Ultimate Symbol is the first software firm to create comprehensive, useful, and high-quality electronic art collections specifically for serious, discerning designers. Founded by graphic designers in late 1992, the company is headquartered in Stony Point, New York.
The Ultimate Symbol Collection
Why is it a fixture in the world's leading design studios?
Because of founder Mies Hora's passion to meet the rigorous demands of top design professionals.
Where did this collection come from?
Fifty years of compilation. Mies' father, Richard Hora, pursued a lifelong obsession for aesthetic perfection through design, art, and architecture. His career spanned the golden era of design from the 50's through the early 80's. A time when craft and care in design were paramount. An all-consuming ethos that bore some very unusual fruit.
Richard developed an elaborate filing system for his work materials while at the studio of the legendary Raymond Loewy, and slowly amassed a phenomenal library of visual ephemera during his long, productive career in package and industrial design.
In 1979 Richard was nearing retirement. Mies had recently graduated from Parsons School of Design and was apprenticing with Art Direction Hall of Famer Cipe Pineles Burtin, when he convinced his father to share his treasure trove with the world. Inspired by the greats and working as a close-knit team, they invested four years into transforming a portion of that amazing motherlode into a set of four bestselling reference books, Design Elements-A Visual Reference. This indexed encyclopedia of shapes, forms, and symbols has long been revered by the design community.
In 1992, Mies founded Ultimate Symbol to bring the 'Design Elements' books to the digital desktop and set out to expand the subjects with new titles such as Official Signs & Icons, Nature Icons, Pictorial Symbols, and WebPage Graphics.
What's different about this collection?
It's a labor of love. The CDs evolve slowly through ruthless editing, painstaking research and meticulous categorization. We include only material that has a timeless quality, purity of form, uniqueness, and relevance to the whole collection. If a particular type of pointer is missing, like clock hands, then we go out and find them. The process involves hundreds of hours, thousands of sketches, original artworks, type specimens, linecuts, engravings, drawings, photos, and symbol sets.
How are the images rendered?
We build them as EPS files from the vector up. We don't just scan images and streamline them. Our designers have the Illustrator skills and craftsmanship required to recreate complex shapes with precision and grace - without losing the essence of the original. A safety sign stays true to code. A calligraphic flourish retains its penman-like curve. We correct each image over and over again, until it has just the right look and feel.
How are they organized?
Conveniently. Images are grouped visually by category and thoroughly indexed. A printed catalog, Acrobat PDF on-screen catalog, and color thumbnails allow a multitude of ways to search for images.
Why do they cost more?
Breadth, depth, sophistication, intelligent organization, extreme ease of use, and lavish attention to detail. Products by Ultimate Symbol cost more, but when important projects or tight deadlines are at hand, design professionals know from experience not to settle for false economies. That's why The Ultimate Symbol Collection has a cult-like following and is cherished by today's best designers.