Category Archives: Icon

Evaluation and Reflection

Evaluation and Reflection:

1) Visual Communication:

In what ways does the visual communication/message of the piece meet the needs of the brief?

The brief asked me to design seven apps which I have done. The point of the brief is to learn to reduce a concept down to a really simple design while still retaining meaning. I think each of my vector designs has accomplished this. I have explained in my previous posts the meaning behind each vector design and how each signifies its measuring device.

What are the strengths of the visual communication? Why?

I tried to give my app icon designs a make over, tried to brighten them up and make them appealing to the audience. I think the way I designed my vectors is clear and uncomplicated.

What are the weaknesses of the visual communication? Why?

I think some people may not instantly recognise the decibel meter as it was quite difficult to try to make the design look realistic. Some people may be confused by the pink background on the anemometer.

In what ways could the piece be mis-read or mis-understood by the audience? Be specific about who the audience is.

The audience is anyone who has an iPhone. Anyone who walks to improve their health could make use of a pedometer. Anyone who likes sailing could use the anemometer. Anyone listening to music could use a decibel meter. These examples tell me that the audience for this app could be worldwide.

In what practical ways could the piece be developed or improved?

The background colour could be changed to be all the same or a different colour scheme could be used altogether. Perhaps different shades of one colour could be used, ranging from light to dark. The decibel meter design could be tested on people to see if it is recognisable or not. I suppose if the app says decibel meter underneath it then hopefully that would help people to realise it’s a stereo sound display.

2) Reflection of own working practices:

Be very honest with yourself in this section. Please feel free to approach a member of staff for help finding ways to develop skills.

How was my time keeping?

My time keeping was not very good but I have worked hard and I hope that has made up for it. I really struggled to make the vectors which slowed me down.

How was my analysis of the brief?

I think my analysis of the brief was correct and it was helpful to analyse it. I made a list of bullet points to show I understood what I needed to do.

How was my research?

I looked at the brief to see what I should research. I used books and the internet. It was interesting to see the pictograms from the Olympics.

How did I draw conclusions from my research?

I saw how others had reduced ideas down to simple concepts. This helped me to imagine how I could do the same.

How did I use research to generate and develop ideas?

I looked at the icons I had found on the internet and used them for inspiration. I particularly liked the 3D icons.

How did I use evaluations to help with my ideas generation and development?

I asked for feedback from my tutor and my fellow students gave their opinions too. I made changes to my designs based on what they told me. An example of this would be that I changed the design of my decibel meter by making the blocks bigger and fewer so that when I zoomed out they could still be seen.

What parts of the project did I enjoy most? Why was this the case?

I enjoyed looking at the pictures of icons on the internet. Some of them were really amazing and I wondered how it was done. I can ask my tutor to teach me this kind of thing. I really like the 3D designs.

What parts of the project did I enjoy least? Why was this the case?

I didn’t enjoy making the vectors because I found it really difficult. I need to improve my skills with the pen tool.

What areas inspired me? Why was this the case? How could I follow these up?

I really liked the icons I found on the internet because I was impressed by how 3D they looked. Some were really shiny like a mirror. Some looked really realistic, as if they were actually a photograph and not a vector. I should ask my tutor for a lesson on how to make one of the more complicated icons I saw.

What areas were challenging or difficult?  Why was this the case?

I definitely found it difficult to make the vectors. I think my skills are somewhat behind the level of my fellow students in their area.

Do I need to develop certain skills? Do I need these now? Or later?

I would like to improve my skills with the pen tool. I should do this soon as I often need to make vectors.

Putting final design app icons on to an iPhone

The tutor showed us where to get this download. Someone has created all the parts of the iPhone in vector form which is really useful for me. This download tells me that the typeface I need to use is Helvetica Neue Bold. The only part I need from the download is the body of the phone.

Here is the screen I am using which was donated by a friend who owns an iPhone.

Here I am using guides to try to fit the icons on to the iPhone.

Here is how my first try at fitting them on the iPhone turned out. The bright colours contrast well against the dark background. The icons can be seen clearly.

Here I am adding the names of the apps using Helvetica Neue Bold.

I needed to put quite a lot of guides on the screen because it was difficult to get the icons and type to line up straight.

Here is the final design which will be printed. I’m really happy with it and I have had positive feedback from fellow students. I have had a lot of feedback from tutors and fellow students over the course of the project and I have remembered their reactions and made changes based of what people have suggested. I like to get feedback because it is really helpful. I wanted to bring some fun to measuring apps, give them a modern make over and liven then up a bit.

Vector design for the Altimeter and connotations

On the third row down here you can see a little sketch of a mountain. This was the idea I had for the altimeter.

I looked at some pictures of mountains on the internet and decided to use this one for inspiration:

Here I am using the pen tool to try to get the snow in the shape I want it.

Here is the final design.


Is your design clear and easy to understand?

I think it is clear to see the mountains in this design. Hopefully when people think of mountains they also think of the word altitude.

How might others view it? How could it be mis-read?

People might think it has something to do with hiking or they may think of the Alps.

Does it look appropriate or does it refer to other meanings?

I think it is appropriate because the design is really easy to understand and is closely related to the word altitude.

Vector design for Anemometer and connotations

I looked up anemometer on the internet and found out that they look like this. This isn’t the type of image I’m particularly familiar with so I decided not to follow this as an idea.

When I think of wind I think of wind socks so I decided to use this idea. Here are some pictures I looked at on the internet.

I used the pen tool to draw a very simple wind sock.


Is your design clear and easy to understand?

I am not sure if people would know this is a wind sock or not. The pink colour background probably doesn’t help as wind socks are usually seen with scenery behind them.

How might others view it? How could it be mis-read?

