Swiss Confederation Federal


Office for Civil Protection - Civil Protection

Civil Protection serves the community, the cantons and municipalities; and it serves to control the consequences of disasters and manage emergencies.


Create static and animated pictograms to inform the public about the behavior to adopt in case of disaster or emergency, via the application " ALERTSWISS ".

Construction of the grid

Creation of the human figure


By means of these pictograms, invent an imaginary language that is clear, simple, and immediately understandable to as many people as possible, taking into account, in particular, Switzerland's cultural characteristics. Use a purely functional design for this purpose, avoiding any notion of subjectivity as much as possible.

Create a pictogram glossary on the basis of this simplified visual language - but, ultimately, with a strong and recognizable graphic identity. Produce the new standard of reference in the field, a new standard in the conceptualization and realization of pictograms for use in the Confederation's official communication. The idea is to codify this new design so as to make it easily available and reproducible.

Creating elements from basic shapes


This was - in summary - our specifications. To make the pictogram, this drawing that acts as a visual stimulus, understandable regardless of the language of the target audience, we worked on the concept of immediate and universal perception, proposing a design that is easily intelligible and, consequently, purely informative.

For the created pictograms, that explain which behavior to adopt in a very specific and often complex scenario, we have designed the simplest in each case. We also wanted to make this administrative language as Swiss as possible and we deliberated on a "Swiss-made" design, in reference to Switzerland's reputation in the field of iconic design. A sleek design, maximally simplified, that ultimately has a specific aesthetic.

"The idea is to codify this new design so as to make it easily available and reproducible."

Negation system 1

Vertical negation system

Horizontal negation system


We drew about fifty static and animated pictograms, first referring to the ISO standards issued in the field. On this basis, we have produced a new graphic chart, supported by codified graphic construction principles (proportions, grid, colors, etc.), as well as a glossary. In cases where its use is required, we have chosen script that is derived from the "Frutiger" typeface, in tribute to the Swiss creative genius in the field.

To make our work comprehensible to the widest possible audience, we have benefited from several opinion polls to produce the most suitable and relevant pictograms.

Combined static pictures

Positive and negative behavioral actions

One animated element per pictogram to keep it tidy

These pictograms are mainly intended for an application and have required the creation of static drawings, as well as animated. For the latter, we have designed the sequencing animations to mimic the heart rate of a human at rest, so as to produce a feeling of natural calm, which is essential in the context of using pictograms.

The aesthetic criterion was the opposite of our initial intentions, but the pictograms we created resulted in a design that ultimately has an undeniable artistic dimension. We have compiled it all in a book that serves as a guide for the creation of new pictograms according to our chart, approved by Civil Protection for its effectiveness.