Spanish Toy Research Institute Proposes “Common Iconography” for Toys

06 February 2012

The Spanish Toy Research Institute (AIJU) announced plans at the Nuremberg Toy Fair (Feb. 1-6, 2012) to design a free, universal iconography for the global toy industry in order to improve consumer understanding of labels on toys and to simplify the packaging and labeling process for manufacturers.

“Following market analysis, the AIJU discovered that more than 400 different icons are used in the toy industry,” said Miriam Morante, trend and design management specialist at AIJU. “The sector sometimes uses a variety of different icons to give information about the same feature, and research shows that consumers are overwhelmed with information and tend to be more and more confused by the amount of icons they have to interpret.”

After surveying more than 2,700 families and 150 companies and associations across Europe and the U.S., the Institute reported that it received positive feedback on a universal set of 15-20 icons specifically designed by the AIJU to provide information on age-grading, technical aspects (sound, use of batteries, etc.), educational features, a toy’s fit for children with special needs, among others. According to the AIJU, more than 90% of consumers said that universal icons on toy packaging would be useful.

The universal icons also aim to lessen packaging burdens on manufacturers. According to AIJU’s research, 75% of toy companies surveyed use icons on their packages to convey product characteristics and more than 81% of companies said that they considered “the creation of a common iconography for toys to be very useful.”

“The average number of languages to appear on packages is 7.7,” added Morante. “Packages feature an overload of textual information … there is a strong need for unifying criteria on a global scale.”

The AIJU is currently seeking feedback on their iconography, which will be made freely available to all companies once the final characteristics of the icons have been agreed upon. For more information, download the summary of AIJU’s research or contact Miriam Morante (

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