Although we’ve been focused on icon design tutorials for designers in recent months, there are other aspects of this business that we want to cover from time to time. For example, how do we want our clients to communicate with us when commissioning icons? What are the best design principles that we need to take into account in our work? After all, we are working with clients and for clients who would often give useful feedback and comment on our designs – which we then have to take into account for future work. So covering some of these other angles on this blog would be useful for everyone.
For this week’s blog we revisit a subject we’ve covered before: how to use the common interrogatives or questions-asking words we use in everyday language to come up with a great design brief. Hopefully, this is a topic of interest to icon designers as well as our non-techie clients. So here we go:
WHAT: Asking a series of “what” questions can help to establish and clarify exactly what are you aiming to achieve. What is the product or context within which the icons are to be used? What kind of image would the icons project – formal, playful, humorous, or what? What kind of brand image are the icons expected to project? Once this clarity is achieved, it becomes easier to settle on examples that can be provided to support a design brief.
WHY: Asking why you want the icons designed for your company or product leads to greater focus and clarity about what you want to achieve. It also helps to dig deeper into the particular effects you want the icons to achieve. If the icons are part of a brand, you will want to maintain harmony and consistency in the visuals for the company or product.
WHERE: Exactly where are the icons to be used? Where will they serve best in terms of functionality or aesthetics? Also to be considered is where you will be marketing the finished product: is there a lot of competition? With aps multiplying by the hundreds everyday, you may want to take into account what similar aps and products are offering. Do you want to go in the same direction or will something counter-intutive to current market trends be a better solution?
WHEN: Exactly when is the product or application coming on stream and therefore what icon package will be most suitable? What trends in the market do you have to take into account, given when your icons will hit the road?
HOW: Exactly how does your client want the completed icons to be finished and delivered? Are they launching a new product or repackaging an already existing product? How do they intend to liaise with you for further upgrades, if this is required? Also, how do you bridge any gap between an existing set of designs and a new set without alienating current users of a product? How questions lead to neat solutions for both technical and practical issues.
Whether you are an icon designer or the icons commissioner, we hope that using these interrogatives will help with your work. They can help to bring together clarity, technical expertise and creative vision to produce winning results.