Need help with icon concept

Discussion in 'Design and Graphics' started by jamdr, Sep 25, 2009.

  1. jamdr macrumors 6502a

    jamdr

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #1
    I need to design an icon that stands for "fuel efficiency" or just "efficient" would work. I'm having a hard time coming up with any ideas. So far I've thought of a gas station pump and a dashboard-looking thing. Maybe a light bulb...I don't know. Does anyone have any ideas?
     
  2. macworkerbee macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jun 14, 2008
    #2
    Keep thinking for longer than the 30 seconds it took you to make that post and maybe you could come up with your own ideas.

    EDIT: Sorry, I know that was really harsh but if those are the best ideas you came to us with to discuss then you need to keep working before you try and get feedback. I understand you just might need a push in the right direction, so why not try looking through, books, magazines, google image search, whatever to try and find an inspiration for a symbol.

    When it comes down to it the abstraction of an idea into a symbol or emblem is VERY difficult, good luck.
     
  3. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #3
    Intangible icons are hard to produce, they still need the meaning and substance attached somehow.

    I created an eco report for a broadcast client about dam level, carbon emissions, fuel price, air quality and electricity used in the city. This did my head in because for space and readability the information need to use more icons and less text.

    I ended up using Logopond and iStock for ideas.

    The end result was good but you really need to search for ideas around what you're looking for.
     
  4. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #4
    For free? Well, you could hire someone to do the research and concept the idea for you. Else you wind up with something cliche' like you have already came up with.

    I don't get why people think that idea generation has no value. I spend countless hours doing research for all of my designs and never rely on "free" idea generation from strangers. Good ideas take time to develop.

    I'll close this by pointing you in the right direction. Do verbal/visual research, then create matrix's to find unusual relationships. That is your starting point. Have fun with that.
     
  5. jamdr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jamdr

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    Jul 20, 2003
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    Bay Area
    #5
    You know what, I'm sorry. I forgot I was asking a bunch of jaded, apparently desperate, designers for free advice. I'm not a professional designer. I'm a programmer and in our community we give free advice ALL THE TIME because we value a strong, generous online community. It's in everyone's best interest to help out others because what goes around, comes around. And why wouldn't I want ALL software to be better, not just my own? I use software that isn't my own all the time and I like for that to be good, too. I hope someday one of you buys a piece of my software and has to live with a crappy fuel efficiency icon. That's karma.
     
  6. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

    Joined:
    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #6
    Sharing advice ≠ Doing your work for you.

    You've received advice in every single response to your solicitation.

    How would I be treated if I came onto your programming site and said I needed someone to code the CSS for my new website for free?
     
  7. uuaschbaer macrumors regular

    uuaschbaer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    #7
    What about a perpetual motion machine ( something like this ), the nonexistent epitome of fuel efficiency?
     
  8. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

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    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #8
    Wow

    Holy cow... OP merely asked for ideas... He certainly did NOT do anything even close to the design equivalent of asking you to "code the CSS for my new website".

    I agree, you should just think about it for a while, do a bit of research, BUT, I am more than willing to give up 4 minutes of my time to throw out a few free ideas. Jeez.

    An outlet?

    A 3d kind of plug render, growing from bigger to smaller, diagonally?

    a few cartoon-esque trees stemming out from a mid point underneath?

    Something with the voltage looking symbol?


    That wasn't too hard:confused:

    Good luck with your project!
     
  9. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #9
    With all due respect, I disagree. And I realize this may be a matter of perception. But I make a living off of people "merely asking for ideas." That is the basic building block of every single design project. I wouldn't be where I am today by giving that away for free. And I'm certainly not going to get to where I want to be by giving my work away for free, either.

    Most people here are always willing to give advice and critiques. All we ask in return is to show us a good-faith effort that you've done the basics and conceptual work yourself. And frankly, the OP has not done that.

    But - OP, I am more than willing to point you in a direction where you can get some inspiration.

    Here are some stylized icon sets courtesy of Smashing Magazine

    (Smashing Magazine is a great resource for tips on interface design and usability.)

    Stock Icons

    A blog on icon design


    Got these from a simple Google search. Another thing you can do is search Google Images for "fuel efficiency." You may find something that lights the fuse in your brain.

    iStockphoto is another place you can turn for inspiration. Search the illustrations and photos for "fuel efficiency" or something similar.

    Those are some of the many ways I brainstorm.

    But please show us that you're willing to use your own brain. That's honestly all we ask.
     
