Joshua Mars


Most of what I do is tweak existing designs. When creating a new sign or icon, it's often best to go with a design that matches what a user is already used to. Familiarity aids recognition and encourages correct interpretation of new information. As such, a lot of the work I've done flies under the radar in spaces where the original designs aren't mine. Nonetheless, here are a few small projects that were done from scratch.

Navigating light rail

Spring 2022

Navigating light rail - board train, walk, and destination icons.

I created these icons for a simple pictorial navigation project. The goal was to help people navigate from the airport using public transit. One of the challenges in visually representing directions is depicting the target and the action in a simple, unified way. How do you show people what to look for, and simultaneously explain what they should do? The instructions were intented for people with different abilities to read maps or understand written directions.

First steps

The instructions start at the baggage claim.

Icons overlayed over real pictures of the target can redundantly aid text such as
walk towards the exit” and “go down the escalators.”

Picture at the airport with a walk arrow overlayed. Picture at the escalators with a go down arrow overlayed.

The first photo is taken from where you would stand as soon as you exited security and arrived at the baggage claim. These instructions were designed to be easy to follow. Any search algortithm, including the ones that we use while scanning the horizon for a target, will be faster and more accurate when the search cue is identical to the target. In this case, the cue is a real picture of the target (the exits) from the most likely angle a user would view it from.

It's a simple thing, but notice how the arrows pointing to the target are consistent with the direction the user needs to go.


Picture of the train station with board train here icon.

Stick figure boarding a train with directional arrow.The icons and the pictures they overlayed were designed to be redundant aids to text instructions. The redundancy is layered within the icon design as well. Take a look at the Board Train icon. The direction of the stick figure implies boarding, but the arrow redundantly implies that action as well. The direction closely tracks with the real-world action of stepping sligthly up to board.

Full icon set

Stick figure boarding a train with directional arrow. Stick figure getting off a train with a directional arrow. Board train here icon with stick figure symbol. Get off train here icon with stick figure symbol. Symbol of a stick figure walking. Green exit here icon with stick figure symbol. Walk this way icon with stick figure symbol.
Symbol of a light rail train car. Yellow light rail icon. Yellow light rail teardrop icon. Yellow light rail teardrop icon pointing diagonally. Red destination waypoint icon