Krishna Solanki Designs


Creating custom icons - my process

DesignKrishna SolankiComment

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!

I'm Back! Revamped, redesigned and ready to Go

My BusinessKrishna SolankiComment

Well hello there! Welcome to my blog!!....YAY!

*celebration song to start*

I think it's important to celebrate and introduce myself as I feel as though over the last few months I have transformed myself and my business - not quite like Bumblebee from Transformers, but somewhat along the same lines! - so much that it warrants a mini party.  Even if that party is just in my head for now!

KSD : Im back

Hmm.. where to start...

So... a while ago, in 2011/12 (maybe earlier), I had a blog, and for a while it was all working out really well. I was writing articles, not only for my blog but guest posts on Onextrapixel.  Life was good.

Then as I got more and more busy, I found I didn't have time to write articles and guest blog.  And it all stopped.

Shortly after that i killed my Blog - BIG MISTAKE!

A few years down the line, and a redesign of my site later I came to the conclusion that I am glad I stopped writing.  I think I decided that in guilt. 

Guilt because, secretly I knew I enjoyed writing, doing the research, sharing my thoughts, my learnings etc.

Redesign 1

Out of no-where, whilst, off on maternity leave I started to redesign my website. I kept the blogging aspect out of it. Still thought I was better off without it. 

I designed the site, built it from scratch with XHTML and CSS3 using inuit CSS and Sass. I felt like such a geek.  A proud geek.  Even got my social media movement going.

So then what changed you may ask?...Well, I was approached by a good friend to help design his brand identity and website for his start up (Steakizmo). Loved the project from start to finish, but it made me think that my processes and method seemed a bit "all over the place"... There was no real system, no structure.  So in the background I started doing research.

The Shelancers

I came across a fantastic resource, a new club at the time, The Shelancers Club.  That there was the start of all things "Project Transform" - I never really called it that but sounds like a good project title right?...

I learnt SOOOO much and realised that I am no-where near the goal I want to be in at this stage of my life. Yes i have a freelance business, but its not thriving, its just "ok".  It's not progressed much since I set it up - but thats also because I am working full time and being mom to a little baby girl (born April 2014).  Hell thats no excuse though!


As I delved into the club, I learnt a huge amount, so much so that it kicked me up the bum to streamline my business and start focusing on actually making it happen.

I realised I needed to set up packages for my services, streamline my process, put systems in place to help me keep on top of everything, define my business plan, set up a contract and invoice much to do in such little time. (what seemed like little time anyway!).

Not done yet, but...

Thats why I feel like I have transformed so much over the last few months.  So much has been going on and still is going on.. I'm not finished yet, not even half way there but I feel great about it now and not so guilty knowing that I'm trying to achieve what I really want too - a successful freelance business.

As you can see, the blog is back and here to stay!! That's one of the aspects I strongly believe will help me achieve my success.

For the record, its not been an easy ride, it's required a lot of hard work in ungodly hours - usually after full time work, or the weekend evenings and sometimes in the middle of the night whilst putting the little munchkin back to sleep!

On that note

I shall end this post saying, my name is Krishna, and I'm a Digital Designer, creative entreprenuer and blogger.  Here to help individuals and start ups with their branding and website needs!

Feel free to say Hi back.. I don't bite. I promise. (Unless you taste like pizza. hmmm.....)