An iconographic trip to the gym

Jonathan Netek
4 min readJun 3, 2016


So for this assignment we were tasked with finding, and documenting, icons in the wild. Since the number of icons, symbols, etc. we run across everyday is abundant, I decided to document one trip in particular. From my home to the gym.

It all starts with a trip to the refrigerator to fill up my water bottle. It’s funny because this has been my fridge for almost 5 years and I have never really “looked” at it before. That icon for crushed ice makes no sense! And wtf is up with the light icon?! It’s terrible. Anyway, onward…

Grab my car key, it all makes sense here. I have an SUV, so I’m glad to see that the tailgate open icon is also an SUV. Did I notice that before? Nope. Is the icon on a sedan car key an actual sedan? Who knows. But at least I’m thinking about it now.

(also my super awesome sketches of these are all below)

I live in Houston, and it’s June, so once in the car, the air conditioning must be turned on as soon as the car is.

These are fine and good, pretty standard, but Honda is also a company that keeps design front-of-mind, at least in my opinion.

On the way there I pass many of these. These three signs in particular, in fact. Again, pretty straightforward. I will say though that the space between the circled P and the arrow on the No Parking sign is kind of big. Might be able to bring them a little closer and get some more breathing room on the top and the bottom. Maybe I’ll alert the TX DoT as extra credit. ;)

Once there I get out my ancient iPod Shuffle, which people mock me for, but it is still in my opinion MUCH better that strapping a phone to your arm!

I’ll admit to being biased, but Apple does so much right. Not everything, but a lot of things. These make sense and the design of the product as a whole is perfect for what I need it for.

Moving on…

I was surprised by the LACK of iconography on the treadmill itself, but that might just be the also ancient brand my prison-like gym has. See the pic below. I guess the terrains on the far left count(?), but aside from the arrows (above) that was pretty much it.

On a separate (product design) note, I do like that the thing above is set on a bar coming out from the machine at waist level, and that having buttons you can adjust easily and quickly while jogging is good design. Also like the quick start buttons for walk, jog and run. Thumbs up.

See?! Not much there. But this is about as old a machine as my (1st gen)iPod Shuffle!

At this point I’m getting concerned that I don’t have enough icons for the project, especially since I’ve already committed to this being it, so I look down and see the controls for the TV that is mounted above the treadmill.

Granted they are pretty gross, since some of them have been literally rubbed off, but there are still icons there nonetheless.

After my exhausting, but exhilarating, run I head back to my well-iconed SUV and head back thru my non-sparsely street sign populated neighborhood to my home.

Once there I refill my water bottle from the fridge, open it and treat myself to a well-deserved slice of leftover pizza. Cold, of course, because that’s really the only way to eat it once it becomes “left over.” My surprise at the lack of icons on the box itself is mildly surprising — unitl to look on the bottom, and behold…

Reduce, reuse, recycle. Good stuff. All around.



Jonathan Netek

User-Centered Human. Curious Designer. Problem solver. Voracious reader. Amateur mixologist. Husband, son, brother, guncle.