ICON is Doing it Right



As I take stock of my modest accomplishments and lack of any meaningful assets, I have to be honest. I could’ve really pushed harder on this whole self improvement thing a lot earlier, but alas, youth is wasted on the young. The fact that I didn’t write more when all I had to do was work three nights at a bar was a major fuck up.

I get a paycheck every two weeks for writing things and when I want some extra money, there’s always a bit of freelance available to work on. I’m in a nice spot now, but it’s also a dangerous spot. When things are going pretty well, it’s time to reassess and hit even harder. That’s what I’ve learned by studying the work of artists I admire.


The person I’m most inspired by at the moment is Jonathan Ward. He owns the design and restoration company ICON. They do obsessively engineered restomods of classic vehicles. They’re mostly known for working with old Land Cruisers, Broncos, and D200s.

He has a YouTube channel I’ve been binge watching lately. Ward drives is creations around and talks about them in detail. He describes the process, design philosophy, and challenges involved in making these great whips. All of the photos in this post are of his creations. I don’t think there’s a single one I don’t like.

I could probably spend a few pages here talking about the actual vehicles, but if you’re into that sort of thing, just go to his sites and get it from the source. What’s most important to convey here is the dude has a philosophy of design, a specific vision, and a system to deliver that vision. I find everything about it incredible.


Ward runs all of his own social media channels and is fairly conversational with commenters. He turned me on to an idea I never really thought of, but is obvious. I asked him what design books he recommended and he told me he really just reads the biographies of the designers who made the things he likes. Like I said, obvious.

The reason I never thought of this is I’m only recently going deep into design and when I’ve asked designers to recommend books, they always steer me towards broad overviews written about design, rather than by designers. And I would do the same if someone was interested in philosophy, aesthetics or rhetoric. But when you read a person’s own thoughts about what they do, you get to go a lot deeper.

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