How to Draw the Biohazard Sign
The biohazard sign warns people to beware of dangerous material that can pose a threat to public safety. In 1966, scientist Charles L. Baldwin realized that it was necessary to come up with a universal symbol that everyone would immediately recognize as a warning sign in the science, health and biology fields. Baldwin worked with the packaging design team at his chemical company and came up with a sign that is now regularly seen in laboratories, clinics and hospitals across the country. Drawing the symbol is made relatively easy by its simplistic design of interlocking circles.
Draw a small circle with a compass. If you are drawing the symbol on an 8.5-inch-by-11-inch sheet of paper, set the radius of the circle on your compass to about 3/8 of an inch.
Place the metal tip of the compass on the small hole imprinted into the paper from Step 1 and draw two circles using that same center point. The first circle should have a radius of approximately 1 1/4 inches. The second circle should have a radius of approximately 1 5/8 inches.
Use a ruler to draw two short lines (about 1/8 of an inch long) at the top of the small center circle. Then, draw two more short lines of the same length coming out from the lower right and lower left sides of the same circle at about a 35- to 40-degree angle.
Use a compass to draw three circles with a radius of approximately 1 5/8 inches. For each circle, place the metal tip of the compass about 1/2 inch from the edge of the outside circle in a straight line from the three sets of short lines drawn in Step 3. When these three circles are drawn, they should just grace the edges of the short lines.
Draw arches on the circle band with about 1/8-inch gaps from the inner sides of the three circles just drawn, and fill the bands in. There should now be three separate bands of black around the small inner circle.
Draw three curved "V" shapes using the outsides of the three circles as a guide. The middle of the V lines should be about 5/8 inches out from the middle of the outsides of each of the three white bands in the partially darkened band circle. The curved "V" lines should start from this point and follow the curves of the three circles, beginning with a wide margin and narrowing to a very fine margin at the tips of the circles. Leave approximately 1/4 inch of white space at the tips of the circles. The white spaces should correspond with the angles of the short lines drawn in Step 3.
Color in the three new curved "V" shapes, leaving the whites between the short lines in tact. Erase the extra pencil lines that are leftover from the earlier circles.
If you need to make the biohazard sign bigger, it may be easier to use these measurements to draw it on an 8.5-inch by 11-inch sheet of paper and then enlarge the finished symbol on a copier machine or with a computer and scanner.
Leonor Crossley has been a graphic designer and writer since 1995, with entertainment and other articles written for "Max Magazine" in Jacksonville, NC, and various websites. She has a Bachelor of Fine Arts, cum laude, from Kutztown University in Pennsylvania.