Design

Secret Stories Behind Drawing Icons

Icon business is dead serious. There can’t be things like extra lines and every pixel matters. Yet, it can also be a lot of fun when people ask you to draw something. Their requests might be weird, possibly nasty or just plain illegal. Nonetheless, in this article let’s focus on fun requests.

You see, we only accept one request at a time. Like, “draw me a cow icon”, or “draw me a couch”. We stopped accepting multiple requests right after some guy, using just 4 words, asked us to draw 44 American presidents.

But things dramatically changed with mustaches. It started with a simple request: ”Could you draw a mustache icon”? Like, one icon, right? Rita, our designer, went looking for a good reference. Problem is, there were no bad references to mustaches. Well, almost…

So she made a momentous decision – to draw them all. Now we have 54 moustaches.

Draw me a rainbow

You get what these pluses mean, don’t you? Click them and you can ask for an icon in an additional style, that hadn’t been created yet. Good. You see the rainbow, and you see that we don’t have the rainbow in other styles. Why? Because other styles are monochrome and a monochrome rainbow is like a monochrome paint box. It’s just…

Some simple advice comes to mind: do not click the plus button near the rainbow. Guess what? Someone clicked. Someone evil. Someone, who wants this world to be colorless and lifeless. Someone, who maybe just misclicked (not dramatic enough, though). Well, you someone, enjoy your monochrome rainbow:

Reggae, ey?

I know, I’ve already mentioned that we don’t take on multiple requests at once. However, when we’re really short on a particular subject, we make some… exceptions. Like, with music.

Don’t get me wrong, we were very proud of our collection of music icons.

It had all the needed icons – note scales, instruments, Beyonce… And then one day we got this request:

The idea of drawing musical genres seems appealing, I’d say fulfilling. If not for only one thing… How do you draw reggae? How do you draw alternative? SKA?

Well, if you’re out of ideas, here’s one. Wake up super early in the morning, assemble your team of designers, and have them watch Youtube videos of the given music genre for an hour or two. Then ask them to draw icons for the rest of the day. Repeat the procedure 5 days a week until you’re out of genres… Or willing designers.

Within a few weeks, your design department will not only know what the difference between Alternative, Hardcore, and Underground is, but will also be able to point out that Cool and Dixieland are styles of Jazz and why Enka songs are so sad, but all its singers are smiling.

This is just a fraction of what we have to deal with while drawing icons on a daily basis. If you liked what you read let us know in the comment section and we’ll make sure to keep these stories coming. Yeah, I reckon drawing Adam Sandler was a good one…


About the author:
Andrew started at Icons8 as a usability specialist, conducting interviews and usability surveys. He desperately wanted to share his findings with our professional community and started writing insightful and funny (sometimes both) stories for our blog.

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