Follow the Yellow Brick…


I finished a new project! For this project, I needed to create a sticker that were to share a similar theme, and when printed, the longest length of each had to be a minimum of 3 inches. This project underwent multiple design phases, including sketching, digitizing, and peer reviews. If you want to check out the details, I outlined them on my Behance!

If you are interested in owning your own set, send me a message, or comment below!

Tin Man
Cowardly Lion

All About that Sticker Life

Originals can be found here: Katherine’s Behance Page

…and loving it!

In preparation for the project I am working on, I wanted to show you a professional artist’s sticker set! I am also going to be breaking it down for your as well.

The artist that I found is Katherine May Binamira. She is a freelance Graphic Artist living in the Philippines (link to her Behance, which is where I pulled all of the images that I will be breaking down today).

The Stroke

Circled in red, different stroke weights

Something that helps to unify her designs is that she uses a variety of stroke weights and shapes in each of the stickers. This variation helps to make each sticker retain that hand-drawn feel.

The Lighting and Shading

Red circles=normal shadows
Yellow circles=halftones

Katherine uses two different styles for shading. The most common is that she takes a darker hue of the base color and has it contour around the shape of the objects, to help give it a more 3-D feel.

She also uses halftones in half of them as well. She uses it when she wants to indicate that there is a different texture than the rest of the object.

The Die Cut Border

Red outlines to indicate die cut silhouette was added

And finally, to tie it all off, she applied a die cut border that is offset from the main sticker art. The Yak is assumed to also have a die cut border, but that it does not use white, adding a little variation to the repeated border style.



Rock On!

A Gig Poster

I completed a new project! Check out how it was made on my Behance page! I go into detail about it there! If you have questions, comments, or requests, please leave a comment, or private message me!

Zoom! Enhance!


I was casually perusing around Pinterest this last week, just looking at vector rendered posters for inspiration for projects, I came across this beauty. It intrigued me, so I thought it would be a great image to analyze and break down what made it successfully catch my attention.

The Symmetrical Balance

What always seems to be the design aesthetic that always seems to catch my attention is the symmetrical balance. I outlined in red dashes the compositions boundaries and the mirrored axis. I circled the elements that centered along that axis point; the name of the event at the top, the deep see diver, and the text at the bottom.




The Color Palette

Another thing that stood out to me is the color palette. It only uses two colors: blue and white. Its can seem like a head scratcher, because when you look at it, it looks like a monochromatic color scheme with different values of blue, with some areas look like they are darker than other parts. In reality, it is all just that single blue, and the areas that are darker are achieved because of a technique called halftones.


Halftones are created due to the proximity of one line or shape to another. The closer they are, the darker that area is going to appear. the further apart, the lighter. In this piece, the artist utilizes three general patterns to create the illusion of value contrast in their piece (shown in the draw-over). The rules of which pattern is used is determined by the surface of the object it will be applied to.

Last thoughts

For a poster, the attention attracting elements are what make a poster effective in communicating information to the viewer. If it doesn’t do it immediately, you lost your audience, and whatever the event is, it fails if no one shows up. For this event, the artist created a poster that used a unique two color scheme, halftones, and a symmetrical composition as just a few of his tools to arrive at that end goal. Considering that this was found on Pinterest, competing against so many other vector rendered posters and designs, shows that it even translates on the web very well.

Life is a Journey…

…and so is art!

Over the last few weeks, I have been posting about icon sets, breaking them down, explaining why they work. Today, I wanted to still do that, but with a vector rendered image instead. When I was searching, I came across the poster for a video game called Journey.

What is Journey?

Journey is an indie videogame that was produced for the Playstation 3 in 2012. The objective is to go on a journey as the robed character featured on the poster, traveling from the dunes to a far distant mountain. Along the way, discovering new and exciting environments that are beautifully crafted, solving puzzles, all with in a unique art style. Journey won several “Game of the Year” awards and other nominations, and came to be hailed as one of the greatest games of all time.


The Beginning

As we look at the poster, we see that it has a very simple, yet elegant design layout. As shown by the dotted blue line down the center, we can see that the composition is symmetrically balanced. We also note, that the image almost has a photography-like feel, and that is because the artist decided to place the horizon line on the lower third line (the thirds are marked by the red lines).


The Supported Storyline

Like mentioned above, the poster has a symmetrical balance along the y-axis. When we look at each section of the thirds (separated by the dotted blue line), we can see that centered on that y-axis is a major element that hints as to what the story of the game will take us through. At the bottom, the protagonist is standing alone, facing the end objective, the mountain in the distance, with the title literally saying that the character will undergo a journey from where he is standing, to where he is facing.

The Art Direction

Circled, we can see examples that there is consistent shape building within the poster. Each shape is built without a stroke, creating a softer relationship between each element of the design. When we look at the character at the bottom, we can see that it has more details, but each shape and detail still lacks a stroke, which helps to solidify it as part of that world, and one with environments that it will sojourn through.

The End Game

The poster once again shows through its application of principles of visual depth that it is a game with a cohesive style. A good way to indicate that a journey will happen from points a to b, the artist used atmospheric perspective. I outlined each part of the foreground, mid-ground, and background, as well as provided a strong red border between each illustrate this. The foreground objects are closest to us, so they have a darker value in their colors, as well as appear larger, and as the more towards the background the shapes and objects get, the less saturated and smaller they become. Because the artist also put a couple of different levels of mid-ground between the character and the goal, they want to suggest that the journey will be a long one.

