Just this week I've completed the application icon for one of my MakaluMedia clients, Pierre Bernard of Houdah Software, on his latest beta application HoudahGeo. In June 2006, I designed the icon for Pierre's first OS X application, HoudahSpot.
HoudahGeo allows you to geocode photos with latitude, longitude and altitude information. Take your photos, "pin" their locations on the earth, then export information to EXIF tags or Google Earth KML files, letting you can see the images in Google Earth.
Pierre and I started working with pencil sketches, using a globe with photos stuck to the surface, and a satellite in orbit around it, as you can see below:
1. In my first sketches, I focused on a single satellite, beaming information to/from photos on the surface of the globe. At this stage I hadn't worked out continents or exact placement of the photos, but knew I liked this general idea.
2. Here I played around with the idea of both a satellite and a camera orbiting the earth, and had by this round, started exploring continents and image locations a bit more. In the end, we discussed the camera+satellite option and felt the camera was redundant and not necessary to get the message across.
Next I went to production, using Fireworks to create the vector-based artwork. After a rough first draft, Pierre had an idea to try a pushpin in place of a satellite, though in the end, we felt the satellite just worked better.
With each successive revision, the earth was refined, satellite tweaked, highlights, glows and adjustments made. Here I've placed the first 4 revisions together to give you an idea how the process generally works:
The final adjustments and tweaks happened on icon v5, including a size up of the earth about 5-6%, lightening of the satellite's pulse glow and a few adjustments to photo locations on the earth itself.
Fireworks as Tool of Choice
The construction if icons using vectors in Fireworks, greatly assists in these kind of subtle tweaks. Because all of the elements are created as vector items, they can be easily sized up and down with no degradation of image quality, or moved around without worrying about re-applying masks or filters.
For comparison purposes, here is the final, winning HoudahGeo icon v5:
Thanks Pierre for choosing to work with me and MakaluMedia on your latest Mac application! I had a great time working with you on another fun icon project. :-)