Seattle Landmark Icons
Communicating the city of Seattle through a unified symbol set
16in x 22.5in Poster
7 Page Process Document
Icon Design (10 Icons)
Identity and Branding
Spring 2017 — 5 Weeks
DESIGN 214 Class Project
Capturing iconic Seattle locations in a visual style that highlights the changing social dynamic of the community.
As part of our Marks and Symbols class, we were instructed to create a set of icons that featured recognizable Seattle landmarks, in a visual style of our choosing. Through the five weeks of iterations, my co-designer Cody Scott and I created a group of 16 visually distinct yet cohesive symbols that captured the new spirit of the city. These symbols are intended to be used in a new tourist campaign for Seattle, celebrating the city's rising prominence as a global destination.
From the get-go, we knew we wanted to capitalize on the growing trend of linicons: easily scaleable and modern-looking.
As with most designs, paper-and-pen were a good place to start. Sketching out our ideas allowed us to very quickly identify what elements of our landmarks would work, and what wouldn't. Readability was a large concern, impacted the most by the level of fidelity our icons would take. Would they be too detailed? More minimal? We settled on a middle-of-the-road approach to maximize recognizability at all scales.
A grid-based icon set also was something we wanted to experiment with to move toward our goal of uniformity, knowing that if every icon had shared elements such as windows or walls they would look more complete when placed next to each other.
Working independently in the first 2 weeks of the project, it was clear early on that cohesiveness was something we would need to work on.
In order to better understand the level of fidelity we would need, we each explored a different poster visual style.
While we were at a crossroads of which art direction to take, we determined the best path forward would be to create quick mockups of what the icons would look like in a more realistic setting.
My poster design utilized bright colors and bold typography, reminiscent of our cities sports teams while still distinct enough to make anyone people think of the emerald city. The contrast of simple icons overlaid on detailed photographs provided dual levels of intrigue into the content; regardless of it being a poster, or an event ticket.
While this direction looked great, we decided to move in a different one after determining simpler icons would be needed for smaller promotional collateral.
It was at this point we began working together to unify our icons, now that we had locked down the fidelity and scale at which the icons would be used. Through several iterations, we dismissed certain landmarks that were too difficult to reproduce at small sizes and two-dimensionally (MoPOP in particular proved to be too much of a challenge).
With the icons complete, we needed compelling narrative and poster to show them off.
Linecons were the ultimate goal we had set out with, but we hadn't yet considered what the poster would look like aesthetically to pull all the pieces together. After drafting up a quick moodboard, the decision was made to take our gridded approach to the next level by introducing a dot grid to our designs. This maximized the cohesiveness of the icons by adding another layer of uniformity, with each grid square the same width and height as the blocks from which the icons were created.
Through our moodboard, we also explored different color combinations and type weights that could be used. While not specifically a typography project, we wanted to incorporate the titles of the landmarks and additional copy for context in a meaningful way to help tell the story of an evolving Seattle.