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Collaborating with ChatGPT to Generate Icon Ideas
Icon design is one of the things I like about design; it is the art of taking an object, term, process, etc., and creating a small and concise visual that represents it.
Icons are crucial to creating a great user interface and enhancing the user experience. However, for product designers whose primary focus is UX design, creating icons can be challenging since it’s outside their expertise.
One aspect of icon creation is finding an idea or a concept to represent a topic or a term.
Simple icons, like the cloud, have common agreements and examples, so they don’t need to be reinvented if you want to represent a database cloud.
More special icons can, however, be debated over the right design. For instance, when designing an icon to represent the word “responsibility,” there is no single right answer. Different people may interpret the concept differently. So generating and testing many ideas is necessary before selecting one icon.
This is where ChatGPT can help us, as it can generate many ideas with one click. In this way, you can brainstorm ideas about an icon you need to create to have various options.
I’d like to mention that I show a brainstorming for creating a simple icon in this post because it will be easier to understand, but the process can be applied to any icon.
Let’s explore how ChatGPT can inspire you to create icons with this blog post.
A brief for the design
Before I started working, I wrote a short brief. It included information about the app, the brand, and an explanation of the context for the icon. This brief helped me focus and have a direction for the icon that needs to be created.
Here is the brief:
Easy Recipe App Icon Design Brief
HomeChef Simplified is an apps software company focusing on creating an app that provides easy-to-cook recipes for home cooks. Our primary objective is to help users prepare healthy meals with minimal effort, allowing them to eat better and improve their overall well-being.
Create a visually appealing and easily recognizable icon that effectively represents the idea of “cooking simple and easy” for our app landing page. The icon should be simple, concise, and convey the core idea of our app.
- Style: Modern, minimalistic, and visually appealing graphic design icon set.
- Color Palette: The color palette should be consistent with the brand identity, app’s color scheme, and other icons in the icon set.
- Typography: No text is required within the icon, but ensure compatibility with the app’s typography if needed for context on the landing page.
Using ChatGPT for Icon Design Ideas and Inspiration
Although I can search icon stocks for an icon representing the concept, I will work directly with ChatGPT. This is because I am not interested in being a bio from another resource. Once I have some ideas, I can look at icon stocks websites to get more confident about them.
I asked ChatGPT to generate a list of physical objects representing “simple.”
What physical objects can represent the word "simple?
-No need to explain, just words.
-Write only physical objects.
Paper clip, rubber band, pencil, spoon, light switch, key, coin, toothpick, pebble, plain t-shirt.
You can see that the results are not close to what I was looking for; I wanted to look for a fiscal object that represents “simple” connected to the cooking world, but ChatGPT didn’t produce good results, so I tried another prompt.
What physical objects can represent the word "simple" in connection to the cooking terms?
-No need to explain, just words.
-Write only physical objects.
Apron, oven mitts, chef's hat, cooking utensils, recipe book, kitchen timer.
These objects seem more closely related to the cooking world. However, I am looking for something closely related to my needs. Because of that, I tried another prompt, in this case, more detailed.
Act like an icon designer and give me ideas on representing an icon of the word "simple".
The idea is to add to the main website page of the app an icon that represents the idea of "cooking simple and easy" because the app's main goal is to offer people simple recipes that they can easily cook at home.
-The icon should be simple and concise with a simple visual that can concisely convey the idea.
-A frying pan with a single utensil: You could create an icon that depicts a frying pan with a single utensil (such as a spatula) inside it. This icon would be simple and easy to understand, conveying the idea that the app offers simple recipes that require only a few basic tools to prepare.
-A chef's hat with a checkmark: Another option could be an icon that depicts a chef's hat with a checkmark next to it. This simple icon would convey the idea that the app offers recipes that are easy to follow and complete successfully.
-A spoon and a fork forming a smiley face: This icon could be fun and playful, showing a spoon and a fork arranged to form a smiling face. This would convey the idea that the app makes cooking a fun and enjoyable activity that anyone can do.
-A simplified recipe book: Another idea could be to depict a recipe book with a few basic ingredients on the cover. This would convey the idea that the app offers simple recipes with easy-to-find ingredients.
