The first thing you probably think when you see such a container is danger, don’t touch. It’s not necessary to know what is in this red container except it can potentially hurt or kill you. This is mainly due to the biohazard symbol over an orange background. A biological hazard, or biohazard, is anything coming from a living microbe that is dangerous to humans. Since this box is red, it only contains material contaminated with blood. This can be extremely threatening to a persons health since blood can potentially carry deadly bacteria, viruses, etc. A question that arises is how a simple, meaningless symbol and two colors have come to represent danger?
The color orange is one of the most important parts of the biohazard symbol. Orange is very vibrant, noticeable, and is second to yellow in visibility. It is not too bright like yellow though, therefore it does not cause eye strain very quickly. Also, orange is a complement of blue which causes orange to be more visible outside and makes it more pleasing to view. These qualities of orange make it very useful when making a warning sign because this color makes the sign stand out. When in a room or, even more so, outside an orange sign will be the first to catch someones eye. This is necessary if people are expected to see such a sign so they can be more cautious in a room with biohazardous materials. This color is important, but it is meaningless in this context without the biohazard symbol.
The biohazard symbol was invented by scientists that wanted something easy to recognize and produce. A study was conducted to find which symbol people thought represented a biohazard and the symbol used today was chosen. This was an ideal choice since the symbol is easy to draw. A black writing utensil and drawing compass are the only pieces of equipment required so anyone can make it if necessary. Drawing the symbol in black is critical if you wish to optimize its visibility and importance in any situation. Black can be seen from a farther distance and if any brighter color was chose, then the visibility range would be reduced. Drawn over an orange background makes an aesthetically pleasing sign.
It’s interesting how a few circles drawn together can hold a strong meaning. Since it is so simple though, it is memorable and can be seen from any orientation. Also, no words are necessary which makes the sign an ideal candidate for a warning sign.
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