As a passion project, I wanted to design something from my childhood. I remember waking up early on the weekends not to watch cartoons, but to play Super Mario World. I would blow in the cartridge to make sure our Super Nintendo would read it correctly without glitching.
My objective: create an icon set of characters and objects from Mario that you could see in a video game, like choosing a character, but you could only see the heads. However, I wanted it to be a flat minimalistic design. Over the years, the design of Mario has evolved, and I found my set of Mario icons evolved drastically over the last two weeks.
Before opening Adobe Illustrator on my laptop, I sketched out 25 ideas for icons. I have found that my sketching abilities are that of a 5-year-old. I’ve also found that while sketching and brainstorming, I’m more effective if I eliminate distractions. For example, I put other devices to the side, turn off music, and dedicate a certain amount of time to it.
Originally I chose the pixel style, but thought it might be cool to have an old school next to a new school flat design. Little did I know how much this design would evolve over the course of two weeks. I thought I sketched and brainstormed, but it’s a cycle that I’ve learned to repeat over and over again.
I noticed my design was a replication of the original illustrations of Mario. That’s great, but I definitely wanted to put more of a twist to it.
I played around with a few ideas like a black stroke around the characters and perhaps changing the color, but it wasn’t quite enough. There was still too much going on. It wasn’t to the point of minimalism I wanted.
I eventually found myself heading in the direction I wanted. Previous designs had elements I incorporated in the new ones, but the pixel icons had to go along with the other icons. With a new set of circular icons I found myself finding the uniform minimalistic design I was going for.
I found that focusing on key features in each character allowed me to make these icons much more original. For example, for I exaggerated the mustaches and eliminated as many facial features as possible to keep the icons simple and original. I did realize some characters needed more facial features. Friends and family kept telling me some of the characters needed eyes, such as bowser and boo.
Above is the end result of the icon set. It took several stages of evolution for the icons to reach the point I wanted, but I believe the process allowed me to reach a level of minimalism for these Mario icons.
As a visual communication student at BYU-Idaho I use that passion in other mediums, besides photography, such as design,web design, and social media marketing