Graphics - Based Service Information

  • 2013-10-21
  • SAE International

This document establishes standard graphical symbols and color conventions for use in either still (static) or animated graphics used for communicating service information. This document’s purpose is to communicate conventions for using those symbols and colors to accurately and consistently communicate intended information via graphics-based documentation. These practices are intended for use in service procedures, assembly instructions, training materials, and similar applications when trying to minimize the amount of human natural language text used within the document. The still and animated graphical conventions referenced should support effective communication via paper and “traditional” electronic media. The conventions can also extend to documenting via additional electronic delivery paradigms such as Augmented Reality (AR).

This document is intended for organizations interested in using graphics-based documentation to record and communicate assembly, adjustment, maintenance, and other service procedures.

NOTE: For usable versions of the graphical symbols included in this standard, visit the J2892 Digital Annex, where the same PDF shown here is offered in combination with Adobe Illustrator and Portable Nework Graphic versions of the symbols.


Translating Service Information, Assembly Instructions, Training Materials, and other similar service documents into multiple human natural languages is a major expense for manufacturers. One method of reducing translation expenses involves replacing much of a document’s text with still or animated graphics. In short, if text is not present, that text does not need to be translated. Although it is generally acknowledged that a “picture is worth a thousand words”, a picture’s meaning can be described by many, and widely varying, interpretations. Although using pictures to replace text in service and similar information documents has translation savings potential, clarity of communication needs to be maintained for widespread adoption and application of this technique. Ensuring human and machine safety when a user attempts to follow a documented procedure needs to be first priority when considering a method for reducing translation expense.

Establishing a standard set of graphic symbols to represent actions or messages enhances the detail and clarity of a graphic-based document. Creating standard conventions for these symbols allows a consistent message across industry and deliverable types.

Standard Published Revision Status
J2892_201610 2016-10-13 Latest Revised
2013-10-21 Historical Issued
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