Student Work

  • Communication Design (BFA)

    Bentzion Goldman

    Kosher Symbols [1–148]

    Kosher Symbols [1–148] is a printed catalog and formal exploration of kosher certification symbols collected from around the world. Kosher symbols developed in the 20th century as a result of the industrializing food industry, which created a need for independent organizations to ensure that kosher dietary laws were being observed in factory settings. This, in turn, gave rise to thousands of graphic icons that, when placed on food packaging, indicate the supervision of a specific kosher certification agency. Taken individually, these symbols can seem arbitrary or mundane. Yet when they are viewed as a collection, themes begin to emerge that reflect a collective consciousness about how Jewish designers have chosen to formally represent the values of their culture.

    Kosher Symbols [1–148] brings into view how symbols themselves originate, how they are shaped and transformed over time, and the processes through which they are distributed and reinforced. By studying this unique relationship between religion, culture, graphic design, industrial production, and history, the catalog reveals a story that fundamentally asks: how do a culture’s designed artifacts represent its values? Humble and meaningful, the collected kosher symbols exist as “an archaeological record of the Jewish psyche.” (Ellen Frankel)