Infographic of the Origins of Common User Interface Symbols

Origins of UI Symbols

Ever wonder why the symbol for Bluetooth is made of triangles or why the USB symbol is a trident? Designer Sofya Yampolsky in partnership with Warm Gun and 500 Startups, created this infographic based on the 2010 Gizmodo article, “The Secret Histories of Those @#$%ing Computer Symbols“.

They are road signs for your daily rituals-the instantly recognized symbols and icons you press, click, and ogle countless times a day when you interact with your computer. But how much do you know about their origins?

So the next time you turn on your computer with a power button, reply with an @ sign or get that @#$%ing spinning beach ball of death, you’ll not only know what the symbols mean, but the meaning behind the symbols as well.

image via Sofya Yampolsky,


Lori Dorn
Lori Dorn

Lori is a Laughing Squid Contributing Editor based in New York City who has been writing blog posts for over a decade. She also enjoys making jewelry, playing guitar, taking photos and mixing craft cocktails. Lori can be found posting on Threads and sharing photos on Instagram.