Today, fellow designer and illustrator, @Vonster (Von Glitschka) released his latest Lynda.com/LinkedIn Learning course on Iconography. I was honored to have some of my work included in the Designer section of the course showcasing some of my icon work, along with some other very talented folks such as Paul Howalt, Brian Brasher, Felix Sockwell, and Gedeon Maheux. Give it a look. Some great information there.
Well, we’re firmly planted in 2013, and the 300 Random icons design challenge has been completed inside my self-imposed deadline. Woohoo! So, what’s next you say? Are you going to do some other 300 Random challenges, maybe a poster or a book? What? What? Did Oprah call? Well, no. No Oprah.
The truth is, I’m not sure yet. To be honest, I’m still reeling from the fact that I don’t have to stay up late every night cranking out new icons for the blog – which is nice. And, my brain’s enjoying the recovery at the moment.
After chatting with some of my friends over the holiday about next steps with the blog, I’ve decided to do a little post-game analysis of the work. You know, really look at the stuff and see what shakes out. Just from a cursory glance I can think of a handful of blog posts that might cover anything from reader favorites to stylization to background shapes. Could be interesting?
So, check it out and put in your two cents. I’d like to hear it.
This project was something that doesn't come around very often. If you're lucky, it's once in a lifetime. My wife's parents recently celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary – a truly amazing feat anyway you look at it. Two people have been able to share a wonderful life together, through thick and thin for half a century. That's pretty awesome. So, what in the world do you give them as a gift? Well, if you're like me, there's always someone in the family that will quickly throw your name in the hat to help out. That someone was my wife. Go figure.
To be honest, I have a great relationship with my in-laws and have shared a long history with their family. A lot of the adventures and experiences that the family has shared have been told to or experienced first-hand by me. When the concept of a tree-of-life was mentioned, I gave it a lot of thought. What better way to convey the many adventures they've shared together over 50 years, several states, three kids and a smattering of grandchildren? It made perfect sense and I was honored.
Now, I know this isn't the first tree-of-life illustration to grace the planet, but it would be my own personal rendition of the idea. I would take the many details and experiences from the family and try to depict them in icons, collected together into one, robust and sturdy tree. Since it would probably get pretty busy with all the different colors of everything, I tried to limit it to just two shades of blue. And, to make the tree even more special, I would draw the lower boughs into the shape of the number '50'. See if you can make that out in the last photo.
Some thumbnail sketches from the sketchbook.
And, some details from the finished illustration.
Needless to say, they were very touched with the result. Big smiles on their faces, and even some tears – that's always nice to see. The best part is watching them pore through the different icons and interpreting the significance of each symbol and discovering details they hadn't noticed before.
It was certainly a great way of giving back to people who've made your life that much more complete – in their own way.
So here we go. It's now 2012 and the start of another new year. What better way to begin this next 12 months than a personal design challenge and goal to create some new work and perhaps grow a bit creatively? I can't think of any. Perhaps I'm a bit cloudy still from the holidays. To be honest, I've been rather impressed and a bit envious of some of the work that my fellow designers and illustrators have put forth in the last couple of years. Some really cool stuff has come out of their personal projects, and I'm feeling like I need something that will force me to work a little harder and expand my horizons. And, who knows, I may develop some new styles, techniques and workflows in the process. You know – learn stuff.
By posting it on my Illustrative Designer blog, I'll hopefully be held more accountable for keeping it going and it should be a nice way to see how the project progresses.
I'm not saying all the work will be stellar and some of it may even suck, but it will be all part of the journey and hopefully will help make me a better creative person.
So, what exactly are you going to be doing?
Icons. Essentially, icons that will be communicating a concept with a very simple and clean visual solution. These won't be icons that you will use for your average website for things like 'print' or 'payment'. I am focusing on taking two keyword phrases (Ex. orange juice) that are all familiar to us and creating an icon that communicates that idea. They might be one-color or many, simple or illustrative in whatever style I may see fit.
They are not meant to work together as a set, but just an exercise in making the visual communicate clearly. As mentioned in the title, they will be random concepts and really could be anything. Some may be basic and some may have a little humor, I just don't know yet. That's the cool part of trying something like this.
Can some of these icons work as logo designs? Sure. And some of my icon design could even be considered illustration, depending on the work style.
Why 300 of them?
I picked 300 to try and design and post them often. That way, it would force me to keep with it, but not have to post every single day. I do enjoy my family and weekends.
When are you starting?
I'm starting January 1st, 2012 and continuing until I hit 300 icon designs, whenever that happens, but during the 2012 calendar year.
There you go. Feel free to follow along on the new 300 Random Icons blog.