Krishna Solanki Designs

Creating custom icons - my process

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I believe that behind every design process there is a system.  Most designers probably follow this system but in their own style or method.
Today I am going to take you behind the scenes and show you how I created my custom icons, the flowers, for my work with me section. 

In this particular case I wanted to create an icon for each package and name each package accordingly.   I used the flower icon from my logo as the "style" I wanted to keep in line with, which also helped me to keep it on brand.


As I had decided the theme would be flowers for each package I began to think about what flowers I could create. I didn't want to limit myself so kept it quite broad.  With a bit of help from a few people, I came up with the following list:

  • Logo design  = Lilly
  • Brand identity = Bluebell
  • Web design = Wisteria
  • Start up = Sunflower
  • Supporting design elements = Blossom

As you can see, there was a little line of thought behind the flower names.


Once I was happy with the initial names I started by sketching the icons with good ol' pen and paper. I like doing this before I look for inspiration as I feel that sometimes finding images or looking at inspiration can narrow my instant design thought.  (Does that make sense? haha...)

I also decided in the initial sketch that I wanted to "contain" the icon in a bounding box of some kind - hence the circle it is within.

Ok so once I'm happy with my sketches, I turn to look for inspiration online.  Usually I go to Google images, Dribbble, and Pinterest to see what stands out to me.  I again keep it quite simple and use keywords only.
As I start my search I realise I have begun to like quite a few styles, so I start to put them aside.  By that I mean I create a secret Pinterest board and start building up my collection.




As soon as I think I have enough inspiration to get me started, and I have the icon wireframe that I drew at the start, I open Adobe Illustrator.  Starting with a new artboard I begin to draw the basic element, in this case the petal of the sunflower, with the pen tool.
It's easier if there are elements within the icon design itself that are reusable - so for example the petals do not need to be created individually.  I made one and the duplicated them numerous times, laying them out as I went along.

I usually add colour once I am happy with each element, and because I am creating these icons in the flat design style I decided I would stick to 3/4 shades of colour max.  Adding too much colour or detail really changes the style and in this case I didn't want that.


Arrange and rearrange

After polishing the design and adding a few extra elements like a leaf, or the stalk, or a budding flower, I then play with the icon in the making and arrange different variations.  Playing around with the placement really helps to see what balances the icon and what looks best.

I can then always add/remove inner elements (petals) as I see fit without being strict on how I exactly imagined the icon to be.

Then once I am happy with the placement I add the final touch - the bounding box, or in this case, circle!

And thats it!!.. Flower icons complete!

Final icon design


As you can see from the list above and from what I have on the site, I made some changes along the way.  I decided to use Lavender as Logo design , and Water lilly as Web design.  I created the Wisteria and Lilly but as I critiqued my own work I wasn't happy and so decided to change the flowers.

So thats the icon design process for the flowers on my work with me page.  Do you have a process when you design icons?  Why not share your process if you do - I'd love to hear about it!