The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of Hicksdesign. Gentleman and Cyclist

The moon tonight (iPhone through a telescope, sharpened in Photoshop Express) (Taken with instagram)

The moon tonight (iPhone through a telescope, sharpened in Photoshop Express) (Taken with instagram)

First ride out on the singlespeed project. Bit of fettling needed but working well! (Taken with instagram)

First ride out on the singlespeed project. Bit of fettling needed but working well! (Taken with instagram)

When I used to have three establishments in Victorian London… (Taken with instagram)

When I used to have three establishments in Victorian London… (Taken with instagram)

Finally, there is a way of taking a nice cup of tea on a bike ride. The Biologic Vacuum Flask fits in Your Bottle Cage and has a spout to let you drink one-handed, Hurrah!

Finally, there is a way of taking a nice cup of tea on a bike ride. The Biologic Vacuum Flask fits in Your Bottle Cage and has a spout to let you drink one-handed, Hurrah!

Things I’ve learnt about cycling in my first year…

2011 was the year that cycling replaced the “search for the right media centre” as the main blog topic at The Hickensian. I’ve been pretty much starting from scratch in terms of knowledge, and gleaning information from all sorts of sources. Here are just some of things I’ve learnt this year:

  • There are Rules. 87 of them in fact.
  • When mucking about with the stem height on the headset (for the purposes of slamming) you need to tighten the top cap before the stem bolts. If you do the stem first, you can’t tighten the top bolt properly and everything rattles. As I find out once, going downhill.
  • The quick release on brakes is great for whipping the wheel off that bit quicker, just remember to put it down again afterwards. As I find out once, going downhill.
  • Cream tyres look great on a retro build, but after a few short rides they look like you’ve wiped your bottom on them.
  • Mudguards and chainguards protect you from muck, but metal ones are a constant source of annoying rattles.
  • When changing tyres or inner tubes, you need just enough puff in the inner tube to give it some shape. Otherwise it gets pinched by the tyre and you get through quite a few inner tubes. I learnt eventuallly
  • You need a good hard tyre to resist punctures, at least 90-100 psi.
  • Just because a saddle is expensive, it doesn’t mean its right for you. Of everything I’ve tried sitting on this year, from Brooks to Fizik, the ones that suit my bottom best are by Charge: the Spoon and Knife saddles. They can be picked up for less than £20, look good and feel great.
  • The day I made my saddle properly level (with a spirit level) was the day I stopped suffering from numb hands on a ride.
  • The most important accessory/thing to take with you is water.
  • Steel may be heavier, but it gives you a nicer, smoothed out ride compared to Aluminium.
  • There are 2 types of SPD cleats/pedals - SPD's are small, metal and are intended for Mountain Bike use, whereas SPD-SL's are larger, plastic and intended for road bike use.
  • I just love farting around with bikes. Which is why my Peugeot Project from earlier this year is now becoming a Charge Plug inspired single speed project. When thats finished there’ll be another bike project…
I still can’t wrap Bar Tape properly though…
At first glance, it looks like a box of pencils… (Taken with instagram)

At first glance, it looks like a box of pencils… (Taken with instagram)

Cyclists’ Special

Here’s a great find from the dusty depths of YouTube - a British Transport promotional film from 1955. Not only does this feature Tweed (plus fours much in attendance), cycling, a fantastic soundtrack, railways and country pubs, it’s also filmed around the area I grew up in Warwickshire. So if you need an antidote to haggard looking men or hipsters doing trackstands on their fixies*, this is it!

Part One

Part Two

Via the Tweed Cycling Club * I do love Rapha and fixie videos too, its just that, well, this is the complete opposite.
Wearing my daughters’ hipster glasses (Taken with instagram)

Wearing my daughters’ hipster glasses (Taken with instagram)

The Icon Handbook

The Icon Handbook is now available to buy. Here’s what it looks like:

This is a book that I’ve been wanting to write for a long time. Whenever I’ve looked for a book on this subject, the only available publications are reference guides that simply reproduce as many symbols as possible. Where books have gone into theory, they were published decades before desktop computers, and therefore miss the most relevant and active context of icon use. Sometimes the topic is covered as a part of a book about logo design, and amounts to little more than a page or two. So I’ve set out to create the manual, reference guide and coffee table book that I always desired.

It’s aimed at designers who already have basic vector and bitmap drawing skills. It could be that you only have to create a simple favicon, or perhaps you’ve been asked to work on a website or mobile app that requires icons. You might usually rely on a resource like a royalty-free icon set, which may provide common icons but probably doesn’t provide everything you need.

This book begins at the point when you need to create your own icons. Its purpose is to guide relatively inexperienced designers through an icon design workflow, starting with favicons and working up to application icons, as well as inspiring and providing a reference point for existing icon designers. It does not set out to teach you how to draw in a particular application. The aim is not to improve proficiency in particular applications but, rather, to show you how to create icons with the common toolset found in most of them, so you can be more versatile.

Here’s what you can find in the Icon Handbook:

Chapter 1: A Potted History of Icons

A short look at the history of icons, focussing on the the last century, and in particular how ‘icon’ came to mean more than religious painting.

Chapter 2: How we use icons

Looking at the uses for icons beyond simple decoration, how they help us navigate, give us feedback and express our mood. It also looks how not to use icons!

Chapter 3: Favicons

Starting with the simplest form of icons, looking at how to get crisp artwork at small sizes and the various ways favicons are used.

Chapter 4: The Metaphor

Working through the process of discovering if a metaphor already exists, and how to decide on the right one if there isn’t.

Chapter 5: Drawing Icons

Walking through the drawing process, working with simple pictograms and small colour icons, and looking at the pitfalls on the way.

Chapter 6: Icon formats and deployment

There are many different formats and deployment methods for icons, depending on the context, which can have a bearing on how we create the artwork. In particular I cover all the methods for displaying icons on websites.

Chapter 7: Application Icons

We finish on the largest and most complex of all the icons, which are more often than not, photorealistic works of art.

Appendix

Handy reference, including: Common icon badges, overview of drawing and creation tools and a comprehensive icon reference chart.

Along the way, I talk to icon designers such as Susan Kare, David Lanham and Gedeon Maheux of the Iconfactory and many more about their process behind well known icons.

On top of all that, there’s some jolly nice eye candy in there!

Thanks must go to many people (the acknowledgments is 2 pages) but I must particularly thank the team that put this together at Five Simple Steps, including Emma, Nick and Mark Boulton, Colin Kersley and Sarah Morris. Also to the words team: my project manager Chris Mills, copy editor Owen Gregory, and technical editors Gedeon Maheux of The Iconfactory and inimitable Andy Clarke.

You can purchase the digital edition and/or pre-order the paperback which will ship around 30th Jan 2012. There will also be an accompanying website at iconhandbook.co.uk which will contain reference and code examples from the the book, as well as a blog with bits that didn’t make it into the first edition!

The Hickensian is the journal of Jon Hicks, one half of the creative partnership Hicksdesign. See the work we do.

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