One of the most important human developments is our capacity to understand signs. A few individual animals use a small inventory of symbol-like units using hand signs or small physical tokens, but there is still a huge divide between humans and nonhuman animals in respect to the use of signs and symbols. The philosopher Charles Peirce divided the signs we use into three basic categories, the icon, the symbol and the index.
In an interesting progression of events, Tibor Kalman was born in Budapest in 1949, and migrated to Poughkeepsie, New York where he became a U.S. resident. He studied journalism at New York University but dropped out after one year. Working at a book store that eventually became Barnes and Noble, he was made supervisor of the design department.