Feedback on a series of icons appreciated


FridaB

New Member
Hi guys,

I need some feedback to complete an assessment for my graphic design training, please.

Here is a brief: create a series of five custom illustrated icons on the subject of my choice - I chose needlework (I like embroidery, but made the subject a bit more general).
The icons should relate to each other in meaning; each of icons should be a dynamic, self-contained mark. The icons must systematically relate to each other, must work in black and white.

I need a feedback in the form of answers to 6 questions below:

  1. Do you think the graphic visually communicates the student’s objective?
  2. Is the icon system’s concept legible and able to stand on its own as a self-contained system?
  3. In your opinion has the student used design elements and principles successfully to unify the system?
  4. Do you think the designer has successfully communicated his/her overall goal or objective?
  5. What suggestions would you offer the student to improve their work?
  6. Did you find the student’s work relevant in todays market place and up to industry standard?

Any additional critique is welcome.

6745
 

AysheaS

Member
Those sounds like questions your tutor should answer? Did they specify ask you to ask others for feedback?

BTW I got what the second and third symbol are, are people who aren't familiar with needlework mean't to be able to recognise what they represent or just those familiar with needlework? The last one looks maybe like a spool of lace, the fourth one some sort of carry case, maybe sewing box? I occasionally sew but by no means am I an sort of expert or enthusiast so that maybe why I not sure what they are.

The feedback I would give is that you could make them more simple and still tell what they are - certainly for the thimble and sewing machine. I think you could get away with removing the lines from the machine, something like this:6746

Done quickly in photoshop so not perfect but you get the idea - get rid of anything you don't need. Especially important if the marks are intended to be used at smaller sizes.
 

FridaB

New Member
@AysheaS thanks a lot for your feedback, much appreciated!!

Yes, my tutor has already answered those questions)) now it's another, outside of school designer's turn to answer them ) I'd say, these questions are there to make the critique process easier.

Anyway, I see your point and understand what you mean - totally makes sense. I think I can see what refinement I can do and still keep up with the brief.
By the way, the icons are meant to be recognized by those who are not familiar with the needlework, and you got them all right.
 

FridaB

New Member
Those sounds like questions your tutor should answer? Did they specify ask you to ask others for feedback?

BTW I got what the second and third symbol are, are people who aren't familiar with needlework mean't to be able to recognise what they represent or just those familiar with needlework? The last one looks maybe like a spool of lace, the fourth one some sort of carry case, maybe sewing box? I occasionally sew but by no means am I an sort of expert or enthusiast so that maybe why I not sure what they are.

The feedback I would give is that you could make them more simple and still tell what they are - certainly for the thimble and sewing machine. I think you could get away with removing the lines from the machine, something like this:View attachment 6746

Done quickly in photoshop so not perfect but you get the idea - get rid of anything you don't need. Especially important if the marks are intended to be used at smaller sizes.

@AysheaS Would you mind to answer the questions? it'll be really helpful )
 

Paul Murray

Moderator
Staff member
Overall they need simplifying. Icons are intended to be used at very small scales, often down to about 12 pixels. There's too much detail, you need to hint at detail rather than actually including it. I'd recommend you do thumbnail sketches of them in pencil. Draw squares about 1cm wide and sketch you icons in there. How small can you get the shapes whilst still maintaining legibility? Try variations too, just use outlines, or a single line to draw the entire shape. Restruct yourself severely to force yourself to think simpler. And above all, stick to a grid.

To answer the points:

  1. Do you think the graphic visually communicates the student’s objective?
  2. Is the icon system’s concept legible and able to stand on its own as a self-contained system?
  3. In your opinion has the student used design elements and principles successfully to unify the system?
  4. Do you think the designer has successfully communicated his/her overall goal or objective?
  5. What suggestions would you offer the student to improve their work?
  6. Did you find the student’s work relevant in todays market place and up to industry standard?
  1. Yes, though I'm not sure what the first icon represents. The final one also looks like a roll of film at first glance.
  2. Yes, but could be clearer and follower a cleaner, more unique style. Some of the icons look like vectorisations of images rather than abstractions.
  3. Yes, they look like they're part of the same series and share a style.
  4. Not quite, I think they can be simplified and improved.
  5. Simplify! See my suggestion above. Look at other icon sets and note how they share common elements such as line widths and spacing to unify them.
  6. No, without further simplication and abstraction that enables them to be deisgned to a pixel grid, they are not usable as icons in the majority of usage cases.
 

