Archive object:
Telemessage–How it works, 1983, BT1-EMP9/9/1, © BT Archives

Melissa Lu

Universally Personal Icons

In the age of the pandemic, many of us are constantly being bombarded with immediate forms of telecommunication that require our attention at all hours of the day. This phenomenon has since been projected as the “new normal”. As a result, the blurring of boundaries between work and personal life is increasingly taking its toll on our mental health.


Inspired by the Telemessage–How It Works poster, this speculative piece of design works as a service, but instead of sending a Telemessage to someone else, it allows you to send a message to yourself. The message lets you record your current experience – it’s then sent away, and after a few years’ time you’ll receive it back. It’s useful to have a delay as the experiences may not seem meaningful now, however, in hindsight they become more precious.

Your experiences and thoughts are depicted as personal icons, inspired by the universal design of Isotype. By offering the opportunity for a pause to reflect, and create a future memory of this era, the service aims to provide relief in this extraordinary situation.

Example icons designed through self-reflexivity:

Designing these icons is a way for you to capture the daily aspects of life, however minute the details may be. By transforming the rich imagery into simple icons, we are able to effectively record these times in the form of visual diaries for future remembrance.

︎ Try it yourself!