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I am looking for a symbol that suggests beauty, and connotes relaxation as well.

The context is that I am making an icon for a spa and salon finder service. At the beginning it seemed like a rich topic with a lot of potential symbols. However after some research, it seems like beauty and relaxation form a spectrum, upon which various symbols lie on one side or the other.

The usual suspects are nature (floral - lotus), (bird - peacock, swan), (other - butterfly) but I feel each of these lean too much in one direction (towards beauty) or the other (towards relaxation).

What is your thought and research process when it comes to a situation like this?

  • Good question and analisis. Probably one aspect can be achived by color or style. So you have 3 variables, not just 1. – Rafael May 22 '15 at 18:14
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    This is a pretty broad subject with potential to become a brainstorm free-for-all. SE isn't a great format for "solve my design problem" questions, but I'll be interested to see what comes of it. – plainclothes May 22 '15 at 18:27
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    This is my first question on this SE so admittedly I'm not sure if it is a great fit, however I'm also trying to observe and understand the creative process if any that folks use. For example I generated the multiple symbols mentioned, from the initial idea of 'lotus', by recognizing the floral sub-class, traversed upwards to identify the nature class and examined neighboring sub-classes in that class. I recently was introduced to moodboarding via this SE on another question, looking forward to learning more techniques. – Pranab May 22 '15 at 18:41
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    Aren't you leaving out the search/find aspect? If it's a service for finding beauty and relaxation places, isn't finding one of the primary aspects to be communicated? – Dom Jun 11 '15 at 12:29

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Water is a good symbol to represent relaxation; The sound of the flows, rain, purifying and refreshing effects are all things that brings a lot of positive relaxing feelings.

Then for beauty, I think the hair of a woman are also an easy symbol often associated with beauty.

So what I could see is a mix of these 2 symbols together (see file attached, just a draft of copy/paste graphics from the web, nothing original). I'm just not sure this is really a symbol since it's 2 symbols combined together. And if you're looking to create an icon, it may not look very clear at a small size.

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Another path you may want to explore is the Zen style and the soft rocks that are often used in spa salon as well.

The way they are relaxing is because of how it automatically reminds people about the "zen culture" but also maybe remind some people about the spa treatments using these rocks. The shape can also bring to mind the water and wind that soften them.

For the beauty part, these rocks have an interesting symmetry that is pleasing to look at and they are also often piled up in a way that I personally find full of beauty. Probably it's its simplicity that makes it so interesting in fact.

These rocks could be easier to recognize than my previous suggestion if made into a graphic for an icon. The sample attached might not be perfectly good for an icon but there are tons of nice pictures online that you may find better for this use.

I hope this helps!

Zen rocks and draft woman/water montage

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Can I suggest to use a cat image? I don't aware of other examples of extreme beauty which possess the best relaxation in its genes....

enter image description here

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Here are some ideas that pop to mind from the words:

I think the best representation that describe both types of business is a women.

  • A Women line art profile of there head with elongated curves. This could easily incorporate a line that goes along the outside to make a circle as well. Depending on the size you're making, it may be hard to see something like this at such small sizes.

women head logo

  • A single leaf (example from font awesome)
  • Rocks placed on each other
  • Water drop
  • Water Ripples
  • A Lilly pad on ripple water
  • A Wave
  • A sun
  • Abstract Yoga pose (Where a person is crossing there legs)
  • Stick in Jar thing (Idk what it is called but we have one in our office)

jar icon

  • A candle
  • 3 pieces of long grass

In my opinion I don't think you have to pick something that is so finite that represents both categories to a "T". The reason I bring up these words is that they remind me of something clean & healthy, or a transformation.

You may also get inspiration from the company name itself. Some logos I have seen in the past create a unique design out of the first letter in the company name.

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The concept of a relaxed-looking female with styled hair/make-up seems appropriate in my mind. Something along the lines of this icon from thenounproject:

hair/beauty symbol

She has a beautiful appearance, and looks quite relaxed as well.

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When you're designing it keep in mind the psychological research that has gone into colors and their effects on mood. Here's a great often cited research paper that tacks colors to moods: http://citeseerx.ist.psu.edu/viewdoc/download?doi=10.1.1.407.2395&rep=rep1&type=pdf

It seems to be common that blue and green seem to be the most calming and positively received colors.

You can go to scholar.google.com and search more about the emotional response of colors if this isn't satisfying.

Here's a link that in short and among other things, says that realistic looking plant/foliage heavy visual stimuli produces a calming effect and has with success been previously used for therapies

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3660240/

I'm a very logically thinking kind of guy so that's why I took a hard psychological research route but I like what I've found and hopefully you do too!

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Oh man this is a year old but I instantly had an image cone to mind. I'm sure your site is up and running by now with an icon you're quite happy with, but I picture a basic outline drawing of a woman with her hair up in a towel wrap and cucumbers over her eyes. The towel showing she's just freshly cleaned (cleanliness/beauty closely related) and the cucumbers are pretty stereotypical for spas and relaxation. You could even do a splash of colour with a green face mask and blue towel for calming colours.

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One that comes to mind is a piece of cucumber, you know that generic image of a woman with a face-pack on and cucumber eyes relaxing next to a spa pool....

A cucumber slice vector/cartoon would fit nicely as an icon.

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A gently angled flower stem (with flower) with a location marks for a leafs. Location marks suggesting searching/mapping, flower for beauty and the gentle angle suggesting relaxation. Colors and typography appropriate with that concept. But that's just one idea.

The process to reaching these ideas and concepts though is similar throughout any design process. You get the requirements and then you start the ideation process, identifying symbols, visuals, colors, typography, and other elements that might work in a solution. A lot of this ideation process is simply resource gathering, thinking, sketching, testing, and really, playing. You are flexibly experimenting to find ideas and concepts that will work and address the project/problem requirements. Once you have a few strong concepts you move on to a more constrained process of developing design comps which present the best concepts in a more formal presentation in preparation for feedback. Feedback leads to further iterations, development and refinement. Usually of the core concepts already identified, but sometimes leading to further concepts. And thus the process moves on from informal to formal, unconstrained to constrained, raw and undeveloped to developed and polished - until eventually the final design is arrived at, approved and implemented.

If at any point in the design process - but ideally near the beginning before formal decisions have been made - you're not happy with the concepts, take a break and go do something else. Subconsciously your mind will still work on the problem while you go do something relaxing and this can often lead to flashes of inspiration that would not be possible otherwise. Have a small notebook and pen/pencil handy though so you can capture those ideas.

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Sample image for you topic I simply tried to draw something which can touch your subject , i made this graphics in 30 min so please let me know if you like it

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    Welcome to GD.SE Prashant! Could you explain why your graphic suggests beauty and relaxation and how you came to that conclusion. I think that would better help OP. Thanks. – Hanna Jun 16 '15 at 17:15
  • Hello Johannes, The calmness of her face shows that she is quite relaxed, and she is trying to imagine something so that she is smiling very slowly which shows the beauty of the subject , i am not so good in explaining but i just try to represent what comes in my mind when i first listen word beauty and relaxation – Prashant Jun 17 '15 at 5:20
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It's naturally a bald head. A person who has bald head must be free of all worry of coming or ongoing loss of hair. Draw it without any drops of sweat to make the impression of relaxation stronger. Give a little egg like shape to it. That's because nothing is more beautiful than a sign of new birth. To make it be apart of somehing cooked, insert a little egg tooth that has penetrated trough and just about starting to expand the route for the upcoming birth.

enter image description here

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Ying-Yang symbol. Baby blue and white.

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