-A kitchen timer with a "thumbs up":Finally, you could create an icon that shows a kitchen timer with a "thumbs up" symbol. This would convey the idea that the app offers quick and easy recipes.
At this point, the results started getting more relevant to my needs. Because of that, I asked for more ideas simply by writing in the chat:
Give me five more ideas, this time with only two objects.
-A simplified frying pan and egg: You could create an icon that shows a simplified frying pan with an egg in it. This icon would convey the idea that the app offers simple and easy breakfast recipes that can be made quickly.
-A simplified wooden spoon and bowl: Another option could be to create an icon that shows a simplified wooden spoon in a bowl. This icon would convey the idea that the app offers simple and easy-to-make recipes that can be mixed together in one bowl.
-A simplified fork and knife with a plate: This icon could show a simplified fork and knife on a plate. This would convey the idea that the app offers simple and easy-to-prepare meals that can be made quickly and easily.
-A simplified ladle and pot: Another idea could be to create an icon that shows a simplified ladle in a pot. This icon would convey the idea that the app offers simple and easy-to-make soups and stews that can be cooked in one pot.
-A simplified rolling pin and cookie cutter: Finally, you could create an icon that shows a simplified rolling pin and a cookie cutter. This icon would convey the idea that the app offers simple and easy-to-bake recipes for cookies and other desserts.
After reading the suggestions generated by chatGPT, I had an idea to include an icon of a kitchen timer with only a range of 15 minutes to represent how easy it is to prepare the recipes.
However, a frying pan and an egg appealed to me more because I realized I could create an icon of a simple dish to represent easy and simple food that every person can cook easily, for example, a fried egg or a salad.
In the next step, I will ask ChatGPT to give me some ideas for a simple dish.
Honestly, I could come up with simple food ideas, but I wanted to see what ChatGPT would give me.
Act like someone who knows how to cook super simple and easy dishes, and write me a list of 10 simple dish recipes anyone can cook. Please write only the name of the dish.
-Spaghetti Aglio e Olio
-Baked Sweet Potato
-Grilled Cheese Sandwich
-Peanut Butter and Jelly Sandwich
I could generate more and more ideas on how to represent the concept of ‘cooking simple and easy,’ but in the end, using a fried egg would be enough.
At this point, I can sketch the icon, create it as a vector in a design tool like Figma or Adobe Illustrator, search for one on a stock icon website like Noun Project, or use Midjourney to generate it.
Listed below are some helpful tips that can assist you in the process.
Limit the results
To maximize the utility of ChatGPT, it is recommended that you limit the number of results to 5–10 at most. More than this will generate duplicated ideas and make it difficult to choose between reasonable options.
Focusing on the best options is hard when there are so many options. With fewer results, comparing the ideas and making an informed decision is easier.
Add details to the prompt
If you have a specific detail that you want to add to the icon, include it in the prompt.
For example, suppose you are designing an icon to represent investment and want to include the dollar sign. In that case, you can write a prompt like this:
Act like an icon designer and suggest ideas for an icon representing an investment. The icon must include the dollar symbol.
Add your ideas
Don’t just rely on Ideas ChatGPT generates for you; add your ideas and collaborate with the machine, resulting in much more accurate results for your needs.
Use Midjourney to generate the image
Whenever you have an idea, try generating it in Midjourney. It will give you many ideas on creating the visual because you can change the prompt you send to Midjourney and create original design ideas easily and without effort.
Using this strategy can help you in the icon design process and can bring you many visual ideas if you want to design your icon.
In this article, I wanted to show you how to use ChatGPT to generate icon ideas.
I started with a small brief to focus the work process on a target. Then we looked at the importance of writing prompts and saw that writing an accurate prompt is more than necessary to get great results from the machine.
After that, I showed how I try to take the machine’s ideas and elaborate on them more. I call it playing ping pong with the machine. The machine responds to you, and you respond to her. That way, you can focus the machine on your desired results.
At the end of the article, I showed you some tips that can help you.
As I mentioned at the article’s beginning, the process I show here is simple. I didn’t elaborate on the icon design until it’s ready to use, and I only wanted to show how you could work with the machine to generate the idea.
Feel free to contact me on LinkedIn if you have any suggestions or if you use another technique that gives you good results.
Read the full article here