I recently read a fascinating book called Daily Rituals: How Artists Work by Mason Curry. The book focusses on the habits and rituals of celebrated creative individuals. It got me thinking about my own life and the habits I do and don’t keep. This was how my Daily Icon design project started.
What struck me whilst reading the book was the discipline – albeit often eccentric – of the subjects of the book. Certain artists daily habits never changed during their life time. Some ate the same food day-in-day-out. Perhaps these mundane rituals allowed the creative more freedom to roam.
After finishing the book, I decided to take on a few new rituals of my own.
I wanted to take a small part of my day and dedicate it to creating something. My aim was to limit this time to thirty minutes and rely on imperfect action to finish it.
This led me to think about what could I could create in such a short period of time. Icons!
The benefits of working on a programme like Adobe Illustrator is the speed at which an idea can come to life.
I didn’t want to spend time drawing, or planning the icons. I wanted to finish the design and immediately post it to social media. I chose Instagram as the primary platform to post my daily icon. It made sense using a visual social channel and Instagram’s hashtag system is limitless.
By researching hashtags on Instagram I discovered other designers doing the same type of practise: #AnIconADay, #AnIconPerDay and #EveryDayIcon.
A friend of mine – Matt Taylor – is even doing a Marvel character everyday: #DailyMarvel
Daily Icon Design
“A solid routine fosters a well-worn groove for one’s mental energies and helps stave off the tyranny of moods.”
― Mason Currey, Daily Rituals: How Artists Work
The first week of designing icons everyday was a challenge. I went over my 30 minute limit several times because I was trying to create something ‘perfect’.
I wanted imperfect action! I wanted to hone my skills.
Here are a few of the first Daily Icons
A Consistent Theme
The initial designs lacked consistency. They were fun but the lack of a theme added extra challenges in the choice of elements like style and colour.
I decided upon stationary as a loose theme. I’m a bit of a stationary fiend so I was playing to my strengths!
The theme consisted of a few basic consistencies:
I chose to use the Odes and Ink brand colours: green, orange and purple. I had good reason to chose these colours, as I thought I may end up using a few on the website. Having an icon set for the Odes and Ink website would enhance the brand identity, win win!
I wanted a simple icon illustration, so I chose a circle as the theme shape. An object would then subtract a shape from the circle.
I also wanted a consistent size. The initial icons were quite sporadic in size. I chose a circle and kept that the same for each new design.
Here is the full set of designs: