It's been about a week since I finished designing all the main symbols for the fantasy world of Alkairos. Creating the iconography that would represent nations, government, social classes, military, and even religion was an eye-opening experience, it has allowed me to understand how iconography can be used in new ways to represent new concepts using the culturally familiar. Not a day would pass by where I couldn't stop thinking about new symbolic arrangements, and how they could portray ideas without having to read complete descriptions before building a mental image.

All of it was by gut instinct. Designers know this feeling, when you move images around, tweak, re-size, crop and stop... when everything works perfectly together, we know. The idea is done, the design is created, the message is relayed, the design process is a success.

Internet iconography was the selected medium to create these designs, and I chose this type of symbols because they are the easiest to identify in our generation, possibly relaying the visual message faster than other shapes and symbols.

I remember one day going by so fast, I had forgotten to eat, or take a shower, or turn on the lights on after sunset. I was in the zone, I refused to answer texts, use social media, and barely mumble and nod when asked something by the familiar person by my room's door. Creating designs and logos is something I get easily hooked on, but it didn't come easy. Planning was key.

I had imagined the symbols I was trying to make, many weeks before I even started. It was a mix of pen, paper, lunch breaks at work, first hours after waking up while still in bed, and the usual cigarette break. Once the designs hit the digital screen, the colors and light moved the concepts into a whole new direction, and it was exciting, it felt like a good omen. It meant I figured out something that worked better, it meant that I learned something, it meant that my vision evolved, it meant that I'm living in reality, where nothing goes as planned and everything ends up being improvised, it meant that I was creating, and therefore, alive.

After designing the symbols and uploading them to serve their purpose at my fantasy world blog, something stopped me. I seemed to have been staring at them in the computer way longer than I should have. Being the loudest of neighbors in a world of shapes, all logos demand attention, and know how to get it. They screamed for another purpose other than representing an idea, they wanted to shine on their own, so I set them up to be seen by themselves.

I began playing with background and colors, all sourced from public domain images. I was inspired mostly by electronic music covers. Once I placed each logo behind its new background home, I felt like they were perfect to be seen, as in a spotlight. They were uploaded to my Instagram account and they really do pop. I love how they look, and I love what they say about my art, without saying anything. That's the beauty of iconography, of shapes, of logos.

In a world where every picture is a story, I believe that symbols are the legends that live on. They are simple to build, easy to see, quick to relate; and hard to forget.

Designing Symbols For A Fantasy World

The Fantasy World of Alkairos

The plausibility of a conworld came to me when I was sixteen. Living in a fantasy world or creating your own world was something that I became obsessed about since as far as I can remember. What is a conworld if nothing but a fantasy world, a paracosm, a place to just use as a framework and create from?

A conworld came easy to me rather than writing a book or story. With stories, there needs to be a message bound between its chapters. A fantasy world just needs to be what it is, and nothing more.

Places, characters, creatures, magical items, everything. I had so many half written stories in my mind, and it felt awful to just leave them hidden, so I put them out by bits on the web. I published some artwork, designs and poetry, but it felt more like analyzing the remnants of a lost civilization, rather than experiencing the continuously fresh ideas that kept popping into my head, from this fantastical place.

After many months of sporadic note taking and scribbling, I finally decided to materialize this world onto pages of content and images that I could go back to. The result was an online guidebook of sorts, a digital index of a world that encompasses everything I had ever imagined.

I named this world Alkairos. It still needs more work, but I've written enough of it to be published online. As more ideas and artwork comes out, I'll be adding it to the web site, both to keep updating it and to keep creating more art.

Alkairos is a fantasy world that became an extension of my creative writing and drawing. It wasn't meant to be the final product of my artwork, but only part of the process. However, I think that making a fantasy world accessible online would help to place some art in a better context than simply publishing work without access to the meaning behind it.

And that's what this crazy fantasy world is to me. A secret vice, and the place where my ideas go to grow.

Link: The World of Alkairos

A Fantasy World Named Alkairos

Natalie Orcen - Original Character

Natalie Orcen