Updated January 26, 2019
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The characters I’ve added to create this release of the Erudus Extended Allergy Icon Font. The above is not an image, but is the font characters themselves.
Click here to visit the project page for the Erudus Extended Allergy Icon Font, where the full download and links to the documentation are located. (updated January 26, 2019)
For the past few years I’ve been interested in developing a set of icons for the display of allergen information on restaurant menus. The ideal set of icons would work well on both printed and online menus, and be clear enough to allow for resizing when necessary. At first I’d come up with a few versions of my own artwork, most of which were rather cartoonish. There were at least three different versions over more than a year.
At one point I started working on a side project. It had occured to me the icons I was developing might work well inside their own plugin for the WordPress platform. After I got the first prototype to work, I found out that Erudus: The Food Industry’s Collaborative Solution to Sharing Product Data in West Yorkshire, UK, had released their own open-source set, the Erudus Food Allergy Icon Font. As it turned out, the EU had begun requiring the listing of fourteen allergen icons on all restaurant menus, including online and food truck menus. The Erudus Allergy Icon Font provided these icons, along with four icons for specific diet types, to the company’s (at the time of this writing) more than 85,000 caterers. The icons are also in-use within Erudus’ own database for ingredient research and recipe development, which their clients have access to.
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The original Erudus Allergy Icon Font, illustrating the keyed color scheme. Again, this is not an image, these are the working font characters.
There were a few reasons why I began developing the “fork”. or extended version, of the Erudus Allergy Icon Font:
- The display of the key legends and other presentation methods were dependent on an online styling method called Bootstrap. When attempting to use the font and its styling in a WordPress plugin, Bootstrap interferred with WordPress display methods.
- As a restaurant manager in the US I was aware of other allergens and diet/cuisine types which might need attention, either by current restaurant managers, or at some point in the future.
- Using the font made for an interesting method for creating and implementing characters to illustrate the spiciness of a dish within a menu.
Because of changes and requirements within WordPress the development of the restaurant menu plugin is currently stalled. However, I continued development of the Erudus Extended Allergy Icon Font, making sure from the beginning that it had no outside dependencies. Along the way I discovered a few things, including the fifteenth included icon for Gluten (“Cereals Containing Gluten” is the designation in the EU regulations and was presented in its own icon), Nuts should be “Tree Nuts” to differentiate them from Peanuts on a quick glance from a patron, and “the Big Eight” as designated by the USDA could also be documented within the Usage notes.
I hope people find this work useful. Please use the Contact Page on this site to report any issues or if you have any questions or suggestions.