The peace symbol we have know since the 1970s seems like a stylistic icon created from a designer who made it out of whole cloth. But this is not the case, it has a real source.
Gerald Holtom, a designer and a pacifist, had developed it specifically for a nuclear weapons protest march. He believed that a symbol would make the message stronger.
Holtom designed the symbol around flag semaphores. Flag semaphores are the long distance communications of messages using visual signals made with hand held flags. In the case of the peace sign, it was based off of the combination of the letters ‘N’ and ‘D’, which together stood for nuclear disarmament while simultaneously acting as a reference to Goya's The Third of May 1808 (1814) (aka "Peasant Before the Firing Squad").
|Campaign for Nuclear Disarmament badge (1960s)|