Others may think it is a flag. People may read in to the pink background as pink is sometimes seen as a ‘girly’ colour.

Does it look appropriate or does it refer to other meanings?

I think using a wind sock is appropriate as it is the first thing I think of when I think of measuring wind.

Vector design for Thermometer and connotations

I had an idea to show colours that represent cold and heat. I decided not to use this idea as it didn’t fit it with the rest of the set.

I decided to use the idea of a thermometer. I looked at a few pictures on-line like this one below.

Here is what I came up with using the pen tool.  There were eleven markers originally. I asked my class mates for some feedback. They said I needed to take away some fo the markers as less detail is easier to see when you zoom out.


Is your design clear and easy to understand?

I think it is easy enough to recognise a thermometer in the design. I put the thermometer on the red back ground to signify heat. At one point I had the thermometer on a green background and it looked totally wrong. It didn’t look like a thermometer any more. It just looked like an object.

How might others view it? How could it be mis-read?

Some people may not see a thermometer as the design is a lot shorter than they are. This design doesn’t show the outer casing of a normal thermometer so that may confuse people. Some people may see a key.

Does it look appropriate or does it refer to other meanings?

I think the design is appropriate because most people know what a thermometer looks like and know that it can be used to find out the temperature.

Vector design for the Barometer and connotations

I wanted to have a sun and a cloud with rain to represent the barometer. I looked at pictures on the internet such as this sun and the cloud below it.

I used the tool pen to make my own sun and cloud. I used the rotate tool to make the details around the sun.


Is your design clear and easy to understand?

I think it is easy to see a sun and a cloud in the design. I didn’t try to design something to represent air pressure as I think the sun and cloud are easier and quicker to understand.

How might others view it? How could it be mis-read?

They may view it as a weather forecast which technically it isn’t.

Does it look appropriate or does it refer to other meanings?

I think it is appropriate because ultimately a barometer measures air pressure which indicates what the weather will be.

Vector design for the Decibel Meter and connotations

I had the idea to do a stereo sound display to show the idea of sound.

Another idea I had would be to use a wavy line like these, to signify sound.

I decided to use the stereo display idea. This was my first attempt. I thought it would be best to make it look symmetrical but it doesn’t look as good as I thought it would. I found it hard to make the idea look realistic.

I decided to change it and make it unsymmetrical. I hope this makes it look a little more realistic. I don’t have a screen shot of it but I then went in to Photoshop and added the inner shadow so it matches the others.


Is your design clear and easy to understand?

I think this design is clear as the blocks are easy to see even when I zoom right out. I am not sure if people will understand that this is meant to represent a stereo sound display.

How might others view it? How could it be mis-read?

People may think they are looking at sugar cubes, building blocks or city tower blocks.

Does it look appropriate or does it refer to other meanings?

I think the idea is appropriate because most people should recognise sounds levels.

Vector designs for the Pedometer and connotations

I found this picture on the site below. I really like the way the foot looks round and well proportioned.

This shape isn’t as aesthetically pleasing because the feet look really wide and out of proportion.×208.jpg

I decided to use the first picture for inspiration as it had exactly the right shape I wanted. Here is a screen shot of me using the pen tool to make the right shapes.

This screen shot shows me putting a drop shadow and an inner shadow on to the vector. This vector needed more shadow than the others because it was really hard to see the foot against such a light yellow background.


Is your design clear and easy to understand?

I think most people will realise this image shows a foot print. The white against the yellow has proved to be a bit of a problem because the white shape gets lost.

How might others view it? How could it be mis-read?

I suppose people may think of hopping when they see it. They may think of walking on the beach.

Does it look appropriate or does it refer to other meanings?

I think it is appropriate and hopefully people would realise the foot represents walking.

Vector design for the Speedometer and connotations

I thought I would have a look on the internet to see what type of speedometer are already out there. This one is really simple and eye-catching.

The one is amazing because it looks so real. It looks like a photograph but it’s actually a vector.

Since my icon is going to be tiny I decided to design something really simple. In illustrator I used the pen tool and the rotate tool to make a really simple image.


Is your design clear and easy to understand?

I tried to make it really simple so that people would be able to see what it is by not including a lot of colour or detail.

How might others view it? How could it be mis-read?

It could be misread as a general dial and not a speedometer. Dials are used for many purposes which could be confusing.

Does it look appropriate or does it refer to other meanings?

I think it does look appropriate but it could refer to any type of dial.

New idea for backgrounds and the connotations

Again, I am not talking about vectors at all here. That will be dealt with in another post.

So after I decided to abandon the idea of using gradients I thought I’d see how my icons looked with just one colour. I really wanted pastel colours and it was quite hard to get that pastel look. It is not as easy as you would expect. I did a lot of searching on the internet to try to find the best way of creating pastel colours. This website helped a bit.

I showed the tutor and asked if they looked like a set and he said yes. I was very happy. I said I’d decided to simplify it down. There was too much going on before and it looked a bit overwhelming. The gradients are nice but I don’t think I must have them.

What are the connotations of the background  colours/styles?

How might others view them?

Others may think the colour scheme is ‘girly’. People may get the connotations that these colours are feminine because they are light and airy.

Are they clear?

I think that the colours I have chosen may help people to understand what the meanings of the vectors are, in some cases. The barometer is on a sky coloured background. The altimeter is on a grass coloured background. The thermometer is on a red coloured background which signifies heat.

How could they be mis-read? Do they look appropriate or do they refer to other meanings?

I think the anemeter being on a pink background could confuse people. When people think of an anemeter they would think of a sky coloured background. I would have put the anemeter on the blue background but I had already put the barometer on it and I didn’t want to change that. I could have put the barometer on the yellow background but I was worried that the small vector shapes would not show up on the yellow background.