In the foreword of Signs and Symbols, the latest in RotoVision’s Communicating with Pattern series, Lance Wyman asks what the first sign or symbol is that you remember as a child, and the first you remember really striking you as your taste and sensibility began to develop. If your memories are hazy on this, perhaps this book’s lushly illustrated 256 pages will jog it just a bit.

I loved these two spreads, showing symbols designed by Wyman himself, for the Museum of Natural History in New York, and the 1968 Mexico Olympics respectively.

Signs and Symbols covers the use of signs and symbols from our early civilizations, symbols of membership and identity, and how signs and symbols permeate every level of our days – in nature, our domestic spaces, our consumer behaviour and expressions of happiness.

The authors, Mark Hampshire and Keith Stephenson, are experts in the use of signs and symbols themselves. As directors of London design agency Absolute Zero Degrees, they’re constantly juggling multiple sign and symbol applications, creating corporate identities, packaging, books, wallpaper, and interiors accessories. They are also co-authors of Circles and Dots, Stripes and Squares for RotoVision.

Signs and Symbols is a picture-rich book, and is perfect to page through in an idle moment. But the interesting choice of topics, full but clear layout, and broad range of source material may very well keep you looking longer than you might have expected, and may even jog a memory or two.