Iconography: Using Shapes to Make Review Icons

Maybe you have noticed there are often square icons or labels at the tops of my review posts.  I use them to tell you about the book.  I think I owe the idea to another blogger or two, like Parajunkee, but I wanted to do them my way.  You need to have some kind of software or access to an online service where you can make graphics and manipulate the contents. I use photoshop.  Photoshop Elements is the consumer-level and less expensive version. I believe it would allow  you to do this type of work – it did when I used it. I know Parajunkee.com was creating and selling really nice icons.

I use a square format. It’s standard, and holds enough information. I use a 1 by 1 inch square at a high resolution.

1. Choose a topic or something you want a label for.  Something from the book that stood out or genres or sub genres.
I wanted to make an icon for Eff-Bomb; some people don’t like a lot of “fuck” in their reads.This is a warning label!

2. Then you have to make a picture to go with it. There are several ways to get graphics. Find a Public Domain image, buy an image, or draw your own.

Today I am going to show you how I created a simple, drawn icon. Drawing doesn’t have to be complicated.


Final F Bomb Icon.

I don’t know if any real bombs ever existed like the “classic” picture in my head.  It was on cartoons: a round object with a fuse on it. But, I think it is a recognizable symbol for the concept, and it is sort of a pun.

Here’s How I made it with simple shapes and layers in Photoshop.

In Photoshop, each shape is a layer of the drawing. They are parts of the drawing that are arranged in layers so certain parts are visible as they would be if it were a real object would be as you observed it.

How to make an f-bomb


Obviously, Drawings can be very complicated or less so.  Here is a slightly more complicated icon I drew by manipulating shapes and adding lines with a brush or pencil. This was my first review icon.
Spanking Icon
You can do something similar in word by creating a groups set of lines and DRAWN letters and then saving it as a picture (ctrl-click) like the below rendition of F-Bomb:

F-Bomb icon made in MS-Word

It’s not as sophisticated but it works.  And, you could also do something similar in Powerpoint I believe.

Most of the time I use public domain or purchased images to make the icons you see. I will talk about those another time. Keep an eye out for more on creative ideas for your blog!