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Icon Design Process - Beyond Tellerand

13 Nov 2014

Marc Thiele and the lovely Beyond Tellerand audience

I’ve gone from doing zero conferences for a few years, to 6 in the last 13 months. Not as many as some of my chums do, but for me its been quite a contrast. Nice amount of travelling too, as it gives me the chance to see new places!

Last week I delivered the Icon Design Process talk at Beyond Tellerand in Berlin, possibly for the last time as I’m sure everyone is as sick of it as I am! It was a superb conference and I particularly enjoyed the opportunity to watch Stefan Sagmeister. I would love to go back for the Düsseldorf edition next May.

If you would like the slides, you can download the Icon Design Process PDF here


Icon Design Process - Smashing Conference Oxford 2014

21 Mar 2014

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 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 So much has changed the last few months in regards to deployment methods, and I fully expect the techniques to go out of date in another few months time! Such is the way of the web.

I will be writing a longer, more comprehensive blog post soon, going into the various options for using SVG, and providing fallbacks as there are many useful methods. While I couldn’t go through all of them in my talk, I highlighted the one that I prefer at the moment, Grumpicon. Until then, please download the slides which includes notes and links!


The Shed

25 Jan 2014

It’s rare for me to enjoy a conference so much, but Milton Keynes Geek Night All-Dayer was tremendous! I enjoyed every single talk and took something away from each. Big round of applause then to David Hughes and Richard Wiggins for organising it, and to all the many folks that helped it run smoothly. I’ve come away with some new enthusiasm, and hope that the motivation sticks.

I was talking 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. I’ve uploaded a PDF of my talk here – such as it is without the audio to make it understandable. As far as I know the sessions were all recorded, so that missing part may well appear!

Links mentioned in the talk


CSS Filters

16 Jun 2010

I’ll be doing a 5 minute microslot on CSS filters at the next Oxford Geek Night on July 21st. CSS filters is the practice of linking to your stylesheets in different ways in order to control how different browsers and their versions get your CSS. It’s something I get quite a lot of questions about when people look at my source code, so I thought I’d explain it via a presentation! The OGN microslot is the ideal format for it.

If you live nearish to Oxford, and haven’t been to Geek Night yet, do come and see what you’re missing. It’s a free event (sponsored by local gents/superstars Torchbox) in the Jericho Tavern in Oxford. Beer, geek talk and socialising. What more do you need?

In other news – Family Hicks also waiting to hear about our house move date – what’s the betting that it becomes July 21st?! ;)


Principles of Icon Design

25 May 2010

I’ve never over-run on a talk. Ever. Usually I embarrasingly finish around 10 mins early, leaving plenty of time for questions.

Until last week at Future of Web Design that is. When it came down to the last 5 minutes, I realised I had a lot more to go, and had to really hurry the last couple of sections. Thankfully the feedback so far has been positive, but I promise this will be (probably) be the last time I talk on this subject.

The Principles of Icon Design was originally based on the talk I gave at @Media last year, Icons for Interaction, but soon started taking a different form. This one focused more on the process of icon design, although they both share similar examples and concepts. It features new work too however, such as some of the work I’ve been doing with Jolicloud, my first freelance project after leaving Opera.

As promised, you an grab the slides (with notes) here: Download the Principles of Icon Design PDF (17.3mb)

Finally, I must mention how much I enjoyed the conference. As well as meeting old friends, I got to meet new ones, as well as finally meeting design heroes Joshua Davis and Brendan Dawes. When I was working as a print designer at an educational publishers in Oxford, it was these chaps who inspired me to design for online. I always get a bit awestruck meeting such people. (There’s only one other hero I’ve yet to meet – Jason Arber).

A BIG thankyou to Carsonified (and Cat Clark in particular) for organising the event so well.


How to be a Creative Sponge 2

24 Oct 2009

Creative%20Sponge

This week I had the great pleasure of speaking at the 3rd Web Developer Conference in Bristol, along with Elliot Jay Stocks, Sarah Parmenter and Dan Donald.

It was only a one-day conference, but I had a whale of time, meeting new folks like Elliot Kember (who shone on the 2 panels he attended), Oliver Ker and the legendary Jon Tan, with whom I’ve had emails and chat but never met in person. I also got to catch up with Ben Hostler, the creative director of Bristol-based agency Beef, who I haven’t seen since I was at Middle School with him… 24 years ago!

