As 3d modeling and animation begin to rise and dominate the scope of design within digital media (see Kroger and DQ), these 13 icons were conceptually designed to represent their respective main attractions at the Seattle Pacific Science Center. Though way-finding vector illustrations are few and far between, this set of icons is a small introduction into how up-and-coming 3d symbols can aid web navigation and comprehensive brand marketing. With the advancements made in 3d cartoons, now more than ever are they prevalent even in our very adult lives. This project aims to show how 3d modeling can be used to breathe life into the very things and places we know and love.


View all 3d designed icons below


Designed for Marks and Symbols class, my design partner Ashten and I wanted to choose a place close to home that presented an opportunity for a new set of symbols, which for us was PSC. After taking a look at their website, it became clear that some of their navigation was not well directed and could use an upgrade. Because PSC is a place for kids' discoveries, we wanted to find a medium that would appeal to folks of all ages and 3D modeling sounded perfect. With only 5 weeks time to learn and design with a new software, Cinema4D became the first hurdle in our foresight to jump over and we quickly adapted.

Before getting started, we needed some pinspiration. This is our moodboard for the style and feeling of what we wanted to see in our final poster.

We each drew quick thumbnails of what each symbol could look like, 3 for each symbol, to be exact.

With the help of our peers, we narrowed down our list and broke down specific elements of each symbol to model. Onto modeling we go!

It all started with a cube. You wouldn't think it, but I was very proud of this planet; yes, a ball with a ring around it. Though it soon developed into more complex objects and shapes. While Ashten focused more on hard surfaced and geometric objects, I was responsible for the more organic shapes. But ultimately, our process involved lots of sending files back and forth for edit, as well as cool YouTube tutorials.

Different iterations were made for some symbols as we kept refining our models. Meanwhile others were discarded in the narrowing process :(

(swipe through)

In the last steps leading up to our final poster, we created many layouts. Try TRY TrY again!

collage style

Isometric view


Callout lines

Blueprint/periodic table-esque

Take Away

Though this project was short and sweet, had we were given more time, this would have been a nice start for an in-person way-finding project. We would have liked to experiment more with 3d animation and add motion to these still pictures. It also appears that PSC themselves have updated their website to aim towards online learning and navigation.

Other work