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Design

How to Create a Set of Flat Clock Icons in Adobe Illustrator

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Difficulty:IntermediateLength:MediumLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Despite the fact that many people nowadays use their smartphones to check the time, the clock remains one of the most popular items of the interior. There is a huge variety of shapes and colors and types of clock around us: kitchen timers, alarm clocks, flip clocks, wall clocks, cabinet clocks, and many other kinds of clock.

In this tutorial we’ll be creating three different types of clock in a trendy flat style, applying solid colors and geometric shapes. We’ll learn to design the clock face, working with the Rotate Tool and using other handy tools and functions of Adobe Illustrator.

By the end of this tutorial, you’ll be able to create any kind of flat objects, whether those are flat clock icons or cooking icons or anything else. Make sure you’ve browsed the vector section of GraphicRiver for more inspiration. And let’s start! 

1. How to Design a Kitchen Timer

Step 1

We’ll start by making the clock face. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a 95 x 95 px light-beige circle.

Copy the circle and Paste in Back (Control-C > Control-B). Scale the copy up to 175 x 175 px, setting its new size either in the control panel on top or in the Transform panel. Make the Fill color a bit darker.

make the clock face from ellipse

Step 2

Let’s depict the minute and second graduation marks of the clock face, starting from the top. Grab the Line Segment Tool (\) or the Pen Tool (P), hold Shift and make a short line with red Stroke color. Head to the Stroke panel and set the Weight to 2 pt and Cap to Round Cap, making the line thick enough and rounded at the tips.

create strokes for the graduation

Step 3

Select the stroke with the Selection Tool (V), hold Alt-Shift and drag down to make a copy at the bottom of the clock face. Group (Control-G) the created strokes. 

Make sure that both strokes are centered perfectly. To do this, select the strokes together with the circle and click the circle once again to make it a Key Object. Open the Align panel and click Horizontal Align Center.

Duplicate (Control-C > Control-F) our group of strokes and rotate the copy 90 degrees.

align and add more strokes

Step 4

Now we’ll be adding minor graduations for 60 seconds. Duplicate those vertical red strokes that we created earlier, change the Stroke color to brown, and set the Weight to 1 pt. You can make the red strokes invisible by clicking the eye icon in the Layers panel in order not to be distracted by them.

add minor graduation

Step 5

Keeping our group of strokes selected, double-click the Rotate Tool (R) and set the Angle to 360/60 in order to calculate the value automatically. Click Copy to create a new pair of strokes. Press Control-D to repeat the last action and continue pressing Control-D to add all 30 pairs of strokes.

Now we can make the red strokes visible again and Bring them to Front (Shift-Control-]), above the brown strokes.

use the rotate tool to add graduation

Step 6

Now we’ll move on to the body or the case of our timer. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 140 x 145 px red rectangle. Send it to Back (Shift-Control-[), beneath the clock face.

Select both the left and right top anchor points of the rectangle with the Direct Selection Tool (A) and pull the circle markers of the Live Corners to make the top of the shape fully rounded.

make the case from the rectangle

Step 7

We can also set the Corner Radius of the top corners to 15 pt in the control panel on top, while keeping them selected with the Direct Selection Tool (A).

Now we’ll add some dimension to our shape, creating a rim around the clock case. Select the case and go to Object > Path > Offset Path and set the Offset value to 5 px, leaving all other options as default. Make the new shape a bit darker.

apply offset path to add dimension

Step 8

Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and let’s add a small stand in the bottom of the case. Create a 115 x 15 px dark-red shape with 7.5 px Corners.

add a rectangular stand to the clock

Step 9

Let’s add a hand to our timer. Take the Ellipse Tool (L) and make a 25 x 90 px red oval. Pick the color from the case of the clock using the Eyedropper Tool (I).

Duplicate the oval and squash it to 9 x 88 px, making the top shape a bit lighter.

add an oval tumbler to the timer

Step 10

Switch to the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 33 x 55 px dark-red shape. Send it Backward, beneath the hand, by pressing Control-[ twice.

Make the top corners of the shape slightly rounded, setting the Radius to 9 px.

add details to the tumbler

Step 11

We need to make the bottom of the shape slightly arched to make it fit the clock face. Take the Curvature Tool (Shift-‘) and pull the bottom edge down to bend it.

use the curvature tool to bend the shape

Step 12

Let’s add a final detail to our timer: a gentle highlight over the plastic case. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 55 x 190 px shape of a slightly lighter red color than we have for the case.

Select both the case and the rectangle and take the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M). Hold Alt and click the top piece of the rectangle to delete it.

use the shape builder tool to delete the unwanted part

Step 13

Delete the bottom piece of the rectangle using the same method—and there we have it! Our kitchen timer is finished!

Let’s move on to the next clock.

kitchen timer is finished

2. How to Create a Flip Clock

Step 1

We’ll start designing our flip clock from its screen. Arm yourself with the Rounded Rectangle Tool and make a 170 x 85 px light-yellow shape with 8 px Corner Radius.

