Building a visual identity for a software product is a process that usually starts in my head. I start thinking of how I can relate to what the product is or should be about. I link it to my past experiences and the knowledge I have of the domain it belongs to. I think of how I can make sure the users perceive the product as intended and its image is representing the function of the product.
After that, the "discussion" moves on paper. I start sketching with a pencil on a blank canvas the ideas I got from the previous step.
Then I move into a graphic design software application (like Adobe Illustrator, Photoshop, or Animate) and start creating digital versions of the analog sketches I just did. Usually, I get 2-3 different versions and I settle on the one that will become the image of the product.
Even if I can't call myself a graphic designer I know how to use some graphic design tools. Most of the time I can create what I think of in terms of design. For my Days of X project, I'll go through the 3 steps I previously mentioned to get out something usable.
So how can I relate to Days of X as a future user? The entire experience for tracking my progress in the 100 Days of Python journey was related to using the grid of boxes printed on a sheet of paper. There I scribbled something, each day, in the box that corresponded to the number of days passed since I started.
So a reference to a calendar within the icon would make sense. Maybe a little grid with some filled-in shapes and unfilled-in shapes would hint users at what the application does.
Taking this to the sheet of paper we ideally get something like this:
Sometimes I jump directly to the digital sketching and drawing and skip entirely the hand drawing (and it shows).