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September 23rd, 2013

Reimagining Accessibility: Student Challenge to Redesign Traditional Wheelchair Symbol

OCAD University has partnered with the Honourable David C. Onley, Lieutenant Governor of Ontario, to create Reimagining Accessibility, a challenge to redesign the International Symbol of Access.

International Symbol of AccessThe white wheelchair on a blue background is used the world over. As a ubiquitous symbol of accessibility, it has the potential to carry a powerful message globally regarding the inclusivity of our society. However the message it conveys is outdated. Students have the opportunity to propose a new symbol set.

Forty five years after the introduction of the International Symbol of Access in 1968, the contest seeks to replace or augment the familiar wheelchair sign with a symbol inventory emphasizing the multifaceted reality of disability. This competition has a practical purpose given that less than three per cent of persons with disabilities in Ontario use a wheelchair or electric scooter for mobility purposes.


Quick Facts:


  • First Place Award $5000 CAD
  • Honorable Mention (2) $2500 CAD
  • The final winners will be announced on November 1, 2013 in the presence of Her Royal Highness the Countess of Wessex.

Eligibility and Rules:

  • Students enrolled in undergraduate and graduate programs at colleges and universities
  • Projects must be submitted with no designer identification on the boards and in the required digital format.
  • The complete rules can be found at: Challenge Rules

For more information, see