Imagine All The People #03 // Laura Lane, My Icon Story

Laura Lane is the founder of My Icon Story ~ the perfect personalised gift that can visually tell any story, capture all your special memories and reflect every experience. There is an icon story in us all!

What is creative about your job?

My Icon Story is built around visual storytelling, so it’s all through images rather than words. That means we’re a creative business because we are using visuals to represent something in a different format and every icon designed is added to a library where everyone can access it to create their own art and visuals. Our online platform enables creativity in others, giving them a method to create their own art. From a product development perspective I get to collaborate with brands and come up with ideas that tell their story in a more visual and contemporary way.

What is your creative process if you were coming up with an icon?

I’ve designed about 2000 icons now, and the creative process is to try and produce a ‘like for like’ representation but in a single outline format.  So, for example, if you sent me an image of an old microphone, I would look at that image and then create an outline version of it, using In Design.  A lot of people say to me this is the wrong way to do it, and I should be using Illustrator.  But I self-taught In Design and find it easier. I think it depends on the output of what it is that you are creating.  In Design is generally used for page layout whereas Illustrator is used for logos and illustrations. But whatever works for you right!

Do you ever do anything by hand?

Very rarely – sometimes I sketch out designs and product ideas.  But all of my icons are designed digitally to make them accessible and part of my icon story platform.

Do you do anything away from that work that is creative that feeds into your creativity as a whole?

I also freelance for a content / animation studio and my background was in advertising and media, so I’ve always been in a creative type role.  In terms of stuff outside of work and business, I would say probably not. I would like to say I go to loads of art galleries and museums but I rarely do unless there is a specific exhibition I really want to see. I’m generally not an art gallery person. I also work with a local gym and create and manage their social media for them, as I love to design and produce content.

Say you needed to be creative for a new brand/collaboration, is there something you would do creatively to fill up your cup to get your creative juices flowing?

In my old job I was creative lead for a media agency and I’d often find that I’d be able to run brainstorm sessions with the team, but actually what I find best is working in isolation.  I don’t really have a creative process to get the juices flowing; they just come into my head.

Have you had a ‘secret’ job before this, that you don’t really mention?

I’ve done a fair few different jobs before starting my first proper job after Uni. The one that always sticks is a temp job where I was literally just stapling pay slips to NHS letters for 8 hours solid, and I bruised my hand doing it.  It turns out I’m a great stapler!

Is there anything you’d recommend people to listen to or read, to spark creativity?

I guess it depends, but I do listen to a lot of podcasts – granted they are business-related ones, but there is one that I really love called ‘Conversations of Inspiration’ by Holly Tucker who founded Not On The High Street.  As a business Not On The High Street is one of the most creative of all because it launched a marketplace for all the independent designer-makers to have an online presence and sell their products. Holly interviews people who run businesses, and they talk about their creativity, ideas, and how they got to where they are now.

I don’t think there’s a go-to place for creativity – I am a strong believer of you’ve either got it or you haven’t. Some people may disagree and say you can learn it, but I do believe that it’s either in you or it’s not. Everyone can be creative, of course, but some people naturally have a creative mind. I love coming up with ideas, and I’m definitely that person who watches Dragons Den and says “oh I thought of that years ago”!

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