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Quick Tip: How to Create a Simple Set of Ribbon Icons

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In the following tutorial you will learn how to create a simple set of ribbon icons. First, we'll build the starting shapes using several basic tools along with some simple effects and vector shape building techniques. Next, we'll add extra details and colors using Pathfinder options, dashed strokes, a built-in pattern and some new effects. Finally, we'll add a simple text with a discrete shadow effect.


Step 1

Create a 600 by 300px, RGB document. First, enable the Grid (View > Show 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. Al these options will significantly increase your work speed.


Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create three, 80 by 125px shapes and place them as shown in the following image. Fill them with the linear gradient shown below and remove the color from the stroke. The white numbers from the gradient image stand for Location percentage.


Step 3

Select the left and the middle rectangles and go to Object > Path > Add Anchor Points. Select the right rectangle and focus on the bottom side. Pick the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and add seven new anchor points as shown in the second image. The Snap to Grid will ease your work.


Step 4

Focus on the left rectangle and pick the Direct Selection Tool (A). Select the anchor point highlighted in the first image and drag it 30px up. Move to the middle rectangle. Again, pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the middle anchor point (highlighted in the second image) and drag it 30px up. Switch to the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and click on the left and right anchor points (circles in the second image). Finally, move to the right rectangle. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the four anchor points highlighted in the third image and drag them 10px up.


Step 5

Return to the left shape, select it and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape, remove the color from the fill and add a 1pt stroke. Set its color at R=0 G=132 B=174 and open the Stroke panel. First, check the "Dashed Line" box and the "Align dashes to corners..." button. Enter 3 in the dash box and 4 in the gap box then go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 6

Keep focusing on the shape created in the previous step. Pick the Direct Selection Tool (A), click on the top side and hit the Delete key from your keyboard to remove it. Make sure that the resulting path is still selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius and click OK. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A) and focus on the top anchor points. Select them both and drag them 5px up.


Step 7

Select the middle shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5px Offset and click OK. Select the resulting shape, remove the color from the fill then add the 1pt, dashed stroke and the Drop Shadow effect.


Step 8

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and delete the top side. Select the resulting path and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius and click OK. Finally, select the top anchor points and drag them 5px up.


Step 9

Select the right shape and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -5px Offset and click OK. Once again, select the resulting shape, remove the color from the fill then add the 1pt, dashed stroke and the Drop Shadow effect.


Step 10

Reselect the shape created in the previous step and delete the top side. Switch to the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and remove the seven anchor points highlighted in the second image. In the end you should have two,vertical paths. Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the top anchor points and drag them 5px up.


Step 11

Reselect the three blue shapes and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5px radius, click OK and go to Object > Expand Appearance.


Step 12

Disable the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid), go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set at 1px. Select the left shape and make two copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and hit the up arrow once. Reselect both copies open the Pathfinder panel and click on the Minus Front button. Fill the resulting shape with R=0 G=132 B=174. Reselect the left shape and make two new copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F).

Select the top copy and hit the down arrow once. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=3 G=181 B=207. Reselect the left shape and make two new copies in front (Control + C > Control + F > Control + F). Select the top copy and hit the down arrow twice. Reselect both copies and click on the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with white and lower its opacity to 70%.


Step 13

Reselect the three shapes created in the previous step, group them (Control + G) and bring the group to front (Shift + Control + Right Square Bracket). Move to the middle shape and repeat this step along with the techniques mentioned in the previous step. Do the same with the right shape. In the end your shapes should look like in the second image.


Step 14

Select the left shape, open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance) and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. It's the little white, square icon from the bottom of the Appearance panel. Select this new fill, drag it below the existing fill, make it black, lower its opacity to 15% and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 15

Reselect the left shape, add a third fill and drag it in the top of the Appearance panel. You will need a built-in pattern for this new fill. Go to Swathes panel (Window > Swatches), open the fly-out menu and go to Open Swatch Library > Patterns > Decorative > Decorative_Primitive. A new window with a bunch of nice pattern should open. Look for the "Mayan Bricks" pattern. Make sure that the left shape is still selected, select that new fill, lower its opacity to 3%, change the blending mode to Multiply and add the "Mayan Bricks" pattern. Reselect the left shape, make sure that no fill is selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below and click OK.


Step 16

Let's copy the properties from the left shapes to the middle and right shapes. Here is how you can easily do it. Go to the Layers panel, focus on the right side and you'll notice that every shape comes with a little grey circle. It's called a target icon. Hold alt, click on the circle that stands for the left shape and drag onto the circle that stands for the middle and the right shapes. Continue with the Type Tool (T) and add some simple text. You can use the Pacifico font with a size of 20pt. Set its color at R=245 G=245 B=245 and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the data shown below, click OK and you're done.


Conclusion

Now your work is done. Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tut.

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