For my Visual Media class, I got to create my very own icons using Adobe Illustrator. I chose to design writing utensils for this project because I figured they would be pretty easy to keep consistent and I felt they were objects I could create using the skills I had already learned. I was supposed to save the image above as a 9in x 6in image but that left a ton of white space so I took it upon myself to save it as a 6in x 6in image. I felt this helped with the proximity.
My target audience for these images could be a lot of different groups, but in my mind, these icons could be used in an app that lets you draw with different strokes (pencil strokes, marker strokes, etc.) That audience would probably be elementary school children learning how to use these writing utensils. They could use a device stylus to apply the right amount of pressure to the screen just as they would to the real thing.
Beginning My Design
I began my design by looking at the actual body of the writing utensil. Each one could be replicated by using a rounded rectangle. The crayon and pencil heads could be created using triangles. The highlighter was the trickiest because I had to use two different shapes for the top. I used an ellipse for the tip and an elongated, rounded triangle for the cap. I also knew I needed to figure out how to create the clip on the side of the sharpie to make it look like a specific kind of marker.
In order to keep repetition and proximity, I kept any identifying details to the left of the icon such as the light glares and the pencil corners. I used color to make the sharpie look realistic because the design itself was really just a two-toned rectangle. With the crayon, I originally used a lot of black for the ellipse as well as the paper lines. I also didn’t know exactly what color to use for the outline of the highlighter so I used a darker gold. I also stayed consistent with the width and hight of the tools.
Some of the feedback on my original designs was very helpful. As a class, we had the opportunity to post our designs for critique. Some of my critiques encouraged me to make my lines exactly the same width and be more creative with color. This led me to thicken the lines on my pencil and make the detail color on my crayon a dark blue instead of black. I was also encouraged to try a different outline color on my highlighter to make it contrast more with it’s white background. In order to do this, I changed the stroke to a dark orange instead of gold. That way it still kept with the theme but made the design more noticeable.
I learned a lot from this project. When I completed the first draft of the assignment I was already pretty pleased with the outcome. But with the help of my professor and my classmates, I was able to be more consistent and make my icons that much better. I learned to be pretty proficient in Adobe Illustrator and what to look for in future designs.