Get to know James McDonald and How He Launched Iconic using Lemon Squeezy

JR Farr  |  July 1, 2021

If you’re familiar with James McDonald, you know what to expect when it comes to his design skills. For those not familiar with James, he’s built a reputation as a world-class UI and icon designer. Amassing over 20,000 followers on Dribbble and inspiring so many other creatives with his incredible work.

Recently, James launched Iconic using Lemon Squeezy and so far, it’s been a smashing success. I had the chance to sit down with James to talk about what he’s been up to lately, some insight into his design process, and what’s next for Iconic.

1. Let’s start with the basics. Who is James McDonald?

Hey there! I’m James, I’m a 31-year-old designer based in the UK. Currently, I’m working as a Designer at Tailwind Labs. I only just joined the team at Tailwind this year, before that I was freelancing and running my own company at Wireframe.

2. What does a typical day look like for you?

I try to keep to a strict schedule during the week. I like to wake up around 7am and start my morning slowly. Usually grab a cuppa and head downstairs for a workout. After that I start my day around 9am, typically checking my emails and catching up with what the team have been upto whilst I’ve been asleep. 

I’ll usually work till around 5pm then my evenings are usually filled with either watching football, grabbing dinner with friends, or relaxing on the sofa with a movie and chocolate lol.

3. You’re well known for your icon and UI designs. What’s your design process like?

I always find it a bit strange when someone says I’m well known for icon design. I just like to think I’m half decent and still learning, ha! I’m definitely winging it most of the time. The same goes for UI design.

I always feel a bit dirty answering this question, because I don’t really have a process. I just spend a lot of time in Figma, exploring different features like shadows/colors/layout and throwing as many ideas as I can to a blank canvas until something sticks.

It’s probably not the most conventional process, but it works for me.

4. Where do you find your design inspiration?

Design inspiration comes in many formats for me. I love to get outside and take in the fresh air, it usually kickstarts some thoughts in my head.

On top of that, design inspiration also comes from other designers that I follow on Twitter or Dribbble. I love when you come across someone you’ve not seen in the community doing great things – always refreshing when that happens. Usual places for inspiration are Dribbble, Land-Book (there’s probably a few more I can’t think of right now).

5. What’s your work setup?

Right now I’m working on a late-2020 Macbook Pro, which is hooked up to a beautiful Apple XDR Display. 

6. You recently launched Iconic using Lemon Squeezy. Can you tell us what your experience was like? 

Iconic has been a project in my head for a good 5+ years. I’ve always wanted to build out my own icon set that people can use as they please. It all started around March when I and Orman got talking. We realised that we’d know each other for a good 10+ years on the internet, and had never really collaborated on anything. So we decided that we would build Iconic.

The timing couldn’t have been more perfect. With this collab, not only was I able to work with Orman but also the entire Make Lemonade team. They recently launched beta access to their latest product, Lemon Squeezy which ended up being the perfect solution for Iconic.

All in all, Lemon Squeezy literally took care of everything. No need to think about taxes, VAT, license keys, etc. The setup really was easy-peasy. While we were getting ready to launch Iconic, we realized we needed a few custom features like license key variables, product variant controls, and some reporting items. The new features were rolled out in a day and haven’t had any issues since launch.

I’ll be honest, working with the Make Lemonade team was a treat. Everyone else on the team has done the heavy lifting in terms of dev work and making sure everything runs smoothly. I’ve got the easy job of designing the icons. It’s been a super fun experience the last few months and launching the new Pro icons has been something I’ve wanted to do forever now. I’m really proud of little ol’ Iconic and hopefully, people are finding the icons useful.

7. What are your future plans for Iconic?

Who knows… world domination? Jokes.

We really want to push the boundaries with Iconic. We have a few ideas in the pipeline. We want to make sure icons are easily accessible to everyone, that’s why we released 200 for free to begin with. We also want to collaborate with other icon designers out there and start building a portfolio of beautiful icons people can use. 

We want to try out everything. We’ll throw lots of ideas at a wall and we’ll see what sticks. Right now, people seem to enjoy the consistency throughout the set, so we’ll continue to do that. Another short term goal is to iron out as many bugs as possible and make for a fluid, responsive user experience.

Stay up to date with James

Thanks for the interview James! Don’t forget to follow along with his progress.

Tailwind Labs @tailwindlabs