How to speak the language of every country you visit

June 20, 2018

As a backpacker and traveler, you aim to explore new things and discover places that are unknown to you and sometimes culturally distant.
It is these interactions between different cultures, surprises, and contrasts that make traveling what it is. In my view, language plays a big role in this, since much of culture is embedded in the fabric of every language and dialect. I always try to learn several basic words of every country that I visit as a form of respect and also for the ease of getting around. Cab drivers and people in hostels or restaurants will appreciate it a lot if you can greet them properly and say thank you in their language.

But language is more than “hello” and “thank you”, and sometimes language barriers can be a hassle when you travel. Over at ICONSPEAK, we have solved the issue of language barrier in a very funny and easy way with our icon-language based T-shirt designs.

Thirty-nine icons offer you almost everything that you might need on your travels! Find a hotel? Easy. Ask about the weather? Piece of cake. 

The founding story behind the initial shirt design and our young company can be found in the blog on While driving through Vietnam on deficient motorbikes, we had no choice but to improvise on many occasions.

The low-tech solution that this T-shirt offers has, in my eyes, many advantages over any app or translation device. It's focused on interaction. You basically wear your language wherever you go and people are free to interact with you. This makes the shirts fun to wear and use.

The World Edition designs have been further developed, along with new city or country-specific products. I think the new women’s editions are particularly nice – they take the functional emphasis a bit lighter and are more fashionable. I have had lots of cool experiences and encounters with my ICONSPEAK shirt on my travels. It's just a new form of communication that is as simple as it gets and understood everywhere. Yay to simplicity!

The shirts also make a perfect gift for anybody who is a first-time traveler or just a greenhorn in languages. With 39 icons understood around the world, even if you are not a master of languages, with these neat shirts you will be able to say “I-CON-SPEAK!”

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