This course builds on Graphic Design I and II. It serves as an introduction to icon, package, and campaign design. It focuses on design phases from concepts, the final stages, working with clients, to working as a agency.
Students will learn how a design moves from pitch deck, to design approval, to mechanical art creation and through hands-on exploration of the brand design development from a design agency strategy.
Did you ever think about how an icon of a heart can mean more than one thing? How it can be a literal stand-in for the anatomical organ in our chests, but can also be used as an analogue for what that organ represents? As Huey Lewis so aptly put it, “that’s the power of love.” Or, the power of an effective icon. Whatever.
From health apps to wayfinding signage, icons help us navigate the world. Icons guide us, warn us, and inform us. They track our pulse, they point the way to the train station, and heck, they even let us know how to change a hawk into a little white dove…
So, now that we know what an icon is, and have a basic understanding of how to use them, now’s the time to put our thinking caps on and apply some basic icon building strategery.
First, we’ll start with simplicity. As we mentioned in our Intro to Icons, an icon is a simplified illustration. But just how simple does it need to be?
Well, answering this question is not always simple.
Icons balance the conceptual with the actual; they must communicate while remaining clear and concise. Using only simple shapes and lines, an icon of a house must capture and represent the essence of every house.
While iconography is ubiquitous, it’s not always “universal”. Meaning can vary wildly from culture to culture, or even from industry to industry, so you’ll have to think through how to choose the right visual metaphor.
When you decide to use an icon, you need to consider who interacts with it and where. Are you communicating to a kindergartner or a nuclear physicist? Are they sitting in a greasy spoon diner perusing a menu, or at the airport frantically looking for a bathroom? Are they checking their email inbox, or is their vintage Macintosh about to explode? (No need to duck for fear of computer shrapnel just yet, friend. All will be made clear soon enough…)
It’s a simple network of horizontal and perpendicular lines that provide literal guidelines for drawing icons. Icon grids define an icon’s size and dimensions while providing key shapes and secondary constraints to ensure consistency.
Icons can be segmented into plenty of different styles and style variations.
In the beginning, you have to stay away from constraints, time, clients, and deadlines as much as you can, so they don’t stop you from exploring and discovering the true beauty of icon design. Your first icon set should reflect something you're passionate about. Otherwise, how are you going to enjoy the whole process of creating it?