadly representing Idealism and Materialism. The figure of Plato represented by Leonardo da Vinci points his right index finger to the heavens, while Giuliano da Sangallo's Aristotle faces his right palm towards the earth. Presentation is a persuasive art, it takes an idea and strives to ground it and make it real.

There are many places where my passion for communication meets with my love of studying and creating art. One area, is the generation of ideas. At Dalvero Academy, projects often involve developing a project, from scratch, in a finite amount of time, on location. It's fun and challenging. I can tell you from experience, that your mind floods with ideas, information, clues and potential – It also fills with obvious, banal solutions.

That's where the symbol dictionary comes in.

It's amazing how often we find the right explanation for future problems by looking back. Peeling back the meaning of a word or an icon, brings forth stories, ideas and insights of  how our ancestors, across cultures explained the world to each other. Like a thesaurus for your images, banal clip art can be replaced by thoughtful images and shared cultural significance.

Symbol Dictionaries help us find novel solutions in a clear, shared common language – Artfulness, rather than clip-artfulness.

Here are some excellent symbol books:

The Book Of Symbols: Reflections On Archetypal Images (The Archive for Research in Archetypal Symbolism)

The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols (Dictionary, Penguin)

Dictionary of Symbols

Dictionary of Symbols

The Watkins Dictionary of Symbols

Dictionary of Symbols: An Illustrated Guide to Traditional Images, Icons, and Emblems

Man and His Symbols