Graphics - Based Service Information

  • 2016-10-13
  • 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.

Adoption of this document’s recommendations involves a series of business decisions. An organization choosing to follow this recommended practice is able to decide to implement the entire set of recommendations or to selectively adopt only those recommendations it determines are appropriate for their unique needs and situation. Short and long-term retention of an organization’s legacy symbols and conventions are options to consider. Implementation may be partial or progress through multiple stages towards the full set of recommendations. In all situations, realizing this document’s maximum, long-term benefits for all companies, organizations, and people requires that the symbols, colors, and conventions recommended be widely taught and applied.


Translating assembly and service instructions into multiple human languages is a major cost and lengthy task in new product programs of global businesses. One approach to minimizing translation cost and time is based on the idea that a picture can replace a thousand words. Automotive manufacturers adopting this approach have traditionally developed their own proprietary systems of illustration-based manuals. Although this approach might save money in the short term, proprietary manuals require proprietary training materials and courses, which drive up longer-term costs versus a standard system. In addition, service technicians who change employers have to be re-trained to understand each company’s unique system of illustrated instructions. The overall result is an inefficient system prone to extra expense and occasional errors by technicians.

To help address these issues, in 2009 SAE’s Service Development Steering Committee authorized a Graphics-Based Service Information Taskforce to begin development of a standard that would clearly illustrate key assembly, adjustment, and disassembly tasks performed by automotive service technicians. Creating standard conventions and symbols allows consistent messages to be communicated 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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