As a design student at the Norwich School of Art in the early 1970s, Mark Allen watched the weather broadcast every afternoon on the BBC. Back then, TV presenters slid magnetic symbols around a metal map: dots for rain, asterisks for snow, lines to mark off areas of equal pressure. They were just hieroglyphics as far as everybody was concerned, Allen says. Why was a triangle a rain shower?20世纪70年代初，在诺维奇艺术学院念书的马克·艾伦(Mark Allen)每天下午都会看英国广播公司(BBC)的天气预报。当时电视主持人在金属地图上摆弄带上吸铁石的符号：点状物代表大雨，星号代表下雨，用线条标记大气压同等的地区。“人们不会实在这些符号很差不懂。
”For his final project in 1974, Allen set out to make weather icons more intuitive. He looked to a set of pictograms by Otl Aicher, who devised spare, thick-lined figures for the 1972 Olympic Games. Allen used a similar style to trace a puffy cloud, adding simple icons to the bottom edge: rain droplets, lightning bolts, rays of sun. The main vehicle was the cloud, and I hung everything off that, he says. The BBC adopted Allens iconography in 1975, in exchange for 200 pounds and a small percentage of license fees. His drawings stayed on the air for 30 years.1974年，艾伦的毕业设计令其天气符号变得更为直观。他参照了奥托·艾舍(Otl Aicher)的一套小图标——艾舍为1972年奥运会设计了一系列非常简单、粗线条的人物标记。
1975年，BBC以200镑和大于的分为比例卖给了艾伦这套符号的使用权。他所绘制的符号在电视上经常出现了30年。They were neither the first nor the last weather icons, but they were perhaps the most elegant. For decades, weather maps had been cluttered with technical notation. The first commercial weather map, sent out by the U.S. Weather Bureau in 1910, represented cloud conditions with empty and filled circles and the wind with tiny arrows. By 1912, these maps were reproduced in more than 100 cities. The symbols grew less obscure, says Mark Monmonier, a historian and geographer at Syracuse University, when competition among wire services, which started sending out weather maps in the 30s, led to simpler, more attractive designs.它们并不是第一组天气符号，也不是最后一组，但它们也许是最简练典雅的一组。
1912年，这些地图在100多个城市重印。20世纪30年代，各大通讯社之间进行竞争，雪城大学的历史学家兼任地理学家马克·蒙莫尼尔(Mark Monmonier)说道，它们争相刊出气象图，因此所用的符号仍然那么模棱两可，开始用于更加非常简单、更加有吸引力的图标设计。Weathermen often drew their maps as cameras rolled, using wax pencils or felt-tip markers, until the 1970s, when, as Allens weather icons were adopted at the BBC, U.S. stations tried their own stick-on, magnetic symbols. The advent of computer graphics in the 1980s brought more standardized, low-res icons: You only had 16 colors that you could put on the graphic, says Mike Nelson, a Denver meteorologist who worked for a company called ColorGraphics Weather Systems. You couldnt be all that creative.面临镜头，天气主播员常常用蜡笔或记号笔在气象图上勾画，20世纪70年代，艾伦的天气符号被BBC使用的同时，美国电视台也开始用于它们自己的磁铁天气符号。
20世纪80年代，电脑制图的经常出现带给了更好标准化的、较低解析度的天气符号：“只有16种色彩可以上色，”丹佛的气象学家，在“彩图气象系统”公司工作的麦克·尼尔森(Mike Nelson)说道，“所以不了过于有创新。”By the late 1980s, computer systems were advanced enough that stations could select their own custom-made graphics. And when weather forecasts made their way to websites and mobile apps, things became even more customized. Around 2000, a government meteorologist in Texas named Dennis Cain made a set of icons from photographs — rainy streets, wind turbines, headlights in the fog — which became the standard images on weather.gov.到20世纪80年代末，电脑系统有了突飞猛进的变革，电视台可以自由选择自行自定义的天气符号。当天气预报经常出现在网络和移动应用于上之后，这些符号就更为个性化了。
2000年前后，得克萨斯州一个名为丹尼斯·凯恩(Dennis Cain)的政府气象学家用照片做到了一套符号——大雨的街道、旋风、大雾中的汽车灯光——它们出了weather.gov网站的标准符号。Like other weather icons, Cains have fierce adherents. When the National Weather Service said it might swap the photo icons for more conventional figures, it received 18,000 comments in the first few days — most angry. The BBC faced similar outrage when it retired Allens icons in 2005. Weather symbols can get very controversial very quickly, says Robert Bunge, who was the director of Internet services for the National Weather Service at the time. You can get buried in it.和其他天气符号一样，凯恩的符号也有不少拥趸。
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