Final Thoughts

I actually had the pleasure of also having the opportunity of playing this game. The poster design does a fantastic job of capturing the almost therapeutic and calming game play of the journey. The poster has very simple elements that are executed perfectly, a perfect reflection of why the game is so fantastic and awarded.

What an incredible…

…Icon set you’ve discovered!

So just like last week, I wanted to break down another icon set. Once again, Facebook (and Lucasfilm, LTD.) provided a fantastic set to analyze. So I am just going to dive right in!

The Icon Set

This icon set are part of Facebook Messenger’s sticker collection. They are fun and more complex emojis, with some dynamic and some static collections. Over the past four years, when a major blockbuster movie hits theater, the marketing campaigns will sometimes create a sticker set to help promote their film. In this case, Lucasfilm, LTD and Facebook created a set for Star Wars; The Last Jedi.

The Common Elements

When we look at this set, the first major element that the twenty stickers are tied together by, is that each of the characters are being framed by a circle filled with a gradient. To create variation through out the set, there are a few different sized circles in the set.

One of the other rules that have been applied is that if the character is as tall as a normal human adult, or taller, then they are cropped from about the waist to mid-chest. The smaller characters, with the exception of R2-D2, are fully rendered.

The Sith

Next, there is a common background depending upon  if the character aligns themselves with the Dark Side. The background is a dark red gradient. For those that are either Light Side, or neutral in their political standing, we see that the set employs a lot of blues and purples, with a couple of yellows to help add some contrast.


One of the major traits of each of these stickers is that if the character’s face is visible, a particular style was implemented. The eyes are almost all identical, with a line being drawn through the bridge of the nose.

Exclamations and Questions

Like I said earlier, these stickers are meant to be a very complex emoji set, so for some emotions, a little punctuation was used to get the emotion across. Where it was used, there were placed in the exact same spot, and break past the circle.

Breaking out

To help create an interesting icon set, it is important to look at each icon’s silhouetted shape. If the shape is plain, you can end up with a very boring icon. To add some visual interest, each of the stickers breaks outside of that basic circle shape on average of 2-3 times. If you look at the draw-over to the right, I circled where each icon broke past the circle.

Some of my own critiques

After analyzing this amazing icon set, I noticed a few things that could be improved on. For example, when I did the “breaking out” analysis, I noticed that there were a few icons that had points where they created tangents with the circle, where they almost escape its borders, but felt content to just touch it (i.e.: C-3PO’s left arm). As for the color of the circles, when it came to the Dark side, I felt it was very well executed, where as for the others, it left a bit to be desired. The missed opportunity I think that they could have used was that the Light side could have all been shades and hues of blue, while the Neutral characters could have been purple. The two yellow stickers feels out of place with the rest of the set.

Hope you enjoyed this post! I will be posting one more time before the end of the week with some of my own icons that I have been working on for the past two weeks!

How do you React?

Let’s find out!

Hello everyone! Sorry it has been so long since my last post- a semester ended, I went to a wedding out of state, work schedule changed, and now a new one has begun. To ease back into the swing of things, I thought it would be a perfect time to once again do a Reverse Engineer post about some professional work, complete with my own draw-overs! Today, I will be analyzing the Facebook Reaction emojis.

About the Reaction Emojis

Facebook Reaction Emojis

Facebook unrolled these set of emojis in February 2016, in response to user request. Up until that point, the only way to interact with any post was to either “Like” by hitting a thumbs-up icon, or to create a thread on the post with a comment. Many users were wanting more options. What if users wanted to react, and not comment, to something sad? Clearly the then thumbs-up icon would be inappropriate for the post, and presented a problem for users. Facebook met this challenge and developed six additional emotion icons for users to use to react to posts. The user would either touch and hold the “Like” button, or click and hover their mouse over it, and all seven emojis would pop up, each with its own little animation and one word description, and then the user would select the emoji that they wanted for the post. After the selection, the emoji would no longer be animated and would sit where the like button was, along with the accompanying one word.

Now to break it down

The Reaction Emojis are a set of icons that follow specific rules that help to identify them as being part of the same system. They are pretty basic rules, but having followed them, the emojis are of professional quality.


The emojis are circles.

Each of the emoji icons are bound within the same shape, outlined in red in the draw-over. Regardless of whether that icon was an silhouetted shape or a face, each of the seven emojis are contained within the same sized  circle.

The Silhouettes

The “Like” and “Love” Emojis

There are two distinct icons in this set; the “Like” and “Love” emojis. These two icons are bound in a same sized circle, and then they are silhouetted on a solid background color. The icon themselves are also relatively the same size within the circle and are centered.

The Face Emojis

Face Reaction Emojis

The remaining five icons are all faces that display an emotion. Once again, each emotion is contained within the same sized circle. The sad emoji is the only exception. It has an added element (the tear drop) that creates a variation in the established pattern, but if it were removed, the emotion would still be contained within the circle and be still easily recognized as part of the same system.

Color Pallete

Color Swatches for the Emoji System

Across the seven emojis, there is a consistent color pallete that helps to tie all of the icons together. In the draw over, I created swatches of the four colors that Facebook implemented in the system. As can be seen, these colors are implemented across all of the emojis.

Some Final Thoughts

Something really interesting to note is the “Like” icon. The  original “Like” icon did not change with the update, and at first glance, the new reaction emojis can feel slightly out of place with it. But because of the icon set’s rules that we just outlined, we can see that they all actually fit together. Facebook created circular shaped icons, created another single silhouetted icon to match the design with the “Love” emoji, and the tear drop on the “Sad” emoji is the exact same blue. Each of the icons are bound together as part of the same system. Well done Facebook!