Icon Design. If you were…


Rachel Villacorta. The Women Behind the Screens.

Jacob Hernandez. Ready to Rock.

Paris Negrete. I Always Knew my Place was in Space

Alejandra Lopez. My Journey to the Film Industry.

Anthony Garcia. If I was an Actor.

Duration: 3 weeks
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Bookmark Project

Project Brief

Design a system of 10 icons (5 primary and 5 secondary) based on one imaginary scenario… “if you were… an astronaut / a movie director / a writer / an athlete / an artist / a musician / a girl who codes / an actor / a chef / a pilot / a peacemaker / a president / a scientist / a first responder. 

One of the 5 primary icons will be of yourself and the other 4 about inspiring figures. The 5 secondary icons are objects and actions related to your idea. Collect data and images for reference. Your icon system must be designed based on constraints for visual unity: grid, size, line weight, solid or outlined shapes, textures. Do not frame your icons.

With your icons create a poster based on one layout option from Manuel Lima’s “The Book of Trees”.  

Learning Objectives

Design a system of icons.

Layout information based on “The Book of Trees. Visualizing Branches of Knowledge” (Manuel Lima).



One printed tabloid with all your icon system. 

One printed poster no larger than tabloid. Color is optional.

PDF file with all your process.


The book of Trees. Visualizing Branches of Knowledge. Manuel Lima. Princeton Architectural Press. 2014.

Thinking in Icons. Designing and Creating Effective Visual Symbols. Felix Sockwell with Emily Potts. Rockport Publishers. 2017



“If you were” is a revised version of project assigned on spring 2018 titled “Your Heroes”. Back then, students had to design 6 icons and one collateral. This year I made some changes. I assigned two scenarios to each student. Limiting the number of possibilities per student allowed variation and diversity. I asked students to create one icon of themselves as part of the system. This is the first project of the semester and I could see students more engaged after the winter break. I also included Lima’s book as a reference to practice information flow based on theory and not just self-discovery. Using the “The Book of Trees” helped as we moved in the semester to more complex projects .


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