  10. THX1139 macrumors 68000

    THX1139

    Joined:
    Mar 4, 2006
    #10
    Well, I give FREE advice all of the time to professional graphic designers. I draw the line for free help when it's someone from another industry who may profit from my services. I appreciate that you programmers help each other. Maybe you should ask them to help you with your logo? Anyway, I bet you don't help the average joe code his widget for free. See the difference? I would never in a million years ask someone from another industry for free help, nor would I ask for a free loaf of bread in the grocery store. That would be unethical. The very minimum I would expect from you is some kind of trade. Though, at the moment I have no need for programming advice. If I did, I would hire someone... not beg them for a handout.

    But hey, to show you I'm not unreasonable, here's a link that might help you out. Five seconds on google is all it took. You're welcome.

    Cliche' is usually worth what you pay for it. That's why it wasn't so hard for you to come up with it. Good ideas take time and energy to develop.
     
  11. uuaschbaer macrumors regular

    uuaschbaer

    Joined:
    Aug 31, 2009
    #11
    It would quite definitely not be unethical. It would be distinctly dickensian.

    To all designers: Just because there are busy business people who value your ideas it isn't socially reasonable to childishly cling to them. Sell them on Ebay if you must, but keep the snobbery.

    EDIT: Another contribution. What about Gandhi, he goes a long way without food?
     
  12. LeviG macrumors 65816

    Joined:
    Nov 6, 2006
    Location:
    Norfolk, UK
    #12
    this is probably why you don't understand. Today anyone who owns a copy of photoshop thinks they can design a logo or whatever, often thats not the case, theres more too it than owning the software. I can get software to write a program, doesn't mean I can.

    we do give help but we like to see a bit of effort from the op too.

    So hang on, this is a paid for program and you want the logo doing for free, pay for a pro then if YOUR logo isn't any good.

    As to ideas - simple mobius strip should cover it
     
  13. jamdr thread starter macrumors 6502a

    jamdr

    Joined:
    Jul 20, 2003
    Location:
    Bay Area
    #13
    No. Asking for ideas for an icon concept is probably most similar to asking for suggestions for an app spec, something I wouldn't have a problem doing even for an "outsider". I guess you're not the type of person who gets "open source" or "creative commons". I guess what they say about designers is true. Anywho, thanks to everything who gave a few suggestions, it definitely got me thinking...now off to do some mockups. Thanks!
     
  14. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #14
    I'm not a programmer, so I apologize for my poor choice of analogy. (I don't even know what an "app spec" is.)

    Out of curiosity - why would you choose to make your programs open source rather than a paid app if application programming is your sole source of income?

    Open source doesn't really work with graphic design. It would essentially mean that everyone would have access to and be able to use and modify a design. And what we generally do is design unique identities. If I were to create an "open source" icon design for you, there would be absolutely nothing that would stop a competing program from using the exact same design. The closest you're going to find would be icons purchased from iStock. But those won't be exclusive.

    I'm glad you have some ideas. If you need any help with the mechanics or would like some constructive (and probably brutally honest) criticism, please post some of your concepts. But we are not going to do the conceptual work for you. I'm sorry if you fail to understand why, as we've explained that pretty clearly.
     
  15. MattSepeta macrumors 65816

    MattSepeta

    Joined:
    Jul 9, 2009
    Location:
    375th St. Y
    #15
    Again...


    My computer may be wrong, but it appears to be showing me the OP's original question as "Does anyone have any ideas?"

    Nowhere does he ask for researched ideas, GOOD ideas, or any of that stuff you guys are getting so worked up over. He merely wanted some IDEAS.

    I still don't see the harm.

    Ok, so he runs with a "Cliche" idea, and gets a "cliche" logo... Wheres the skin off your back? Still on your back.
     
  16. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    #16
    I think the point people were trying to make was that the OP did not show any effort to do any of the conceptual work himself.
     
  17. ChicoWeb macrumors 65816

    ChicoWeb

    Joined:
    Aug 16, 2004
    Location:
    California
    #17
    I'll bite: What about a fuel gauge that with the hand on F for full?

    Don't take the others to seriously around here. Everyone is very touchy with their profession, as I am. I however, realize the benefit of the forums and the online community aspect of it. I come here to mix pleasure and business. I actually started my career working graphics on a forum for free or 20 bucks here and there. That's actually how I honed my skills and have a design company with 5 employees now. I've had several leads come from this forum, and have made quite a bit of money off it. If everyone wasn't so busy slamming each other I think they would see the benefit that I do. I however, can not complain because they basically push work right into me. I guess that's the business side of my designing coming out :)
     
  18. The Man macrumors 6502

    Joined:
    Jul 7, 2004
    #18
    Ask not for help

    My advice: Don't come to this forum and ask ANY "advice" on anything design related. You just get the same response over and over. You will become frustrated because things you consider a proper question by your normal social standards, will be considered improper by the standards of professional designers on these boards, who make a daily living out of design.