The talk I gave was an update of one I gave at @media 2007, ‘How to be a Creative Sponge’. Back then, Flickr was really the only option for sharing design collections online, but a lot has changed since then. We’re now spoilt for choice, but I explained my current system of choice – Evernote. Like Fireworks, I have a bit of a love/hate relationship with it in the past, but earlier criticisms have been fixed in recent updates. In particular, I’m finding that I can ofter remember text in an image that I’ve saved, so the OCR technology in Evernote makes it easy for me to find items I’ve collected. I would even say it was more effective than a tag.

Download the slides as PDF (27.8mb). I don’t tend to write presenters notes, so I’ve added these afterwards to try and help it make sense. All links mentioned in my talk are available on Delicious under the sponge tag.

I came away with a really good feeling about Bristol – it has a great developer/designer community, in a city that feels friendly and very un-intimidating.

I also came away with a realisation that there is a whole book’s worth of material in ‘Malarkey’s Prank Calls’. Everyone I met seemed to have at least one experience of that delight to share ;)


Geek in the Park 08

27 Jun 2008

On Saturday 9th August, I’m going home! Leamington Spa is where I was born and spent 22 (in total) years of my life, and I’m going back to talk at this years Geek in the Park organised by the Multipack. There’ll be a picnic in the picturesque Jephson Gardens, followed by an evening at KoKos.

I’ll be talking on “Pixel Pushing: An introduction to Icon Design”, which will go over the theory and practice of creating icons for desktop applications and websites.

Drew will be tapping in to the nostalgia vein again, with ‘What Brian Cant Never Taught You About Metadata’. I hereby give him the challenge of working Jamie and the Magic Torch into his next talk.

I’m praying for good weather, and looking forward to meeting other geeky picnicers!


Be a Creative Sponge

10 Jun 2007

I’m just back from @media Europe where I talked about the importance of maintaining design collections and how to use them, under the banner “How to be Creative Sponge”. Having only ever resided on panels before now, and with the exception of a 15 minute talk at Oxford Geek Night 2, it was my first ‘proper’ speaking engagement. I was concerned that what I had to say was too obvious, too common-sense, but feedback so far has been good, and I’m really appreciative of those that took time to tell me they got something from it.

As promised, here are the slides from the the talk, and all the URLs mentioned in the talk can be found via the sponge tag on my delicious account: http://del.icio.us/jonhicks/sponge.

As for the conference itself, I had a whale of time. I meet new, lovely, interesting people every time, and always come away with new ideas and motivations. In particular though, I absolutely loved being able to share it with Leigh, and I have her parents to thank for that.

My lasting image of the event will undoubtedly be Drew whipping up the crowd in chants of ‘There is no fold!’, aided by placards. Especially after receiving a Request for Proposal that week, containing the requirement “All information on the homepage must be visible above the fold”, I was tempted to take one of the placards and send it back with my proposal!


Instagram Hickstagram

  • 15 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 15. @hicksmade’s staircase led me to this. There must be a hairdressers somewhere called this? #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #hairwaytosteven

  • 14 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 14 - from @hicksmade’s theme of escape, and tonight’s Dr Who, with a return to classic theme: running!. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #drwho #pictogram #signage

  • 14 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 13 is more of a doodle as time was very short! There was a bird in @hicksmade’s day 13 so I ran with that. . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

  • 12 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 12. Thinking about @hicksmade’s lumos led me to this “please don’t turn me off…”. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #sadlightswitch

  • 11 Oct 2018

    Inktober Day 11. The shape of @hicksmade’s spoons made me think of the Mandrake - a root that looks like a tiny human. There are lots of legends around it, but this one is based on the Harry Potter interpretation. . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #mandrake #harrypotter

  • 10 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 10. @hicksmade led with a lovely bee, which made me think of the Jesus and Mary Chain song “Just like honey”. Fancied trying something different so went for a 60s typographical thingy . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #honey

  • 10 Oct 2018

    Beautiful morning at North Leigh Common!

  • 09 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 9, as the crow flies. An obvious link from @hicksmade’s scarecrow, but I’m much happier with this one compared to yesterday’s. #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #crow

  • 09 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 8 and boy am I cross with how this one turned out. It’s utter pants. Supposed to be Bill Murray and Scarlet Johannsen in Lost in Translation, not that you could tell from this. Bill looks like a zombie, and goodness knows what that is on the right. It put me in such a bad mood last night, but I need to let it go and move on. (I even cheated a bit and touched up some bits in Photoshop!). The one bit I’m happy with is his neck, and that’s it. Rant over #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober

  • 07 Oct 2018

    Inktober day 7. When @hicksmade drew an apple, I couldn’t get the apple bonkers from Yellow Submarine out of my head. Those faces gave me nightmares as a child. . #inktober #inktober2018 #leighandjondoinktober #yellowsubmarine #applebonkers

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