I wanted to create an icon set that showed the history of how we stored and listened to music, starting from the phonograph, up to digital music. I wanted it to have a straightforward feel with a bit of a retro touch.
I started with some sketches:
I sketched a full set and then played around with different stylistic ideas. I played with adding abstract detail like paint splatters as well as reducing detail. I tried separating all of the details in an object as well. I decided finally to go with the first set, with the straight on view. and nothing too abstract.
I then opened up Adobe Illustrator and got to work:
The “see-through” stroke look allows for a textured background to give it some more depth, so I added that on. I immediately felt like these icons work best with a background to support them, but that’s beside the matter.
What you don’t see is how I originally had a color scheme that was kind of all over the place, just trying to mimic each item’s color. After some feedback, I later settled on a set of 5 colors to choose from. 2 shades of grey, brown, orange, and blue.
I also fixed the strokes on the record so they had even spacing. I also reduced the amount of horizontal lines on the 8-track player and changed the orange boxes within to thick strokes instead. This gave it everything a simpler look and helped it fit in better with the set. I finally added a thinker stroke on the outside of the icons to give more contrast between the thick outline and the contrast inside.
With my draft done, I made the changes and added 6 more to the set:
The final icons came out pretty clean and I feel like they have that look I was going for. The strokes allow for detail and they don’t make the items look too bouncy or modern. The final set of my first real vector graphics project is done!