Keeping the shape selected, go to Object > Path > Offset Path and apply 10 px Offset value. Fill the new shape with dark-green color.

make a screen from rectangle and offset path

Step 2

This time either apply Offset Path once again or just create a new rectangle of 210 x 130 px size beneath the previous two. Fill it with vivid turquoise color and set the Corner Radius to 25 px, thus depicting a plastic clock case.

Add a darker rim to the turquoise shape by either adding a 3 px Offset Path or by creating a 220 x 140 px rectangle with rounded corners.

add a clock case

Step 3

Create a 170 x 10 px dark-turquoise rounded rectangle for the stand and Send it to Back (Shift-Control-[).

Let’s make some buttons. Add another rounded rectangle of 120 x 25 px size on top of the clock, filling it with the same dark-green color as we have for the edge of the screen. Place the button beneath the clock case. Add another button on the right side of the clock, applying a dark-turquoise color.

add rectangular buttons to the clock

Step 4

Now it's time to add the figures! I’m using the Type Tool (T) and Bebas free font to set the time to 19:30.

Object > Expand the text, turning it into editable curves.

add time to the display using type tool

Step 5

Move each figure separately, if needed, so that the spacing between 9 and 3 is slightly larger than the rest of the gaps.

Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and let’s add 37 x 76 px dark-green shapes for the flipping elements beneath each figure.

You can create one rectangle on the left and then just drag it to the right while holding Alt-Shift to create a copy. Then press Control-D twice to repeat your last action.

Use the Align panel to align the rectangles to the Horizontal Center of the figures.

add flipping rectangles

Step 6

Use the Line Segment Tool (\) or the Pen Tool (P) to add a divider. Hold Shift and make a vertical dark-green line across the center of clock face. Set the Weight to 2 pt in the Stroke panel.

And now let’s split the figures apart as well. Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a narrow horizontal stripe across the display (I filled it with red color to make it clearly visible).

Now select only the figures and Object > Compound Path > Make (Conrol-8), uniting separate elements into a single object.

add dividers to the clock face using stroke and rectangle tool

Step 7

Select the compound path together with the red rectangle and apply the Minus Front function of the Pathfinder to cut the stripe out, leaving a horizontal gap across all the figures.

use minus front in the pathfinder to cut out the shape

Step 8

There we have it! Our flip clock is finished. Now we can move on to the next one!

flip clock is finished

3. How to Make a Modern Wall Clock

Step 1

As previously, we start by designing the clock face. Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool and make a 120 x 120 px light-beige square. Apply Object > Path > Offset Path with 5 px Offset value and make the new shape somewhat darker.

make the clock face from rounded rectangle

Step 2

Now either use Offset Path again or create a new 150 x 150 px rectangle with 13 px Corner Radius. Fill the new shape with vivid orange color and Align it to the clock face (as to the Key Object), if needed, clicking Horizontal Align Center and Vertical Align Center.

Apply a 5 px Offset Path to the orange shape and make the rim slightly darker, adding dimension to the clock.

create a bright orange rectangular case

Step 3

Let’s start adding the graduation marks to the clock face. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) and hold Shift to make a 12 x 12 px orange circle on top of the face. Hold Alt-Shift and drag the circle down, creating a copy at the bottom of the face.

Group (Control-G) both circles and Align them to the clock face.

add circular graduation to the clock face

Step 4

Duplicate (Control-C > Control-F) our group of circles and rotate the copy 90 degrees.

Duplicate the vertical group once again and let’s add other type of graduation mark. Set the Fill color of the copy to None and the Stroke color to dark-blue. Set the Weight to 2 pt in the Stroke panel.

add another type of circles

Step 5

Double-click the Rotate Tool (R) and set the Angle value to 30 degrees. Click Copy and continue by pressing Control-D multiple times to add all 12 circles to the clock face.

use the rotate tool to add more circles

Step 6

Bring the orange circles of the graduation to Front (Control-]) to cover the dark-blue circles.

Now let’s add the hands of the clock! Start by making a red circle in the center and Align it to the clock face.

Make a short vertical dark-blue stroke using the Line Segment Tool (\), and set the Weight to 7 pt and the Cap to Round Cap, this way creating an hour hand. Send it Backward (Control-[), beneath the red circle.

make an hour hand from stroke

Step 7

Add a minute hand, making it longer and decreasing the Stroke Weight to 4 pt.

Finally, depict the second hand, changing the Stroke color to red and the Weight to 3 pt.

add minute and second hands to the clock

Step 8

Let’s add minor details to the clock face. Use the Ellipse Tool (L) to create a large oval over the bottom half of the clock face. Now select both the clock face and the oval, switch to the Shape Builder Tool (Shift-M), and single-click the top part of the clock face to split it apart. Make the top part slightly darker, creating an overtone.

add reflection to the clock face

Step 9

Voila! Our wall clock is completed!

wall clock is completed

Tick-Tock on the Clock! Our Clock Icons Set Is Finished!

Great job! I hope you’ve enjoyed following this tutorial and discovered some useful new tips and tricks.

Clock Icons Set

You can continue expanding this set and create more clock icons, like those in the image below.

Flat Clock Icons Set in Adobe Illustrator
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