Random icon no. 75 and where we’ve been.

So, here we are at no. 75 of the 300 Random icons design challenge. I know it doesn’t sound like much of a milestone, but it is for me. This makes me officially one-quarter of the way to the finish line. And, I’m happy to say that I’m pretty much on schedule to complete the challenge by the end of the year as promised.

If you’ve been following along for any amount of time, I’m sure you’ve seen some interesting trends showing up through the work. There have been some style experiments, shape experiments – some concepts were spot on and some were near misses. But, that’s all part of the process and I’m laying it all out there for you to see. Since we’re at a particular milestone, I thought I would give my readers (you know who you are) a brief update on how it’s going behind the scenes and what I’ve learned about myself and the process so far.

For my own records of this experience, I’ve decided to keep a binder of all the posted work and a file of the development work. Some versions I’ve designed didn’t make the cut, were more or less half-baked or I just couldn’t get them to work – so I didn’t post them. There are many.

Secondly, I’ve been keeping a log of each month and any interesting issues that have come up. For instance, I found that in January I was busting out concepts right and left with a surplus of 5-6 completed icons on deck and ready to post. I was feeling pretty good and thought that maybe this wouldn’t be that hard.

Well, let’s just say it hasn’t always been that easy. Many times, I’ve got one in the sketchbook and found some time during the day to put it together, only to post it very late in the day. Not so great for consistent blogging, right? Hey, I’m trying.

As far as two-word concepts, there are plenty in the surplus, and I’m always adding to it. My sketchbook is brimming with words, but not always visual ideas. On occasion, I go back and doodle something to work with it. This is a nice approach, with much less pressure, but doesn’t always get me the best idea out there – much like any commercial project, I guess.

A neat thing that has been fun is my kids are often asking what the icon of the day is and find great fun in ‘helping me out’ with ideas. I’m not ashamed to say that I’ve posted a few of theirs – hey, they were cool concepts. I get little Post-it notes in my office with their scribbles almost weekly.

Other things I’m finding out about myself on this project:

  • I’m sketching a lot more, which is good and nothing energizes like a new sketchbook.
  • Posting consistently helps me from overworking the idea and keeping it simple.
  • Being consistent with a style is a constant battle, as I have several. It’s not always good to mix and match.
  • I’m getting faster and more efficient.
  • Experimentation of new styles is fun and challenging.
  • There is considerable work in using good contrast with easy-to-read icons and branching out with new color palettes.
  • I’m not a big fan of working on Saturday mornings to post work.
  • Trying not to let my work suffer either commercially or with the icon project, due to scheduling conflicts – and I don’t want to have to work all the time to accommodate it.
  • My iPhone makes a pretty good, down and dirty scanner for sketches. Just email it to yourself.


There you go. Here’s to the next 75, right? Thanks for following along.


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