FridaB

New Member
Thank you @Paul Murray for such a detailed answer, much appreciated!! Very insightful analysis, a lot to learn for me )
I'll crack on with the refinement now, cheers)
 

fisicx

Active Member
Workmate, upsidedown waste bin, sewing machine, toolbox, roll of film

Icons in isolation are meaningless. It's how you use them that counts.

What are these icons for? A website, brochures, sewing instructions, labelling or something else?
 

AysheaS

Member
Overall they need simplifying. Icons are intended to be used at very small scales, often down to about 12 pixels. There's too much detail, you need to hint at detail rather than actually including it. I'd recommend you do thumbnail sketches of them in pencil. Draw squares about 1cm wide and sketch you icons in there. How small can you get the shapes whilst still maintaining legibility? Try variations too, just use outlines, or a single line to draw the entire shape. Restruct yourself severely to force yourself to think simpler. And above all, stick to a grid.

To answer the points:


  1. Yes, though I'm not sure what the first icon represents. The final one also looks like a roll of film at first glance.
  2. Yes, but could be clearer and follower a cleaner, more unique style. Some of the icons look like vectorisations of images rather than abstractions.
  3. Yes, they look like they're part of the same series and share a style.
  4. Not quite, I think they can be simplified and improved.
  5. Simplify! See my suggestion above. Look at other icon sets and note how they share common elements such as line widths and spacing to unify them.
  6. No, without further simplication and abstraction that enables them to be deisgned to a pixel grid, they are not usable as icons in the majority of usage cases.
I agree with Paul points.

  1. I have no idea what number one represents and I agree the final one looks like a roll of film but I guessed lace because of the relation to needlework. It I saw it without knowing that I wouldn't have guessed what it was.
  2. I agree that they look like vectorisations. Tying to pair them down to only what you need to represent the subject. Keep them as simple as possible. You might be surprised by how much you can remove, if needed try removing parts at a time then maybe adding back if you can no longer tell what it is.
  3. They do share the same style.
  4. Agree they need to be simplified. But as a starting point they are OK, but need refinement.
  5. See above - see how much you can remove before it stops looking like what it is supposed to.
  6. They look too fussy because of the detail, this makes them look old fashioned. Simple icons will look modern and work better at smaller sizes.

When you say icons do mean icons as what Paul referred to? I assumed you meant icons as into represent something like a symbol rather than an icon in the digital sense. If digital then follow Paul's advice. They are way too detailed for digital use, imagine them on a smartphone for example.
 

FridaB

New Member
Workmate, upsidedown waste bin, sewing machine, toolbox, roll of film

Icons in isolation are meaningless. It's how you use them that counts.

What are these icons for? A website, brochures, sewing instructions, labelling or something else?
I wouldn't quite agree with you that they are meaningless in isolation. You did name what they represent, didn't you - that's the point.
It's that all of them togerther are supposed to represent a specific subject matter, but if you're not familiar with it, you wouldn't get the idea. I guess, it's a wrong choise of objects.

Brief doesn't specify their usage, which makes me think that ideally they should be suitable to use anywhere.
 

FridaB

New Member
I agree with Paul points.

  1. I have no idea what number one represents and I agree the final one looks like a roll of film but I guessed lace because of the relation to needlework. It I saw it without knowing that I wouldn't have guessed what it was.
  2. I agree that they look like vectorisations. Tying to pair them down to only what you need to represent the subject. Keep them as simple as possible. You might be surprised by how much you can remove, if needed try removing parts at a time then maybe adding back if you can no longer tell what it is.
  3. They do share the same style.
  4. Agree they need to be simplified. But as a starting point they are OK, but need refinement.
  5. See above - see how much you can remove before it stops looking like what it is supposed to.
  6. They look too fussy because of the detail, this makes them look old fashioned. Simple icons will look modern and work better at smaller sizes.
When you say icons do mean icons as what Paul referred to? I assumed you meant icons as into represent something like a symbol rather than an icon in the digital sense. If digital then follow Paul's advice. They are way too detailed for digital use, imagine them on a smartphone for example.
Thanks for coming back with the answers @AysheaS

I wouldn't say that they are for digital use specifically, I'd say they are of a general use. But they definitely should be legible when scaled down.
And yes, I've already encountered this: simplification works to certain extent only, need to keep some detailes/ texture to make objects recognizable.
 

ZombieDyer

New Member
I think embracing a more simplistic form and taking only the key features of each will help. I wouldn't recognise them anyway, apart from the thimble. Hope that helps a bit. :)
 
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