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The consumer segment is now more familiar with warning signals and recyclable packaging symbols than ever because of the current focus on packaging best practices.
Given the expansion of e-commerce and all current sustainable initiative development, that is not surprising.
Packaging symbols, however, go beyond the Mobius loop.
A range of icons for care, transportation, and other topics may have also caught your eye.
Even while most of these warning package symbols are likely intuitive, it’s always a good idea to have a little extra knowledge before straining your back trying to lift a large box.
A Brief History of Warning Symbols on Packaging
The University of California Radiation Laboratory in Berkeley spearheaded the invention of the radiation warning symbol, sometimes known as the Trefoil, which became the most recognizable packaging mark in the world in 1946.
But can we actually read it?
Most likely, the response is negative.
The radiation trefoil was initially designed as a “doodle” by a group of scientists who were eager to develop a warning symbol for this brand-new category of hazardous materials.
A bold color scheme (magenta-black) was used to draw the trefoil, which represents an atom’s activity and stands out on any surface and material.
However, the blue turned out to be unpopular. Instead, it was found through numerous color tests that, when viewed from a distance, magenta on yellow best conveyed the concept of danger.
At the beginning of 1948, this style finally became the standard.
We know to keep our distance if we encounter this warning symbol in any of its variations on the packaging.
We are aware that there is a danger, but for the majority of people, that is all we know.
The warning symbol’s primary goal has been accomplished. But once we are aware of the whole scope, we may then decide how to proceed.
We are aware of how to handle a box if it bears the “way up” transit packing sign.
The fragile symbol is the same. But what should we do when a package contains a warning symbol that we are unable to completely decipher?
A good illustration of how simple it is to assume we understand a symbol is the Trefoil warning sign.
Unfortunately, this hazardous packaging emblem has been misinterpreted for so long that a follow-up has to be written to clarify things.
The IAEA found that the Trefoil emblem needed to be replaced immediately since it was not universally recognized.
To prevent individuals from handling and dismantling lethal materials, the warning symbol from above was developed.
It’s safe to say that very few of us will ever be exposed to a radioactive symbol; yet, this is just one instance of how cognitive bias can be dangerous.
The risk of injury or product damage while handling a package improperly is well known, thus understanding how to read the warning signals on the packaging is essential.
A List of Packaging Warning Symbols, Icons ＆ Meaning
While some icons appear logical, others can be challenging to understand, and there is more to packaging warning signals than meets the eye.
To provide some context, grouping them according to categories might work for this goal.
After reading the two categories below, how many icons can you name?
- Transit packaging symbols
- Chemical pictograms (warning symbols on chemical product packaging)
The Most Common Packaging Icons Used in Transit
Here are some of the most popular transit packaging symbols, and each of them can appear printed in various styles and accompanied by text with indications.
This symbol, which is occasionally followed by the same word, indicates that there are delicate goods inside—they need not be made of glass.
The umbrella and raindrop symbols on the packaging indicate that the box (and its contents) should be kept dry. You can also choose to merely show the umbrella.
Handle with Care
Another common packaging symbol that tells the user or handler how the carton should be handled is two hands around a box.
Do Not Open with A Knife
To prevent harming the contents of the container, a cross is placed next to the image of a knife on the packaging.
This Way Up
A horizontal line with two vertical arrows pointing up indicates the way the packing should be stored or transported.
The Most Common Hazardous Chemical Pictograms
These substances include cellulose nitrate, which, under the right circumstances, such as the presence of an ignition source, can ferociously disintegrate and/or ignite.
liquids having flashpoints between 23 and 60 degrees Celsius. Gas oil, diesel, and light fuel oils with flashpoints between 55 and 75 degrees Celsius are also included in this group.
Oxidizers are chemicals that have the ability to burn and can be either solids, liquids, or gases. The strongest oxidizing substances have the ability to ignite or intensify flames.
For instance, calcium hypochlorite, which is similar to household bleach and is utilized as a chlorine source in swimming pools.
Compressed Gas (GHS04)
In contrast to the real attributes, the storage circumstances are more closely associated with this symbol. propane (the fuel for your barbecue), liquefied gas (nitrogen), and chilled liquefied gas (like carbon dioxide) are examples of high-pressure gases.
Corrosive effects can be seen at concentrations as low as 1% in several salts and surfactants, which are classified as being harmful to the eyes.
This is by far the most recognizable warning sign and it refers to substances that are dangerous and can enter the body through three different methods: ingestion, skin or eye contact, and inhalation.
This insignia can be difficult to grasp without additional context and awareness of the risks. Home goods like laundry powder or washing liquid may bear this sign.
Systemic health (GHS08)
This symbol stands for drugs that provide long-term health hazards, such as mutagens and carcinogens (substances that cause birth defects and cancer, respectively).
A surprise positive impact on how you run your business can be had by using the proper packaging symbols on your boxes, which should be covered in any health and safety training.
Time is saved in the supply chain, and safety precautions are taken to protect the person handling your packages and the contents inside. It simultaneously protects your back and your business.
The purpose of warning symbols for dangerous drugs should be educational rather than commercial.
Early education should include exposure to these ideas, and it is required by international law that they are appropriately displayed on the packaging.
Having knowledge of different kinds of warning signs on the packaging is very important. It will save you time in dealing with consequences if you put the wrong signs on your packaging.
ALPPM can help you customize different kinds of warning signs, especially for your packaging, if you want more information about this, please contact [email protected].