    I can see their need to protect their trade. And I can see that they are frustrated by people asking for free advice, asking for pointers, or giving services at far too low prices, or even for free. The down side to their protective, and frustrated, behavior is that these forums become a place of snobbery for the average Joe. While professionals see it as their task to enlighten the average Joe about their field of work and how this is ruined by the average Joe and their behavior in not seeking professional help or doing some intensive ground work, the average Joe will become equally frustrated because he will never see the point they are making and just wants some "help" for something.

    I just wish there was a middle way, where we could just help people on their way just a little bit, without the lecturing bit. While being protective of the design trade is good, I feel that sometimes this protective behavior comes across as being too harsh, or will be seen as repetitive ranting, and will sour any goodwill and lead to the average Joe doing the design stuff without the help of good design professionals.

    I wish some people could just be a little bit more inspirational, also towards the amateur design people. Is it not possible that the amateur might become the next big graphic designer on the planet? Yes, he will have to work hard, go to school and learn stuff. Well, this will probably not happen through these boards, as any good intentions will soon fade.
     
  19. SwiftLives macrumors 65816

    SwiftLives

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    Dec 7, 2001
    Location:
    Charleston, SC
    #19
    Sigh. I know. A lot of us come across as snooty or snobbish. (I've jumped down a few too many throats lately. I'll admit.) And I do apologize for that. But - at least me - I'm always willing to help as long as the OP shows a good-faith effort that he or she is attempting to do the project himself. Where I take issue is with someone asking us to concept for him or her.

    I have *never* jumped down anyone's throat for asking for pointers or advice. The line is drawn when we're asked to concept and "come up with ideas" for people. I tend to get very offended by people who are either too lazy or cheap to at least attempt design work themselves. I find it insulting.

    Personally, I love it when people share their work on these boards. But no one is going to become the next great designer if he doesn't at least attempt to do the conceptual work himself and only relies on other people's brains.

    Of course, none of this is written or stated anywhere. Just my approach to things.
     
  20. Rt&Dzine macrumors 6502a

    Rt&Dzine

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2008
    #20
    What about this?

    If someone asks for help and you think the request is out-of-line, then don't give any help. Other people can decide for themselves whether they want to help the OP or not.
     
  21. NickFalk macrumors 6502

    NickFalk

    Joined:
    Jun 9, 2004
    #21
    On topic:
    How about a green lightbulb with a tree inside. Perhaps not fuel efficiency, but maybe energy efficiency.

    As for the other "discussion" it's not like he asked anyone to come up with a fully-fledged design blue-print. To me it seemed more like he wanted some help brainstorming...
     
  22. ezekielrage_99 macrumors 68040

    ezekielrage_99

    Joined:
    Oct 12, 2005
    #22
    I think half the issue is the people are blurring the line between help and doing it for free (although sometimes it can be confusing with some OPs).

    I can see both sides of the argument here, I've been out of ideas and it's good for a fresh perspective but I can also see the designer POV where we sell the intangible.

    The OP asked for ideas not to create the icon/logo, although if they asked to create it for nothing then I can understand people being shirty about the request.

    IMHO iStock, Google (to a lesser extent Bing) and Logopond are very good places for ideas and creative brainstorming.
     
  23. sigmadog macrumors 6502a

    sigmadog

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    Feb 11, 2009
    Location:
    near Spokane, WA
    #23
    In general, graphic designers tend to have enormous egos combined with an inferiority complex. It's a strange combination that allows them to be extremely driven creative geniuses and arrogant pricks at the same time (for an analog in the real world, think of the French). Once you understand this, it's simply a matter of approaching them in a way that will both salve their fragile egos and appeal to their creative nature.

    For the record, I've been a designer for over 25 years, so this post is self-referential as well.
     
  24. LittleBob68 macrumors member

    Joined:
    Dec 20, 2008
    #24
    Im just glad that Im not the only person that has been chewed up and spit out by this forum. I feel bad for the OP, like someone previously said, "If someone asks for help and you dont want to help them, dont help". It's obvious that the people that respond to these kind of threads do so just to gripe and complain.

    I did receive a logo design from a request like this, they spent about 5 min doing it and it is very 'generic' but it works for me. However, I also received many hateful posts from people that could have simply 'not helped'.

    OP, good luck on your design. I wish that my non creative self could give you some ideas.
     
  25. jecapaga macrumors 601

    jecapaga

    Joined:
    Jul 1, 2007
    Location:
    Southern California
    #25
    Not trying to be a jerk or anything but lets say you come up with a good idea for the icon. The above tells me you'll most likely not be able to produce it and have it look very decent unless you'll actually be working with someone familiar with the programs and is talented. If you're doing it yourself throughout and it looks good and is successful...cool. :cool: Now you can add designer to your repertoire.
     

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