My goal for developing icons and logos is to convey the key message with a simple, clever approach.
This icon represents “purification and reclamation” of samples or compounds that are commonly stored and used in research laboratories.
I use the most basic (iconic) form(s) to achieve the best visual representation of a given concept — test tubes are universally associated with science and sample storage, while the arrows convey cyclic movement.
Since the test tube is very iconic for it’s (respective) industry, my goal was to not “lean” too heavily on the test tube form — this sparked the idea to define the (test tube) shape from negative space and have it framed with a visual representation of the action, as opposed to the object.
Contrasted with my pencil sketch, I found slightly curving the edges of the arrows conveyed more movement than the original primary, pointed-triangle shape.
Additionally, including a slightly offset circle brings more attention to the rounded base of the test tube without drawing attention away from the arrows.