Icons for a Good Morning

Sarah Tran
5 min readFeb 19, 2021


Art by IOS14IconStudio

Mornings are absolutely sacred to me. I’m someone who firmly believes that the way you start your day will inevitably set the tone for how the rest of your day will go. For me, I like to start my mornings off slowly and really dedicate the first 2 hours of my day to taking care of myself so I can feel motivated and focused to tackle the tasks of the day.

In preparation for writing this piece, I wanted to see how many icons I could find as I go about my morning ritual. Spoiler alert: there were A LOT. In this piece, I will focus on the icons that are most relevant during my morning ritual, the impact they have on my life, and overall why icons are so significant in visual interfaces.

My Morning Ritual

My days start off bright and early at 8:30am. The sun peaks through the blinds, and without fail my incessant alarm goes off. My body automatically turns over and hits the “stop” button on my phone. I lay in bed for another 5 minutes because I’m not the type of person who can get up on the first alarm yet. When I’m finally ready to get up, I proceed to make my bed so my future self can resist the temptation of getting back in for mid-day naps.

Spotify Play Button

Since I’m still half asleep, I find it extremely helpful to play upbeat music on Spotify to wake my body up. My go-to jams are anything and everything early 2000s R&B and K-Pop. Once I find the perfect playlist, I hit the play button and start singing and dancing along in front of the mirror like I’m on a world tour. After what feels like a whole Super Bowl Halftime show performance, I’ll actually start brushing my teeth and completing all 7 steps in my skincare routine.

Power and Temperature Adjustment Buttons on Flat Iron

The next step in my morning ritual is straightening my hair. I turn on my flat iron and make sure to adjust the temperature so I don’t fry my hair in the process. Now, some people put on makeup to feel put together. Other people may change into work clothes. I like to straighten my hair. The feeling of seeing my bed hair disappear before my eyes is so satisfying. I feel like I can do anything.

Keurig Start Button

Once I’m done getting ready, I head downstairs to whip up some breakfast and a nice hot cup of coffee. I pop a K-Cup pod into the Keurig machine and press the start button pictured above. Like all the other steps in my ritual, I take my time with preparing my breakfast. To me, it’s an essential act in properly fueling myself so I have enough energy to tackle all my tasks and assignments for my day.

New Note Icon on Apple Notes App

The last step in my morning ritual is journaling. I switch between my physical journal and my digital notes app depending on my morning mood. Lately I’ve been gravitating towards my iPhone’s Notes App because I feel like I can type a lot more. As an introspective person with a million thoughts racing through my mind, it’s extremely helpful for me to write down all my thoughts and feelings to clear my mind. During this time, I’ll journal everything from my hopes, worries, and intentions for the day. Doing so makes me feel more zen and centered, and it gets me in the right frame of mind.

Impact and Significance

According to Manuela Langella of Smashing Magazine, icons are defined as “simple images used in context to communicate something. They are easily recognizable and easy to remember.” Simply put, they are supposed to help the users get to where they want to go.

When looking at each of the icons of my morning routine, I noticed that some of them mimic real-world items. For example, the “New Note” icon in Apple’s Notes app resembles an actual pencil and notepad that people would use to jot down their thoughts and ideas. With this connection to the real world, I realized that when it came time for me to use these icons to accomplish certain actions, there was very little thinking involved. It felt very automatic and second nature for me. This in turn means that the icons accomplish the goal of helping me get to where I want to go.

I recognize that each icons serves the purpose of helping me start my mornings off right so I can take on the rest of the day. Not only are these icons I see and use often, but they’ve been emblazoned into my subconscious. I believe these icons impact my life because they’ve helped me build better habits for having more productive days. By no longer having to think hard about the actions I want and how to achieve them, I can focus my time and energy on harder, more complicated tasks.

Icons are significant because they are an essential part of users’ day-to-day lives. They visually express objects, actions, and ideas. When done correctly, they communicate the core idea and purpose of a product without have the user think too much. Users can then focus their time and energy on tasks and actions that are aligned with their personal goals and being.



Sarah Tran

Aspiring UX designer & Slant’d Amplifier. Lover of books, R&B, and This is Us.