Tutorial: How to create a simple icon in Illustrator

icon illustrator tutorial

Icons have become prolific in our society. They have become excellent tools in our fast-paced world for the quick communication of ideas. These little graphical representations allow us, the users, to instantly recognize a file, a program or an app. They are used on our mobile phones to represent apps and they are used all over the web to simplify websites making them more attractive and easier to navigate.

In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to design a basic icon. This basic tutorial will teach you how to use the rounded rectangle tool, how to add a simple gradient and how to use basic shapes to create an image for your icon. For this tutorial, we will be creating a simple camera image however you can create any type of simple image that you would like for your icon.

Watch this tutorial now and follow the steps outlined below. This valuable tutorial will get you designing a new icon right away. You will be amazed at just how simple icon creation is and it won’t be long until you turn into an icon-creating guru yourself.

Tutorial: How to create a simple icon in Illustrator from Raffi on Vimeo.

Step 1 – Create a new document

Select File -> New. The common sizes for icons are 96px, 48px, 32px, 24px and 16px. For this tutorial, we are going to create a 48px by 48px icon. Set the Color Mode to RGB, the Raster Effects to 72ppi and the Units to Pixels.

Step 2 – Make a button using the Rounded Rectangle Tool and the Gradient Tool

Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool. Click on the art board and the Rounded Rectangle Settings menu should come up. Set the height to 44px, width to 44px and corner radius to 6px. We are making the button smaller than the actual art board so that there is room for you to add a stroke to the button or other effects if you would like. Remove the stroke, add a black fill and center your button to the art board.

Select the Gradient Tool. Click and drag a gradient from the top to the bottom of your screen. If you are going to use some custom colors in your gradient, add them to your color swatch now. Do so by double clicking on the swatch and it will bring up the color picker. Choose a custom color and click ok. Drag your custom color to the Swatch Panel.

Once you have created your custom colors, open the Gradient Panel. Adjust your gradient and add your custom colors until you get the effect that you are looking for.

Step 3 – design your icon using basic shapes

Using the Rectangle tool, create the two rectangles that will be your camera. Open the Pathfinder tool and merge the two rectangles. Select them and go to the Appearance Panel (Window > Appearance), click on the stroke option and set the weight to 0.5px and the color to white. Add two circles, which will be your lens and your flash. Group all of the objects of your camera together. Center the camera in the button.

Step 4 – Save to your computer

Go to File - > Save for Web. Select JPEG High and save.

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