Introduction

Music Is Minimalist is a project by designer Anthony Morell—who uses icons to depict songs in simple ways. With a playful eye for words, shapes and life experiences, each icon reads like a creative riddle. At the time of this article, the Instagram account has over 3,000 followers and posts regularly.

Tell us more about yourself. What got you into design?

I'm a 26-year-old French designer and illustrator, living and working in Montreal. I've always drawn since I was a kid, from drawing soccer jerseys to Looney Tunes characters. Later on, I studied Fine Arts and Graphic Design at ESA Pyrenees in the South of France and left for Canada to work four years ago.

How did you come up with the concept for the Music Is Minimalist project?

I started this project 6 years ago, while studying in art school. I wanted to create stuff I love everyday. Listening a lot of music daily, and inspired by a project from Hey Studio, who posted an illustration of a pop culture character everyday on Instagram, I had this idea to create song's icons everyday. So every morning, rain, shine or hungover, I tried to create an icon for @music_is_minimalist.

Where do you draw inspiration from?

I am inspired by my daily life; by everything that happens around me. Life is full of little details that can be very funny if you pay attention to them. I try to observe and play with our habits, our obsessions and also our relationship with technology. Many artists influence me in the Music Is Minimalist project. I love the work of Jean Jullien and his critical and playful approach to modern society. I’m also very influenced by Paul Rand's work. His "Eye-bee-M" poster is pure genius. I love to add a conceptual and playful touch to my icons.

What’s your process like for creating the work?

I always carry a Field Notes notebook with me so that I can write and sketch any ideas I have anytime, anywhere.

Then I draw the icons in Adobe Illustrator. It's a very fast process.

What advice would you offer someone who wants to design better icons?

An icon has to be universal and quick to understand. My advice would be to remove all unnecessary details, so you can focus on the message. Keep the icon the most simple possible. Try to look at your icon in a very small size, and if it’s still recognizable, you've won!

How did/does creating an icon every day help you grow as a designer?

Developing this project allowed me to bring things I love into my designs. From what started as daily Instagram posts, has evolved into a book. This evolution helped me discover and work on the process of making a book, from legal stuff to the printing part. It also helped me to develop my minimalist style over the years, and keep a daily creative routine.

Conclusion

It's evident that Anthony's consistent practice of creating icons has helped him grow as a designer. You can follow his work on Instagram (@anthony.morell and @music_is_minimalist). If you're looking for a new coffee table book, consider purchasing Anthony's Music Is Minimalist book—featuring 365 graphic parodies of music titles in the form of fun and universal icons.