My love for music inspired me to create these icons for anyone like me. It is a collection of icons related to band equipment and musical instruments and can be used on music store websites or for any other music related designs for free. It is a living collection that will not stop to grow until there is still a musical equipment or instrument left to add. Please feel free to comment and suggest if you think of any that are missing :).
To date, there have been more than 2,500 downloads of the current icons.
The current set of icons:
Defining the style of the icon collection
First of all, I defined the style and uniting elements for all the icons that would make the icon collection feel like one family of icons. These were the style elements I decided to incorporate into every icon:
Every icon will be constructed using thick 2px* lines with rounded endings and will follow a defined base grid.
*2 px if using 32x32px size square.
Lines of the icon will have disconnections in suitable places.
Here are few elements that I knew will be repeated a lot for musical instruments and band equipment so I created a style for them early on and used those elements as components for all future icons:
When I had the icon family characteristics defined I started to make icons. Every day after work I created a new icon. The typical process for each icon is described below.
The process when creating a single icon
Before starting to sketch a new icon I google for it to be able to understand it and to understand what areas of the icon make it the most recognisable.
For example, the violin and cello have very similar shapes but the difference comes from the height of the endpin and size of the body.
Also, electric guitar, bass guitar and ukulele have a very similar shape but small differences can allow to take them apart on an icon. An electric guitar is the only one that has six strings and therefore also six machine heads. Bass guitar has a much longer neck. Ukulele has much more rounded body shape.
I start every icon on paper to generate ideas and to understand how to define the general shape. Then I choose a few good ideas or the best idea and start creating the icon in Illustrator.
For example, for the Headphones icon, I realised from a few sketches that the wire shape should not cross over the icon area. Also, that the headband should come out from the top of the head caps and not from the side.
Creating the icon in vector
In Illustrator I trace the sketch and bring in the defined elements to keep the consistency between all icons and also to fit the icon to the size constraints.
When I am happy with the shape of the icon I test it for legibility and aesthetics with at least 5 people and refine based on the feedback, then test again until every icon that I test is easily understood.