Twelve icons seems like a daunting task, but following a good design process makes it easier. My process starts with lists. I made a long list of all of the topics I thought I might want to design an icon set around. After getting all of my ideas out on paper, I narrowed it down to two that I liked: coding and holidays. To help me think through it, I started sketching different icons I could make with coding. After getting several ideas onto the paper, I decided to abandon the idea and move on to my other option.
My second idea was to create an icon for 12 different holidays. I again, started with a list of all the holidays I could think of. I reviewed my list and chose the twelve that I wanted to do. As I started sketching for the holidays, ideas came easier and I found that I was able to sketch out several ideas for each holiday in a short amount of time.
I started with six common holidays to kind of see what would come out of it. I made at least five sketches for each of the first six holidays and as I put my ideas on paper, I started to have a set of rules for my icons develop in my mind. I wanted each of the icons to fit snugly into a circle of a given size. I wanted inanimate objects, the colors would be muted or less saturated. The detail would be minimal. Because these rules were developing in my mind, I would draw things that would follow those rules. As I reviewed my sketches, I discarded some of the ideas because they broke the rules I had established.
I had my first six and started putting them in the computer. I developed a couple more rules along the way. I wanted to repeat each color at least once and also as many other things as I could. I put my icons in front of people and got some feedback. I went back and forth with my St. Patrick’s Day icon, which was originally a crock of gold, but after talking to people, I decided to keep the shamrock because it was easier for people to connect with St. Patrick’s Day.
Some of the feedback I received was that my pumpkin stem was too narrow at the bottom, the greens were too close to being the same hue. The heart seemed a little off and the hands on the clock being overlapped was too cluttered and bland. So I went back to the computer and fixed the issues with the first six icons. I also returned to my sketching to find ideas for the remaining six icons.
I followed the same process as before and came up with at least five different ideas for each of the remaining holidays. I selected the ideas that best fit the rules that had already been established with my first icons. I found that the last six ideas took shape in the computer faster than the first six because I already knew the rules and how to implement them.
I am pretty excited about how the icons turned out. I ended up moving the minute hand on the clock to 11:59 to allow it to be seen more and to bring variety into the icon. I lightened my light green and unsaturated the blue I had and added a light blue for more variety. I was playing with the idea of having a half sun, half snowflake for Groundhog Day, but decided that that idea broke too many rules. I reshaped my heart and changed the pumpkin stem to look more realistic. After all of the sketches, versions and recreating, the final product is a set of icons representing 12 holidays. The icons have a cohesive feel because of their size, shape, coloring and amount of detail or rather lack of detail.