Design Work at Autodesk: AutoCAD Utility Design

tags: sketching/illustration, icons, desktop, synthesis

Samples of artifacts I did as part of my work on AutoCAD Utility Design.

These sketches were done as I researched and learned about fiber-optic and telecommunication cables. I worked closely with a utilities SME for the latter work: our process consisted of my interviewing him, collating the gathered information and creating representative sketches, and validating those with him the next time we met.

Synthesis sketch: understanding when/how communication cables can terminate Synthesis sketch: understanding the composition of ducts and fiber/communication cables Synthesis sketch: understanding fiber line diagrams and components Synthesis sketch: understanding fiber fusion and distribution panels Synthesis sketch: understanding how cables can be strung inside of a substation Synthesis sketch: understanding the general components of outside-to-inside-plant fiber/communication design

Icon design sketches/notes. My early ideation and sketch iterations for this array of icons I was given to design.

Icon design in general, especially with such a specific field, is a great visual puzzle. I was able to validate these with colleagues who'd worked for decades as civil engineers before moving into software, and we struck a careful balance between being too specific and too metaphorical, especially as some of the tools' names didn't fully cover the subtlety of the function (e.g., Resolve).

Icon concept/planning/brainstorming sketches, part 1 Icon concept/planning/brainstorming sketches, part 2

The final icons. They cover power poles in various configurations, as well as other utility design tools and elements. AUD 2013 had two UI themes, and these icons had to work against light and dark backgrounds, while also employing existing base-badge patterns and conventions (e.g., the lightning-bolt badge for "auto" and the dotted border for "all").

Final icon designs
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