Principles of Icon Design: Concept

Originally written on

Second in a series on designing symbols. Hopefully it’s good. 😀

Concepts. All great pieces of design are rooted in concepts. But what are they and why are they important?

A concept helps the viewer understand why a design exists. They are the starting point for a “visual dialogue” between the viewer and the design itself. I tend to break concepts down into 2 things, themes and ideas.

A theme frames the solution in the proper space.

An idea frames the execution of the solution.

For example, if I design a logo for a non-profit, a theme might be “building community” and the idea might be about “families coming together to help one another”.

Concepts should be stated clearly. The less clear your concept, the harder it becomes to design a clear symbol. Abstract themes are ok (like “building community”) as long as your idea is clear.

Lastly, generic ideas lead to generic results. It is your job as a designer to find unique ideas in what are likely very common themes and execute well on them.

Simple, huh?

Principles of Icon Design: Concept

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