I started this brief with quite high expectations, the main thought I had was “surely it can’t be too hard to design something simple and relevant” how wrong I was, got discovered rather quickly.
I struggled with the concept of simplicity, it is amazing how much harder it is to simplify an idea, rather than build it up to be something of a more complex nature. Things I do generally build themselves to be quite complex and it really is a struggle to bring them back down to icon style. However I didn’t worry myself too much, I had made simple vector symbols for my website, which were quite graphic and worked small, I just had to put some thought behind it, and the fact I can use illustrator to quite a high ability made me a little more confident on getting a really sharp looking final icon.
Research into possible designs was another difficult task, I had to try and evoke Wales and the marathon within the same icon, using limited colours and mainly green. The icon had to work with the text they had already picked, although it also needed to work as a stand-alone entity.
My research first took me onto looking for things that were purely welsh, whether marathon related or not. My first stop was for the Welsh national tree, a “Sessile Oak” I tried making this work within a circle and tried many variations on the theme, but something about it just wasn’t working. In the end I worked out that a leaf made to look perfect, doesn’t look like a leaf, and if I made it look imperfect, it just looked unprofessional. A professional looking icon is what they were looking for, they wanted it to stand up against the big marathons already out there, London, New York, so there was quite a task ahead.
My real breakthrough in finding an idea to expand upon was when I discovered the welsh flower being the daffodil. I was able to make this quite simple and graphic therefore it was able to work well small and large (which is the main thing a icon needs) I added some speed lines to create a sense of movement, and although this took the con away from being a flower and made it look more like a wind turbine, it did give it speed, which I think relates to the marathon.
The second idea came to me after a series of four quick sketch designs, it was one of those rare points in my sketch book where I draw down and advance after each sketch, this is something I need to improve upon significantly. I came onto the idea of a running human dragon (which I later named, the running demon) this one worked really well with the text, it had good movement to it and was simple. It worked great as a small icon.
Where I went wrong with this icon, I feel, was the lack of colour. I only designed it in black and white, the reason for this was because any colour I used seemed to make it unprofessional and unable to work smaller.
Overall this was a nice project to have the opportunity to work on, I learnt a lot about graphic simplification and would feel a lot more confident about approaching a brief like this in the future. It is a shame I was only able to send two icons off, but I only have myself to blame for that, as I was more focused on outside related projects and photography than the brief itself.
Here are my two finished Icons that i submitted to the competition: