Japan Icons | Skillshare Projects

Cheryl Loh

Graphic Designer



Japan Icons

April 18 / Step 1: Moodboard, Inspiration, Ideas & Sketches 

Hi everyone!

This summer, I'll be heading off for an adventure in Japan. I'm really excited as it will be my first time there, and I'm eager to explore and learn more about a different culture. So for this project, I really wanted to do a set of icons for the main cities/towns we'll be visiting, representing the city in some way.

I first did a look around for some inspiration. I found that many icons seem to have a very clean, simple look, which I do love, but it is something that I've been doing myself for a while, so I wanted to try something different. I looked at illustrations which are hand-drawn (or appear to have hand-drawn elements) and wondered if that could apply to icons as well. I'm interested in adding textures, and perhaps even washes, to make the icons look less vector-y and perfect and have more of a personal and spontaneous feel. 

I then started to do a small mindmap of what I could possible illustrate for the icons. I looked at some images for reference and did some quick sketches. I also considered placing each icon in a fan. 

Moving forward, I'll continue to make sketches (I really have to work on simplifying them), and also start developing potential colour palettes. I'm interested in using warm, earthy colours, such as the colours I've picked out below.


April 22 / Step 2: Vector Icons 

I'm currently concentrating on my first two icons - 

1. Cat Cafe (a popular type of cafe in Japan, in which you can pay to play with cats while enjoying your drink!)

2. Tenjin Festival (one of the greatest festivals held in Japan)

I did a couple sketches - 

Then, I started working in Illustrator - trying to start off with geometric shapes and building from there. 


These are definitely rough and need a lot of tweaking + addition of details! That hand needs work 'cause it looks pretty weird. I'm having trouble defining lines (like the cat's paws for example) using geometric shapes - I had to use strokes instead - and these strokes look a bit out of place. 


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