Friday, January 27, 2012


i·co·nog·ra·phy [ahy-kuh-nog-ruh-fee]

Icons are becoming a standard repertoire of  modern designers, most commonly used in logos, instructional signs, and phone apps. We are surrounded by icons: restrooms, road signs, and other everyday graphics. With these simplistic images they can inform us about rules, products, dangers, and point us in the right direction. We would be pretty loss without using images to point the way.
Humans have been developing icons since man began drawing in caves. They painted images of horses and other animals to represent the everyday life in 33,000 BCE. In the not-so-distant past magazines and advertisements required that each "job" was separate: art director, photographer, typography, illustrator, and ect...These days with the use of computers designers can really do it all, but big corporations are able to pull in experts in each field to develop design excellence (because it is hard to be the best at everything).

College instructors are encouraging visual communication students to develop icons as a part of dynamic systems to help make brochures, annual reports, magazines, and other texts easier to navigate and utilize. If this begins at university then we can bring these skills to the workforce and use it for real use that truly serves a purpose. My first project as a visual communications major I had to develop over 400 bird symbols for the first lecture, and continued to develop more symbols over the coming weeks. This was boot camp for developing various iconography using various mediums.

Symbols are used in small sizes, and tend to be simplistic with high contrast. Simple is beneficial (especially when the symbol is small), but it should contain enough details that it does not need an explanation in order to use the symbol. Icons should hit our basic cognitive understanding, based on its representation.

I encourage you to make an icon this week that represents something in our daily life, and post a link below.

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