New Avatar

Old Avatar vs. New Avatar

My old avatar starts to fall behind how I identify myself and my current stage of life. The cartoon/anime style looks way too childish. I want something that’s more abstract and less self-evident.

I doodled a bit in the Notes app on iPad. Nothing promising came up. My drawing skill failed me as always. I decided to directly jump into vectors.

I searched around and bumped into a gorgeous minimalist artwork. It reminded me of the quantum beings in Soul and the Mac’s Finder icon. I started to explore something similar.

Avatar Reference

And there it was, the new avatar.

The Figma Canvas

By no means this is a masterpiece, not even close. But it shows what serendipity looks like in the design process. When asked upon the aesthetics behind it, I replied with a tone mocking on designer’s so-called “storytelling”:

The abstract geometric form on a dark background exudes a sense of depth and mystery, a distant yet seemingly understandable concept that casts a postmodernist gaze on the grand narrative of our time.

You can see it as a ranting face, or two people kissing each other, which stand for the conflicting parts in one’s personality trying to embrace each other as a coherent and integral whole.

Though I often kid about this kind of storytelling as bullshitting, these explanations were not totally made up.

“A sense of depth and mystery”—yes, that’s what I want; “casts a postmodernist gaze on the grand narrative of our time”—well, maybe too much, but it did capture my mood and state of mind: a composed face carried with a slight anger.

More importantly, I didn’t intend to draw two people kissing each other. It was after I tried out the half-black-half-white version that two faces became obvious to me. The interpretation just happened to emerge from what I had put on the canvas.

This is pretty common in my design process. Rarely do I start with a super concrete idea of what I am about to create, nor do I assign meanings to the design only after it’s done. The rationale reveals itself in the creative process. I might have an inkling of the concept I am looking for, but I set out with mostly ambiguity. The process of making is also the process of making sense.

When serendipity happens, the designer may find out that his consciousness is not completely in charge. It almost feels like the creating process has a vitality of its own, and the designer is only here to help it bloom.