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Quick Tip: How to Create a Clean Style Folder Icon

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In the following tutorial you will learn to create a clean folder icon. By using some simple shapes and the Appearance Panel, you will see just how easy it is to make a great looking icon.


Step 1

Create a 250 by 250px, RGB document. Turn on the Grid (View > Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). Next, you'll need a grid every 5px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. You can also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to replace the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Unit > General. These options will significantly increase your work speed.


Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and click on your artboard. Enter 190 in the width box and 140 in the height box then click OK. Fill this new shape with R=28 G=117 B=188 and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 7px radius, click OK then go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 3

Continue with the Rectangle Tool (M). This time create a 65 by 25px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Fill it with R=28 G=117 B=188 and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 7px radius, click OK then go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 4

Select the two shapes created so far and click on the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.


Step 5

Reselect the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 190 by 130px shape and place it as shown in the following image. The snap to grid will ease your work. Fill it with R=39 G=170 B=225 and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 7px radius, click OK and grab the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the top, left anchor point and move it 15px to the left then select the top, right anchor point and move it 15 to the right. Now, your shape should look like in the second image. Select it and go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 6

Let's continue with the file. Select the Rectangle Tool, create a 125 by 180px shape and fill it with white. Select this fresh shape and go to the Appearance panel. Open the fly-out menu and click on Add New Fill. This will add a second fill for your shape. Select it from the Appearance panel, set its color at R=39 G=170 B=225 then go to Effect > Distort&Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below image #2, click OK then add a third fill. Again, set its color at R=39 G=170 B=225 then add the two Transform effects shown below image #3. Don't forget to add 29 in the copies box for the second effect.


Step 7

Select the shape created in the previous step and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Select the resulting group and go to Object > Transform > Rotate. Enter a -83.5 degrees angle then click OK. Now your file should be placed as shown in the third image.


Step 8

Move the group created in the previous step between the two blue shapes (in the Layers panel). Select this group and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below, click OK then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Now, select the three white shapes and fill them with the linear gradient shown in the third image.


Step 9

Select the front blue shape, add a second fill and use the linear gradient shown in the first image. The yellow text from the gradient image stands for Opacity percentage while the white text stands for Location percentage. Add a third for the same shape and use radial gradient shown in the second image.


Step 10

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid) then go to Edit > Preferences > General and enter 1 in the Keyboard Increment box. Reselect the front blue shape, press Control + C once then press Control + F twice. This will add two copies in front. Select the top copy and press the down arrow twice. Reselect the both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=125 G=204 B=237.


Step 11

Reselect the front blue shape and create two new copies (Control + C > Control then F > Control + F). Select the top copy and press the down arrow once. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=33 G=143 B=206.


Step 12

Let's move to the back blue shape. First, set its color at R=39 G=170 B=225 then add a second fill and use the linear gradient shown below.


Step 13

Select the black blue shape and create two copies (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and press the down arrow twice. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=125 G=204 B=237.


Step 14

Reselect the back blue shape and create two new copies (Control + C > Control then F > Control + F). Select the top copy and press the down arrow once. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=33 G=143 B=206.


Step 15

Enable the Snap to Grid. Duplicate the front, blue shape (Control + C then Control + F) then grab the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 220 by 130px shape and place it as shown in the first image. Select this fresh shape, pick the Delete Anchor Point Tool (minus) and click on the bottom, right anchor point. Select the resulting shape along with the copy of the front, blue shape and click on the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with the linear gradient shown in the third image and lower its opacity to 10%.


Step 16

Finally, let's add a simple shadow effect. For this step you will need a grid every 1px. Go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 192 by 11px shape. Fill it with R=65 G=64 B=66, place it as shown in the first image and move it in the bottom of the Layers panel. Next, go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 7px radius click OK then go to Effect > Blur > Gaussian Blur. Enter a 2px radius, click OK, lower the opacity to 25% and you're done.


Conclusion

And there you have it. A folder icon from just a few simple shapes. Try experimenting with different colors and backgrounds to see what you can come up with. Have fun!

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