sometimes pops up at conferences and waffles about design. Here's proof!

Icon Design Process

It was my great pleasure to speak at Smashing Conference Oxford this week, in the guise of ‘The Mystery Speaker’. If you follow me on Twitter, this will explain my behaviour that week:

My talk was ‘The Icon Design Process’, a quick tour through creating your own iconsets, from starting brief to choosing the right deployment method – iconfonts or SVGs. So much has changed the last few months, and I fully expect the information to go out of date in another few months time! I will be writing a longer blog post soon, going into the various options for using SVG, and providing fallbacks as there are many useful methods. Until then, please download the Slides which include notes and links!


For Milton Keynes Geek Night All-Dayer, I talked about the importance of having a Shed, a metaphor for saving some time for experiments and creative challenges. Not long time consuming side-projects necessarily, but short things – perhaps even as little as a couple of minutes.

Links mentioned in the talk

  • 2014 24 Jan
  • Venue: Milton Keynes Geek Night All-Dayer


For the inaugural Milton Keynes Geek Night I did a 30 minute talk about Emoticons, and in particular, the Skype Emoticon Project. It features early sketches and tests, as well various reference photos that were taken specifically for the project. The talk also covers some of the localisation issues that were encountered, as well as a short history of emoticons.

  • 2012 21 Jun
  • Venue: Milton Keynes Geek Night

CSS Filters

A 5 minute microslot on how to make sure the browser you want gets the CSS that you want it to have! Exclude IE6 and earlier from seeing your CSS3, and specify styles for mobiles and IE versions.

There is also a video of the talk:

  • 2010 22 Jul
  • Venue: Oxford Geek Night

Principles of Icon Design

This talk first looks at the theory behind Icon Design – where it’s used, and how it can be effective. It then covers the workflow of creating an icon from brief to final artwork, and all the though processes that it requires.

Be a creative sponge


How can designers collect ideas and inspiration from everything we see and use that in our work? This talk is about how to collect, catalog and create using the raw materials from a wide variety of sources. All links mentioned in my talk are available on Delicious under the sponge tag.

Icons for Interaction


Icons are not just for decoration, they’re for interaction! Often misused as pretty pictures, they can aid understanding, overcome language barriers and guide user flow on your websites.

My speaking notes are also included in the PDF, hopefully this will be enough to make the slides meaningful.

Pixel Pushing

Focussing on the process of creating icons for software. As well as the PDF slides, this talk is also available in the following formats:

From Design to Deployment

I had been asked by Carsonified to talk about the nitty gritty end of design – taking a design through to launch. I did this with the mythical site Cheesophile. It was never intended to cover such things as dealing with Content Management Systems (where would you start?!), fluid vs fixed or ems vs pixels. I wanted to cover some topics like excluding certain browsers from seeing CSS, typography tips and image creation.

The accompanying files available to download (includes the layered Fireworks PNG files). Cheesophile is far from perfect – it’s not bulletproof and lacks some basic things (like a search field) that you would expect from a site, but it is what it is – a demo for the purpose of the talk.

URLs mentioned in the talk:

Finally, as the PDF doesn’t include the movie clip, here’s the scene from Father Ted that was used in the talk!

Icon Design Explained (Quickly)

This was a 5 minute ‘microslot’, running through the workflow of Icon Design using the Pathfinder icon as an example. You can also “download the PDF”: of the slides, but they’ll make more sense once the audio/video from the talks is available. The links are at

Upcoming Talks

An Event Apart Chicago- "Icon Design Process" - 25-26th August 2014

Web Expo Guildford- "Icon Design Process" - 26th September 2014

Beyond Tellerrand Berlin – 3rd-5th November 2014


Looking to book Jon Hicks to talk at your conference, wedding or barmitzvah?
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