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Create a Stylized First Aid Icon in Illustrator

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Read Time: 4 mins
This post is part of a series called Icon Design.
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In this tutorial we'll use a combination of craft and Illustrator's 3D tools to create a first aid icon. You can use the techniques you learn in this tutorial to create realistic rounded box icons of your choice. This works well for complex icons at large sizes and scales down nicely.

Final Image Preview

Below is the final image we will be working towards. Want access to the full Vector Source files and downloadable copies of every tutorial, including this one? Join Vector Plus for just 9$ a month.

Tutorial Details

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS4
  • Difficulty: Beginner to Intermediate
  • Estimated Completion Time: 1 hour

Step 1

Open up a new document and select the Rectangle Tool (M). Create a rectangle and fill it with red.

Step 2

Got to Effect > Stylize > Round Corners and apply a radius of 30pt to the rectangle. Go to Object > Expand Appearance. This will apply the rounded corners. Make a copy of the shape, as we'll need it again later.

Step 3

Now go to Effect > 3D > Extrude & Bevel and apply the settings you see in the image below. Make sure you add an extra highlight and a bevel.

Step 4

Go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow and choose the settings you see in the image below.

Step 5

Create a rectangle filled with gray. This will become the cross for the first aid icon. I filled it with gray for now, but later we will change it to white.

Step 6

Select the rectangle, hit Command + C + F (this will paste the object on top) and then select it with the Selection Tool (V) and rotate it 45 degrees.

Step 7

Select the two rectangles and apply the Unite option in the Pathfinder Palette.

Step 8

Apply another round corner effect (see Step 2) and set the radius to 12pt.

Step 9

Once the shape has been expanded (Object > Expand Appearance), fill it with white.

Step 10

With the cross still selected, open up the Symbols Palette and drag the cross into it. Name it "Cross" and set the type to Graphic.

Step 11

Go back to the red box and open up the Appearance Palette. There, double-click the 3D Extrude & Bevel layer to edit the effect. In the pop-up window, click on Map Art, choose "surface 1" and select the "Cross" we just added into the Symbols Palette. Place it into the middle of the box top.

Step 12

This is what we have so far for the first aid icon.

Step 13

Let's create an illusion of a separation to the box, so it looks like it has a top and a bottom that opens up. Take the copy of the rectangle we made in Step 2 and set the fill to none and the stroke to 1pt red.

Step 14

Select the object and go to Object > Path > Outline stroke.

Step 15

Apply the same 3D Extrude & Bevel Settings from Step 3, but add no Bevel and set the Extrude Depth to 5pt.

Step 16

Create a rectangle and fill it with a white to black gradient. Place it on top of the rectangle we just created. Make sure you set the gradient direction like you see in the image below. We will add an Opacity Mask and the black will hide the object and the white color will show it.

Step 17

Select the object and the gradient and go to the Transparency Palette and click on the small arrow on the right and apply the Opacity Mask.

Step 18

This is what it should look like.

Step 19

Now move the object on top of the box.

Step 20

Let's get on to the box clips. Create three similar shapes like you see in the image below. These object are fairly easy to create. Fill them with gray and the compound object with a gradient of black to white.

Step 21

Apply a 3D Extrude & Bevel again.

Step 22

Once you applied the 3D effect on all three objects, move them together. These three objects make up the clip for the first aid box.

Step 23

Group the three shapes (Command + G) and make a copy. Then place them on the front of the first aid box.

Step 24

Last but nor least, create a shape with the Pen Tool (P) and fill it with a white to gray to white linear gradient. Place it on top of the box and set the Opacity in the Transparency Palette to 80%. This will be the highlight of the first aid icon.


This is the final image. I create a 384px, a 192px, a 64px, and a 32px version. Even as small as 32px, the first aid icon is till recognizable. I hope you had fun creating this little icon.

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