You love creating icons. At the same time you want to do some good in a world where there is always people in need. So what do you do? You team up with your friends to create and promote a set of 100 top quality icons. Then you make a deal with Iconfinder and other partners to ensure 100% of the money goes directly to help terminally ill children have their dreams fulfilled. This is the story of Dream Icons.
How to support the foundation
The story behind Dream Icons
Wojciech Zasina is Polish designer who normally does corporate design work. But in his spare time he creates icons. It started out just being small projects on Behance for fun, which quickly gained some community love. So Wojciech thought that maybe this could be a way for him to actually do some good, and give back to a group of people in need. After doing some research he found his course, a foundation called Fundacja Mam Marzenie (I Have a Dream Foundation) that supports the dreams of terminally sick children. He teamed up with some of his friends and created the Dream Icons.
Wojciech reached out to Iconfinder and asked if we would sell and promote the icons and also give 100% (icon designers normally get 70%) of the money to his charity. Of course we said yes and also had a talk with Wojciech about how the project came to be.
Jess: How did you come up with the idea for Dream Icons?
Wojciech: It was a long way. It started when I created one icon set in the theme of a hospital with my friend Michael. After we did it, and we also got positive comments from designers on Behance, we started to think about our next project we could create together.
Always when we met, it was like, “Yeah, we need to create something.” “Yeah, let’s do it,” but there was no specific idea what to do. We got tools, we got time, but we didn’t have any idea. It was like an impulse that I just got this idea to create something, and at the same point to support somebody. I need to create something for people and not just for myself, but still, the thing could satisfy me as well.
I started to think, “What can I do to help someone?” I realized that could be a very good point to design for that. The best way to help somebody is to do what you do best. In my case, it was an icon design. I got the idea to create an icon set and provide all these profits, collections to a specific foundation.
Early icon sketches
Doing the research, I found this foundation called Mam Marzenie, which translates to “I got a dream” in English. I was so inspired by their activities. They already fulfilled a thousand dreams for kids. I just thought that, still, it is possible to help them, not just sending money but doing something I really enjoy.
However, I realized that I’m not able to provide all the stuff like web design, web development, copywriting and icon design on my own. I started to find these people that could help me. There are five of us in the team. The three other people, I found in one day. It was the same day I got the idea, so that was the short part. The last person, I got him during the week.
That’s how it started. We just called each other because everyone is from a different city in Poland. One of us is from Paris. I know everyone in real life. However, we’ve never met in this group of five. At the time, there were only calls on Skype and sending emails. We just never met with each other in real, as a group.
Jess: Could you tell me a bit more about the foundation and how the money going to be used?
Wojciech: The foundation is to make dreams come true for kids. These kids suffer from life‑threatening illness. They started their activities in 2004 year. Since then, they fulfilled almost 6,000 dreams. That’s a lot!
Honestly, I didn’t know the foundation before I found them online. I did the research using Google, and I just found this foundation and contacted them, gave them the details of my idea and how could I help them.
Jess: Most icon sets have a specific theme like food, business or UI, but Icon Dreams seems pretty random. Is there a connection between the icons and the dreams?
Wojciech: Yeah. The whole idea was to create an icon set in the theme of dreams. Before we started the icon creation, we asked ourselves, our friends and other people what they dreamed about. The first group of dreams was something not material, like health, a family, something you cannot just touch. The second part was things you can just buy. This was like guitars, bikes, computers, cars, et cetera. That was the second group. The third group was traveling. People dream a lot about going to different places, mainly cities or on the road, but also more generally, to different countries, like to Egypt or, for example, to China, to visit it. There were also some dreams that couldn’t be specified or targeted to a specific group, like, “I would like to fly.” Just like that. It’s impossible, but that’s your dream.
We got a list of around 400 of dreams. We just separated the ones that we liked the most and that we thought could be sold, and be useful to others as icons.
The first stage, we were selling 60 icons. Then we added another 20, and after another month, next 20 icons. Finally we got to 100. Thanks to such general topic like dreams, we had almost endless material. It’s like this topic never ends. We currently don’t have a plan to draw more, but I’m not saying it won’t happen. Maybe in the future, if we have more time, we’ll start drawing them again and sell more of them.
Jess: Are there any specific dreams in the icons that come from the children?
Wojciech: Yeah. However, we didn’t ask them by ourselves, but we did explore the foundation’s website. Unfortunately, it’s only in Polish language. However, you can find all the dreams listed that could be fulfilled, if you would like to volunteer, and also, all the dreams listed that already got made true.
Design iterations of a single dream icon
Jess: Do you have any closing remarks?
Wojciech: I’m glad that I got an opportunity to work on such a project. I thought it would be a challenge to find people willing to do something for free to help other people, but finally it wasn’t difficult. I just find them like that, in one day, as I mentioned. I’m really glad and proud of them that they spend long hours working this project.
It looks very simple, but thinking about the website, about the collaboration, about some organization parts to do with the foundation, to manage the project and the really long hours of this work. Yeah. I’m definitely thankful for them, that they engaged and spent time to do something for others.