The usability of washing machine labels

Sometimes when we travel, there are labels on appliances that seem both familiar and weird to us. As is the case of this washing machine that has instructions in both Danish, and Swedish. The first weird work is likely “Slut”, which is generically Scandinavian for stop, or end. In this case, the Danish “Stopp” is more recognizable. Conversely, there is also a setting for Jeans (Swedish), that is labelled “Cowboytøj” in Danish, which literally translates to “cowboy clothes”. Not that weird considering when they were introduced in Denmark in the 1950s they were known as “cowboy busker”, or cowboy trousers. There are of course words that are easy to decipher: Silke (silk), Automatic, and Express. Could we create a series of universally recognizable symbols for use instead of words?

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