Brainstorm and first Ideas

After an initial brainstormings sessions, writing down and working through my interests, I started to bring them into a design context.

What about using text and typography to create a text-only piece, with overlaying elements? I like the typical “Swiss” poster design and thought to do something along that way.  Typography is something I’m interested in a lot.




Unfortunately, first attempts in Illustrator and InDesign quickly showed that the A6 postcard size was an issue for me. The space available to make typography bold and pop out is not the same as on poster. Additionally, to get a text heavy piece, you need a lot of text, obviously (duh!).

screenshotThat wasn’t the case with my interests, as I did just list them out. Creating written content and stories around my interest only to fill the page seemed unnecessary and fake. For the sole purpose of design, the text would have taken the attention away from the core messages. It would distract more than add to the final layout. How a first, roughly sketch showed.

nope – text only doesn’t seem to work. Too much distraction



A UI Designer was explaining the process of creating his newest icon at work.

Icons. That’s it!

I like their simplicity and how character and warmth can be added with so little elements. Plus, the idea of giving each interest a separate icon reminded be of badges people used to sew on their jackets or sports bags. Some initial Design Research quickly fortified the idea, and I started drawing.

I used the interests I’ve written down on my brainstorming session. Sketching the first Icons for my interests “Technology” and “Coffee” (yes, i’m addicted) I added a banner on top of them with the corresponding name. I got rid of it quickly as an icon should be able to speak for itself otherwise it is useless. I’ve learned that the simpler you want to be, the harder you have to pay attention. #lessonlearned

Some Inspiration



Simplicity and character added with so little elements. Adding smaller, decorative elements, like stars and simple shapes to fill the whole space is interesting. It adds a welcome complexity to the often isolated Icons. It seems that they connect to each other because of it and start to resemble a pattern

The second picture, those lines behind the submarine are impressive. Almost comic like but clearly transporting a sense of movement and speed. The gray shades are a great addition too. Not sure if I can use that because of the number of icons I want to produce. Might be too distracting. Color. Something I liked in this picture a lot. I will add some to my icons too, but will focus on that later in the process. 

Creating the Icons


I moved to Illustrator fairly quickly, searched some reference pictures and started tracing and sketching my first icon resembling my passion for coffee. I didn’t use illustrator for years, so it took me a while to re-learn using the Pen tool and creating smooth shapes. Thankfully Youtube, with its many tutorials, is a design newcomers best friend in those cases. I learned a lot on how to use the pen tool and how to merge shapes together, which saved me so much time in the end.

As you see in the screenshots below, I played around with the form, size and complexity. I tried visualizing the smell and taste of coffee (by adding some curved lines together and transforming them to a shape). More icons mean keeping things simple, so I went with the simple bean.

Creating separate “Artboards” in Illustrator for every interest helped keepings things organized and being able to go back quickly and ideate into different directions.. The screenshots explain my process pretty well.

  1. creating Artboards
  2. adding some reference pictures and research material
  3. adding simple shapes for the main areas
  4. duplicate elements and continue adding more
  5. sometimes revisit past ideas
  6. ideate on them until I’m please with a result

To get a feeling of the space available, i created the final postcard size on a different file. I’ve added Bleed (red) and safety zones (blue) to it as well (thanks to a friend making me aware of the need for that).





After finishing all icons, I went back to the idea of using placeholders. Small design elements and simple shapes used to connect the different symbols together, creating a consistent final piece. It felt pretty natural to arrange the simple elements and Icons on the postcard. I’ve used a grid to align the icons loosely to it and tried to keep a consistent distance between the elements.


Color adds warmth and uniqueness to otherwise cold vector elements. I went from all black to a dark blue. Giving it a modern look. I’ve painted all smaller elements to create a grouping. I will continue using the blue color throughout the other designs as a connecting element. It will hopefully make sure that the three postcards, each different in its content, have a similar and connecting origin.



Final Design Postcard #1 – My Interests





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