Ben is a lifelong Nintendo fan who likes to build websites, and make video games. He buys way too much Lego.
Last week I released a new icon set over on Pro Theme Design. When I first started on the set I had two objectives. 1 – to spend some time learning how to make icons properly, and 2 – to make a set that I could reuse in future projects.
As time went on the set evolved and Circular was the result.
What went right
The overall outcome was quite nice. I made a complete set of over 100 icons, including a few that I use on Pro Theme Design itself.
- When I started the icons I wanted them to have a consistent look and feel, so I created a small palette of swatches that I sampled colours from.
- I learnt a lot about icon design. Ok, not an interesting point, but still worth pointing out. The way I learn is by researching, then doing. Reading about things is fine but if you don’t put them into practice you (I) will never improve.
- Fireworks worked great for developing the icons (apart from a couple of points mentioned below). I was able to make use of the symbols to reuse common elements, and then tweak them when required. I was also able to make use of Fireworks scripting abilities to automate some of the tasks.
What went wrong!
- The circles. Trying to keep things consistent I decided to put circular backgrounds behind the icons. The idea being that the colour denotes the icons properties (green = good, red = bad, yellow = service etc). Unfortunately the colour scheme got lost, and the circles meant the rest of the icon had to be a lot smaller.
- Not using symbols. I used Fireworks for the design and think it worked out very well, however Fireworks has a symbols system which means I could have created reusable elements (the circle backgrounds for example) and using these would have made updating the icons a lot easier. As an aside, Fireworks also became rather slow whilst developing the set. This may be because I had 100+ icons in a single Fireworks png. However the next time I try something like this I will be giving Inkscape a go.
- Publicity – this is something I really suck at. If anyone wants to give me any hints and tips then please let me know! 🙂 One thing I did manage was getting onto Smashing Magazine, but otherwise it was pretty lightweight.
I don’t think I really achieved either of my two objectives. Yes; I now know more about icon design, but I’m a long way from competent. Reusing the icons is something I will likely do, but I am not entirely happy with them, so will be making at least one more set in the future.