Pause And Play Button – Where Did The Symbols Come From?

Pause And Play Button – Where Did The Symbols Come From?

Pause And Play Button – Where Did The Symbols Come From?

by November 16, 2012 0 comments

Wondering where the Pause/Play button on your media player come from? There definitely lies a story behind it. Obviously, some one must have come up with an idea of a ‘triangular’ play button, a ‘rectangular’ stop button and a ‘double barred’ pause button. These are not just mere geometric figures. If they are there, they surely mean something. Here is a brief on what the button actually means.

Pause and Play SymbolsLets talk about the ‘Play’ button first. It is denoted by a triangle pointing at the right. Universally, the right and the up direction symbolize forward or positive, and this is where the ‘Play’ button gets its symbol from. Similarly, two triangles pointing right symbolize the ‘fast-forward’ button, which is quite self-explanatory.

But, how did the stop button get the 2-dimensional square? A 2-dimensional square placed on a 2-dimensional surface is not that easy to move, and this makes you realize that the object is not in motion. Therefore, a ‘square’ seems to be perfect for a video or an audio that has been stopped completely. Finally, the ‘pause’ button is also a square but with a bar taken out from the middle, which means that it is not completely stopped.

Some believe that the buttons with their corresponding symbols were introduced by ‘Sony’ when it released its first Walkman. Other opine that it was a Japanese remote-control device manufacturing company who first introduced the symbols.

However, no matter where the symbols came from or who used them first, the bottom line is – the  symbols that you see on the control bar of your media player do have a meaning.


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