The theme for this icon project is learning about and exploring space. My main purpose is to help kids enjoy learning about space by making their studies fun and engaging. These designs were created to be very simple, clear, and child friendly so their message would be easily conveyed and understood. The four principles of design, which are contrast, repetition, alignment, and proximity, were also applied in order to achieve a visually pleasing result. These icons could be used in a variety of applications. For example, they could be used in apps for online learning games, in a science based children’s magazine, at a science center, or on a science based website for kids.
Project Specific Requirements
This icon project lists several very specific requirements. To begin with, all designs were required to be made using Adobe Illustrator. We were to create between 4-6 original icon designs, and each of these had to communicate a single message. They also had to be consistently designed, meaning that they look as though they belong to a unified set of icons. We were not allowed to use text, gradients, drop shadow, pixels, or raster effects. We were also required to post the images of our design in a very specific format. First, we were to include one 9in x 6in PNG image, which includes all of the icons. Then we were required to post two PNG images of each individual icon design. One of these needed to be 60 x 60 pixels, and the other needed to 400 x 400 pixels. (A copy of each space icon in each of these sizes is posted below.)
Target Audience Analysis
The theme of these icons is space and space exploration. They are meant to promote learning among grade school aged children, especially those who are interested in space. The style, color, and simplicity of these icons were specifically designed with this young audience in mind. For example, the use of primary colors is widely used in children’s media, as the colors are bright, bold, and easily recognizable by even very young children. Also, the use of a simple design communicates a clear message that children can easily identify. In addition to my primary audience, teachers and parents who are introducing young children to the exciting science of astronomy and space exploration may also be interested in using these icons. They may also appeal to those seeking to create child friendly learning tools within a variety of applications.
Major Design Decisions
Before beginning the actual design process, I chose a topic, an audience, and a purpose for my designs. My chosen topic is space and space exploration. I decided to include icons of the sun, moon, stars, and planets because they are some of the things people can readily see in space. I also included a telescope and a rocket ship as these are some of the ways people can explore space. I next determined who my audience would be. I feel this is an essential step to creating any design project, as your audience should inform all of your major design decisions. For this project, my main target audience is grade school aged children. As a result, I opted to use simple designs with a simple primary color scheme. It is also important to have a specific purpose in mind. In this case, my purpose is to create fun icons, which can help engage children in the study of Astronomy. With these design decisions clearly in place, I was ready to start my project.
In preparations for this project, I spent a couple of days looking at a variety of icons, stickers, and actual images of space. This helped me to glean many great ideas for my project and I also learned about the shapes needed to create these kinds of icons. I then spend several hours drawing out sketches to get a better idea of what I wanted to include in my project. I also added some color options to my sketches to get a feel for how they would look and work in my project. Once I had decided which of these I liked the best, I opened up Adobe Illustrator and went to work creating the details of my designs.
Principles of Design
Each of the four basic principles of design, were applied to my icon project. To begin with, I applied the principle of contrast using both color value and size. I made sure the color value was dark enough to contrast effectively with the white background. This is especially important when the icons are scaled down to 60 pixels. I used contrast in size as well to create a feeling of distance within the icons. For example, the stars near the moon are much smaller to indicate they are actually further away. Next, I utilized the principle of repetition by repeating design elements such as stars, circles, and the spaces between shapes. I also repeated my color scheme throughout the icon group. I used alignment primarily within each icon design. A good example is the use of alignment in the telescope. I made sure each section was aligned with the others at the center point and I made sure they were all aligned at the same 30° angle. Proximity was applied by using the same amount of space between shapes with in each icon, such as between the planet and ring around it. I worked to keep the spaces small enough to indicate a relationship between related items, yet far enough away that they would be visible at the 60 x 60 pixel size. Using the simple principles of design helped me to create uniformity within my designs and it helped me to design my images in a way that would convey their message or meaning effectively.
The color scheme I chose for this project consists of slight variations on the primary colors of red, blue, and yellow. I feel this color scheme will be appealing to my audience of children because it is very bright and fun. These simple colors are easily identifiable, even by very young children. They are also very eye-catching because they create an effective contrast. Primary colors also compliment each other very nicely. Consistently using this theme of primary colors, helped to create a unified look and feel throughout the project.
This was a fun project to work on, but it also demanded a great deal of attention to detail. By considering my audience and my overall purpose before beginning my project, I was able to focus my creative energies in an effective way. Also, using the principles of design and color provided the key to creating constancy with in the design. By considering audience, purpose, design principles, and color, I attempted to create icons which would be appealing to my audience and which would convey each icon’s individual meaning or message effectively. If I was able to meet this standard, I would consider my project a success.
Space Icons in 60×60 Pixels
Designed by Lisa Parker
Space Icons in 400 x 400 Pixels
Designed by Lisa Parker