Dumping Talking Icons

I have a great many verbs that involve talking in some manner. It occurred to me that in fact, talking is most of what we do in stories; so why do I need to point out that people are talking? Why not simply show what is being talked about? That would permit a more evocative icon. Here’s what some of my verbs would look like if I got rid of the talking head. Old version above, new version below.


Some explanations: the heart means “emotion” or “feeling” and therefore means “Subject feels that…”. The speech bubble means talk about the contents of the bubble, so the second lower icon means “Subject says that 4Actor said about 4Actor’s feelings…”. The third lower icon means “Subject asks what other people have been saying about their feelings (implicit is that Subject is interested only in other people’s statements about Subject).

The fourth icon uses the double arrow to suggest a two-way process; the power-aura symbol means that this two-way process is being suggested with power, meaning that it’s a threat, not an offer. The blue color suggests goodness, pointing towards the Subject, while the red color suggests power (threat) pointing towards the DirObject. In other words, “You’d better do this, which is good for me, or I’ll use my power on you.” 

The fifth icon is similar to the fourth except that it is all goodness: it’s good for you and for me, and I suggest it with a helpful tone. It’s an offer for a deal.

The sixth icon is obviously a question about feelings and another person.

The seventh and eighth icons are talk-icons containing un-good (bad) and good; they represent saying nasty things and saying nice things, respectively, about somebody. Here I get into a little problem. For consistency, I’d like to be able to use all three aura-symbols in such communications. However, how do I differentiate between directing the statement to the DirObject and directing it to a third person? I could simply add a 4Actor, but that gets a little clumsy when an actor says “Subject say goodness to DirObject about 4Actor” when DirObject and 4Actor are the same person. Still, it works. 

Here’s another issue: should the talking face in the second and third icons be replaced with the simpler chesspiece figure in sixth icon? That is, should I make universal the mini-symbol of the chesspiece figure to denote a third person? Perhaps I should use a simple smiley face to denote a third person. Perhaps I should use the current talking face to denote a third person.

I need to standardize the graphic concepts used in all the icons. My fear is that I’ll establish a standard, then later encounter a situation requiring me to violate the standard.