In 2015 I decided to dedicate some time to advocate for careers in technology. I was particularly keen to encourage girls and other women in this direction, as there's so few of us in the workforce and it's an exciting space to work in.
I had also been a fan of the Noun Project for some time, so when I found out about their "Women in Technology" Collaborative Collection of icons I was determined to contribute!
I've always enjoyed drawing but considered my skills as a "work in progress". Nevertheless, I enjoyed the process of brainstorming and sketching, and then refining and finalising the artwork in Illustrator.
While sketching, I wondered whether I should try to tackle the subject more broadly, but it felt right to create something that spoke to my own experience. I'd recently given a talk at our local web developer meetup, so I was keen to show a woman speaking about code. I also wanted to reflect the fields of user experience and web design.
In the end, I chose three icon subjects: a tech speaker, a web designer, and a web developer.
When I published the icons, a friend asked whether I could have suggested the figures were women in some other way than their hairstyle. I'd worried about this as well – I didn't want to exchange one gender stereotype for another! I think in this case, though, a small stereotype has helped to combat a bigger, more entrenched stereotype.
Looking back on these icons, I can see many things I would do differently now. To begin with, the line width is inconsistent and I would be more disciplined with the geometry. I'd like to revisit them one day, and maybe contribute more icons to the collection!
As of now, the end of 2016, my "web designer" icon has been downloaded over 1700 times; the others over 250 and 350 times each.
You can view my icons – and others – in the Noun Project's "Women in Technology" Collaborative Collection.