The Noun Project

Common Sense Media says

Visual language shows there are many ways to communicate.

Age(i)

2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
10
11
12
13
14
15
16
17

Quality(i)

 

Learning(i)

What parents need to know

Positive messages

Kids will feel good knowing they're contributing to a global visual language that can help people communicate.

Violence
Not applicable
Sex
Not applicable
Language
Not applicable
Consumerism
Not applicable
Drinking, drugs, & smoking

Some of the icons depict wine and cocktail glasses.

Privacy & safety
Not applicable

Parents Need to Know

Parents need to know that the Noun Project is a website that's creating a global visual language of symbols and icons. With the hope that this language will help people from all over the world communicate, they're accepting icons from numerous artists and designers. Kids may be drawn to the goofier icons (a guy on the toilet, a dog sniffing another dog's rear), but there's definitely the possibility for learning or, at the very least, reflecting on what it would be like to communicate only visually.

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • naming
  • vocabulary

Social Studies

  • global awareness
  • cultural understanding

Arts

  • drawing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • memorization
  • strategy

Creativity

  • combining knowledge
  • innovation

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • multiple forms of expression

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Engagement, Approach, Support

Engagement

It's fun to browse through all the icons people have created. Creating an icon takes more focus, but it could be a great challenge for young artists. 

Learning Approach

This language is meant to be shared; if users adopt some of the icons and use them in their own projects, it becomes a social experience.

Support

There's a lot of advice about licensing, and the site gives guidelines on creating an icon. It also guides you through the icon-uploading process. 

What kids can learn

Subjects

Language & Reading

  • naming
  • vocabulary

Social Studies

  • global awareness
  • cultural understanding

Arts

  • drawing

Skills

Thinking & Reasoning

  • deduction
  • memorization
  • strategy

Creativity

  • combining knowledge
  • innovation

Communication

  • conveying messages effectively
  • multiple forms of expression

Tech Skills

  • digital creation
  • using and applying technology

Kids can learn that not all languages are verbal; people have used symbols to communicate for thousands of years. They also can learn to look out for symbols they recognize and think critically about icons the world may be missing. If they decide to create their own icons, kids will learn design skills as they go through the process of drawing an image and making it into a file they can upload and share with others. The Noun Project really inspires kids' creativity while opening their minds about the ways humans communicate.

This Learning Rating review was written by Polly Conway

User reviews

Parents say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

Kids say

Not yet rated
Review this title!

What's it about?

THE NOUN PROJECT is a website that aims to build a global visual language of symbols and icons that everyone can understand. Its creators believe that \"symbols can transcend cultural and language barriers and deliver concise information effortlessly and instantaneously.\" Users can either download previously created icons or add their own to the project. You can sign up for a free account with an email address and a password.

If you download an icon for your own use, you either must attribute it to the designer or pay a fee (usually $1.99) to purchase it unattributed. If someone purchases your design, the money will be deposited directly into your PayPal account monthly. The Noun Project uses Creative Commons licensing to give designers the creative rights to own and share their work as desired.

Is it any good?

QUALITY
 

Hundreds of artists and designers have contributed their own icons to the project, and, all together, the language they're creating is quite a sight. Some of the icons are silly, like the cupcake- and donut-laden Sugar Suite collection. Some are beautiful, and others are very clear visual representations. The project itself is a huge, ambitious undertaking, and it's neat to see it grow as more people add their symbols.

It's hard to figure out the end goal right now. Will the language become official at some point? Will the site include all the icons featured, or will it narrow them down? The Noun Project, a relatively new start-up, may still be figuring these things out, too. Some icon sets are repetitive; trendy moustaches and food items pop up everywhere, while more serious icons may not get the attention they need. Practical uses include helping autistic kids communicate; a fist icon from the Noun Project was used extensively during the Occupy Wall Street protests.

Families can talk about...

  • Ask your kids if there are any symbols on the site they disagree with. How would they rather represent that idea in a picture? Give them pen and paper and ask them to draw. 

  • Ask your kids to write a sentence, and then, while looking at the site, help them find the icons that match the sentence's message. What's different about communicating visually? 

Website details

Genre:Educational
Price:Free to browse
Pricing structure:Free

This review of The Noun Project was written by

About our rating system

  • ON: Content is age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • PAUSE: Know your child; some content may not be right for some kids.
  • OFF: Not age-appropriate for kids this age.
  • NOT FOR KIDS: Not appropriate for kids of any age.

Find out more

Quality

Our star rating assesses the media's overall quality.

Find out more

Learning ratings

  • Best: Really engaging; great learning approach.
  • Very Good: Engaging; good learning approach.
  • Good: Pretty engaging; good learning approach.
  • Fair: Somewhat engaging; OK learning approach.
  • Not for Learning: Not recommended for learning.
  • Not for Kids: Not age-appropriate for kids; not recommended for learning.

Find out more

About our buy links

When you use our links to make a purchase, Common Sense Media earns a small affiliate fee from Amazon or iTunes. As a nonprofit organization, these funds help us continue providing independent, ad-free services for educators, families, and kids while the price you pay remains the same. Thank you for your support.
Read more

See more about how we rate and review.

What parents and kids say

Write a user reviewThere aren't any reviews yet. Be the first to review this title.

Poll

Did our review help you make an informed decision about this product?

Essential School Tools