One of the world’s most recognizable symbols turns 50 today, the Victoria Times Colonist reports. The peace sign has become the rallying beacon for social movements from civil rights to anti-war. But textile designer Gerald Holtom designed the emblem to trumpet the fight for nuclear disarmament in England; it crossed the Atlantic thanks to Martin Luther King Jr.
Holtom, who thought the “lollypops” would look good on TV, drove home the message by referencing two letters from the signal-flag alphabet: “N” (flags at 4 and 8 o'clock) and “D” (at 6 and midnight). "I drew myself, an individual in despair, with hands palm outstretched outwards and downwards," he said, "in the manner of Goya's peasant before the firing squad."