WHIMIS 2015 – Redrawing to Correct “Analog Generation Loss”

Generation loss vs. redrawing

Back around 2008, I was helping with a Powerpoint presentation on the infamous WHIMIS label and all the variations on things that are safety cautious.

I can only wonder why an important set of images are so horrible. They must be based on, as an old friend would say, “the image looked like a photoengraving of a facsimile [FAX] of a photocopy”.

The pictograms are most likely reproduced from old hand drawn originals and printed reproductions [repros] that were copied over and over until the detail is gone or distorted. Paste up artists would often reuse images from 2nd or 3rd generations, then retouch the printed material, then photostat [large camera and repasted quick-print] it back into production. This analog reprocessing degraded the quality over and over, often until images were often unrecognizable.

whimis skull pictogramwhimis skull pictogram
whimis biohazard pictogramwhimis biohazard pictogram
whimis corrosion pictogramwhimis corrosion pictogram
whimis exclamation pictogramwhimis exclamation pictogram
whimis exploding pictogramwhimis exploding pictogram
whimis flammable material pictogramwhimis flammable material pictogram
whimis gas cylinder pictogramwhimis gas cylinder pictogram
whimis health hazard pictogramwhimis health hazard pictogram
whimis oxidizing pictogramwhimis oxidizing pictogram

Here are my versions of the WHIMIS 2015 [Canadian] pictograms, redrawn for better detail for size reduction, printability and recognition.

“Generation loss” is defined as:

“Generation loss is the loss of quality between subsequent copies or transcodes of data. Anything that reduces the quality of the representation when copying, and would cause further reduction in quality on making a copy of the copy, can be considered a form of generation loss. File size increases are a common result of generation loss, as the introduction of artifacts may actually increase the entropy of the data through each generation.” https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Generation_loss

The pictograms are usually used at a small size on WHIMIS labels on industrial chemical containers. I needed them for a PowerPoint and projected on a number of screenings for a large audience. To do it best, the images had to be redrawn. I did quite a number of industrial and safety icons, but the WHIMIS used today [since 2015] are available here. WHIMIS 2015 Canadian set includes PNG images [pixel] and PDF [vector] that are large but can be easily rescaled without loss of detail. The black diamond versions would only be used for B&W prints.

You’re welcome to use them, but they are my own versions so you might have to get approval. Let me know in the contact page if you can use them.

If you like, buy me a coffee sometime.