So here’s the thing…

You know that saying, “Keep it simple, Stupid”? Throughout my whole college career, I’ve always believed in that phrase–don’t worry, I still do, and here’s why. Firstly, I want to prove my belief by reverse engineering Andrew McKay’s icon set. The icons theme is, “Service Desk – Welcome Icons.” Let’s first start talking about the color scheme.


1) Color Scheme

When it comes to office supply icons, I rarely like when the artist chooses ‘blue’ as the main color in the scheme, but I’d have to say, that I actually really like these icons because 1) The blue isn’t so generic–it involves a rusty shade of blue along with a rich mustard yellow 2) Instead of using a black stroke on these (which should never be done for this set–good job, designer), he chose a dark blue. Super nice touch. The designer stays within a color scheme that allows each color to complement its purpose.

2) Shadow

Shadowing can be super attractive on icons when used in some of the most distinct ways. Each icon has one shadow that supports a single angle in each individual icon. Sometimes shadows can be a bit redundant and “expected” when it comes to flat graphics, but what I enjoy about this artist is that he chose to mimic the object in which the shadow was created for.

3) Stroke

You’ll notice that in this icon set, the artist chose to keep the stroke consistent. Not only is the outline stroke the same across all of the icons, but the stroke incorporated throughout the details of each object also contains the same weighted stroke. It’s neat to see how when an artist can present consistency in their work, they start to develop a personal style. In Brother Kerr’s Illo Talk, him and his guest, Kyle Adams talked about “being bored within a project.” Could you imagine? What if Andrew McKay too had no idea how to progress in the consistency of this project? Being bored within a project allows you to clear your mind from external distractions and allows you to look within yourself for that pure inspiration your mind is already aware of.

4) Grey Circle

Hopefully, you recognized that one of the most noticeable consistencies in this icon set is the background, grey circle. I think that this was a pretty wise choice, especially since each icon involves a rounded edge in one form or another. Something I wanted to mention comes from Brother Kerr’s Illo talk with Kyle Adams. These icons are a great representation of familiarity and since that is very true when it comes to unique versus established icons, how do you create something that’s already been created, yet make it stand out above the rest? This artist chose to use unique heights rather than generic widths. You can notice that in the quote bubble. Usually, when people create this “Apple-like” quote bubble, the width seems to be much wider than its height. But this artist does the exact opposite–which helps establish a “new style” without fully pulling away from its original creator.

Additional Thoughts


Rachel Kanahele

In the past 5 years, my path has allowed me to create aesthetic permanence through visual identities for various, thriving businesses and organizations. Key to its success? Experience. I blame my wide-eyed creativity on my upbringing and meticulous creative processes on my expectations.

I'm Rachel. I am a senior studying communication with an emphasis in advertising at Brigham Young University-Idaho. I was born and raised in Southern California, which has naturally shaped my motivation in learning and creating non-generic, creative solutions.

Aside from work and education, I enjoy writing music and performing for large audiences, in which I'm also working on an album that is soon to be released--the excitement is quite real. Orange, Gerber daisies are my favorite, and orange, Thai curry is my palate's weakness. But that's enough about me, let's talk about you!

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