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Reimagining Accessibility: Student Challenge to Redesign Traditional Wheelchair Symbol

Posted September 23rd, 2013 by Jonathan Hung

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 However the message it conveys is outdated.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