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PlayStation designer explains all

Reveals thinking behind the buttons.

PlayStation hardware designer Teiyu Goto has revealed some of the thinking which went into the concept for the original console.

Speaking to Famitsu magazine (as translated by 1UP), he explained it took a bit of work to convince Sony management that putting grips on the controller was a good idea. Once that was done, he had to work out what symbols to put on the buttons.

"Other game companies at the time assigned alphabet letters or colors to the buttons," said Goto.

"We wanted something simple to remember, which is why we went with icons or symbols, and I came up with the triangle-circle-X-square combination immediately afterward. I gave each symbol a meaning and a color.

"The triangle refers to viewpoint; I had it represent one's head or direction and made it green. Square refers to a piece of paper; I had it represent menus or documents and made it pink. The circle and X represent 'yes' or 'no' decision-making and I made them red and blue respectively."

Once again, the suits tried to stand in Goto's way: "People thought those colors were mixed up, and I had to reinforce to management that that's what I wanted."

But, of course, Goto won the day. "Getting to use such simple symbols in a design is an extremely rare opportunity, and it was really a stroke of luck to me," he said.

"When you think of the Madonna in painting, most people come up with the same image of the same woman in their minds. In a similar way, the combination of those simple symbols has come to represent both the PlayStation and the fun of videogames, and being able to communicate that is a great thing."

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About the Author
Ellie Gibson avatar

Ellie Gibson


Ellie spent nearly a decade working at Eurogamer, specialising in hard-hitting executive interviews and nob jokes. These days she does a comedy show and podcast. She pops back now and again to write the odd article and steal our biscuits.

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