Learning to see Hungarian Iconography

Well, my task was to collect some nice and neat icons and symbols in everyday life. I had to go out and look around instead I stayed at home and looked around on Google. I am able to offer a reasonable excuse: it was a rainy day that day. On the other hand, I wouldn’t be able to show you some nice examples from my home city because I’m living abroad now. And everyone knows London and its signages but what about Budapest?! Something new, I guess. So, in the followings, I’m going to show you some specific icons and symbols from Hungary. Oh, and before I forget, you will see my beautiful sketches as well — it was part of the assignment.

The evolution of bus signs

Ikarus bus

I’d like to start with some explanation of the Hungarian public transport, which is so retro and unique using those old Ikarus buses. We are so proud of this brand because it is a pure Hungarian thing (or we just love the thoughts of that)… :) Those old guys, I mean the buses, are a lot older than me. So, if you visit Budapest and you have the chance to try out these old-timers, then you can consider yourself lucky. Budapest is growing by leaps and bounds so the public transportation. New buses are coming and the signages are changing as well.

Old bus stop sign in Budapest

I guess you already noticed the similarity between the bus stop’s sign and the Ikarus bus above. That’s not a coincidence. I have to add, this photo is a really old one. We don’t have “Moszkva tér” anymore in Budapest. Moszkva square has been totally renovated and got a new name (Széll Kálmán tér) as well. 
So what’s happening in an emerging and renewed city? It gets some new signs! Look at this fresh and minimalist bus stop design. I like it a lot. It’s more appealing to the eyes. I guess it was really unusual for the “Budapesters” that’s why they still use the old, customary sign next to the new one. Unfortunately, it’s just one piece of the series of the icons. I’d love to complement this articles with all of the new ones when I’ll have more time for that. They’re really interesting because there’s not much difference between these new icons.

New bust stop sign in Budapest

Forbidden or not?

The following one is one of my favourites. It’s so unclear, at least for me… This is a common sign next to the lakes in Hungary. It tells you swimming in the water/lake/river is prohibited. But there’s no definite marking of “NO”. I only see an Elvis calmly bathing in the wavy water. I checked this sign, to be sure about the meaning and according to Google (Google knows everything, right!?), it is a prohibition sign.

Swimming prohibited

I checked other countries signs in this topic. On those signs, this prohibition is straightforward and clear. Elvis gets a line on his shoulder but not the Hungarian one. It’s still strange for me. Google and I may be wrong…


If you have any idea how to save Elvis from drowning, please feel free to express it down, in the comment section. :)

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