Aleen Mean

Aleen Simms, host of the Less Than or Equal podcast, approached me to create icons for categories within her new blog, Aleen Mean. The blog is a personal journal of sorts, allowing her to write about topics that don’t fall under the umbrella of her curated content.

Because the blog appeals to an audience consisting of those who would like to be closer to her, a play on an inside joke was desired. Though she’s a kind and friendly person, others sarcastically joke about her meanness.

Research & Sketching

I began by sketching concepts that would encompass both the mean monster concept and Aleen’s true kindness. This was a key part of the process because any imbalance between the themes or reduction in icon legibility would communicate the wrong message.

I began by researching monsters and what common traits make them stand out, even in the simplest form. Attributes such as number of eyes, substance they are comprised of, and exaggerated facial features were found to be the core of what separates a human or animal from a monster.

From there, combining icons that convey the aforementioned blog categories with a monster-like structure began.

Final Concept

The goo-like structure of the final icons convey the monster theme while the simple curvature and playful addition of eyes when appropriate allow each icon to feel fun, clean, and inviting.

Precision and affordance were top priorities for this final icon set. Each icon is able to stand on its own by conveying the topic while retaining clarity at its small size.


A simple single color palette was chosen for the branding of Aleen Mean. The deep purple conveys a sense of passion and energy.

Because the blog is focused on her personal writing and meant to appeal to an audience that is close to Aleen, this color palette is a perfect fit. Staying true to her energetic personality while speaking to her passion for writing.


The overall branding of Aleen Mean was taken into account during this process.

Museo Slab was used to compliment the clean lines of the icons while retaining the use of serifs in Aleen’s professional writing. With a background in technology, this choice also speaks to simplicity and precise details while remaining full of personality.


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