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The three most interesting concepts that stemmed from the mind map were: Designing an animal-inspired icon involved much more than one step. I first researched my animal, the octopus, to determine which characteristics make this animal unique. Then, I brainstormed through the means of a mind map to help consider all information I found distinctive to the octopus.

an octopus in disguise, inspired by the mimic octopus known for imitating the appearance of more deadly predators as well as blending into its surrounding environment an octopus with tentacles designed to emulate the distinctive curls seen in art nouveau art and architecture

The initial sketching process came next, which resulted in a diverse selection of ideas. After multiple discussions with my peers, editing out unnecessary information became crucial to the design process. Once I was satisfied with a black and white octopus icon, I was challenged to place the icon into a color environment. Determining how the animal interacted with the environment while still standing out as the most important thing on the page was the primary obstacle in the second phase of the project.


an octopus made from an inkblot, representative of both the ink octopuses use to escape from predators, as well as octopuses advanced cognitive abilities, comparable to the interpretion of a person’s thought process during a Rorschach inkblot test

FINISHED ICON blending in has never been so beneficial.

The second part of the design project asked that I place my finished animal icon into an environment and create a slogan to accompany it in the space. The three initial ideas that surfaced from my brainstorming were:

master of disguise. 

to place the octopus in his natural sea environment, but silhouette other elements in the photograph to help the stylized icon seem more natural, with the slogan “master of disguise” to place the octopus at the bottom of a tea cup meant for tea leaf reading, with the slogan “open to interpretation” to expand on the Rorschach inkblot concept to place the octopus amidst other ink drops and splatters to reinforce the importance of ink to the animal’s identity, with the slogan “see what you want to see” expanding on the Rorschach inkblot concept as well as an element of disguise

see what you want to see.

see what you want to see.

My final images were the result of a long and complex design process. Designing by hand initially and then interpreting that in the computer gave my icon a different look than I would have come up with in the computer alone. I encountered several challenges while designing the octopus icon. Incorporating eight distinct legs without the final image feeling cluttered was important, as well as determining whether a symbolic icon or an illustrative icon was more effective. Placing a stylized icon convincingly into a realistic environment also proved difficult. However, omitting any of these steps in the design process would have yielded a different, and ultimately weaker, final image.

see what you want to see.

This book uses various sizes of Bembo Std, original face cut by Francesco Griffo in 1496 and reinterpreted by Stanley Morison for the Monotype Corporation in 1929. STA 360: Graphic Design I Lauren Paulauskas Fall 2009


Profile for Jennifer Magathan

MSU Portfolio  

Selected student projects. Teaching portfolio Michigan State University

MSU Portfolio  

Selected student projects. Teaching portfolio Michigan State University