Big ideas in small pictures, from Icon Designer Filip Yip

“Icons are one of the toughest assignments for a graphic designer,” muses commercial artist and icon designer Filip Yip. “No BS is allowed in such a tiny medium that has to communicate so much so quickly.” Having created literally hundreds of icons himself, Filip is well aware of what it takes to make them work.

“People don’t read,” he explains. “They glance. They want emojis. They’ll give you only seconds to get your message across before they’re on to the next thing. That’s why icons are so important to get right, and why they can be so powerful.”
Filip has created icons that educate, icons that grab attention, icons that categorize and icons that impart emotional responses from trust to joy. “I always start with the strategic goal – what are we trying to do here? It’s a very succinct tool, so it’s important to keep focus.”
Brand logos fall into the same rulebook for Filip. “Icons, logos, characters, they’re all a chance to visually communicate the things a brand can’t really get away with saying directly with words. Ideas like ‘you can trust us’ or ‘we’re friendly’ – those things fall flat in words, but resonate visually.”
One of his greatest challenges to date was a recent request for fantasy icons. Yes, that kind of fantasy. Using nothing more than simple lines in black and white, he managed to get across a fetish vibe, keeping the look edgy but still high brow. “That was an interesting one,” he laughs. “The search for scrap inspiration was not for the feint of heart. But I think the final work walks the right line.”

From adult pursuits to kid’s drinks, bank services to tech start-ups, Filip has covered it all in his highly awarded career. You can see more of his icons, brand marks, packaging, characters and collateral here.

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