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Student Showcase Archive

Laura Leddy

MA work

MA work


How can we tackle language barriers and improve cross-cultural communication?

G.I.S.T. [General Information Symbolic Translator] uses easily identifiable pictograms to facilitate conversation when there is a communication barrier. It gives you just the essentials to communicate what's going on – the gist. Unlike travel dictionaries, which usually translate between only two languages, G.I.S.T. is intended to work wherever you are. It is pocket-sized, versatile, and weather-resistant. 

G.I.S.T. also asks us to consider the value of language. Today the world speaks about 7,000 different languages. This is not simply a question of vocabulary and grammar -- it's about culture, identity, and different ways of seeing the world. But globalisation, urbanisation and immigration are putting this diversity at risk: more than half of these languages are expected to disappear by the end of the century. Will we value this precious heritage more if we can hold it, share it, and physically pass it down to the next generation?

At its core, G.I.S.T. is about communication through connection: face-to-face, hand-to-hand, and person-to-person.



  • MA Degree


    School of Design


    MA Innovation Design Engineering, 2016

  • Degrees

  • AB (Hons) Near Eastern Archaeology, AB History of Art & Architecture, Brown University, 2013