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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Affinity Designer
Design

How to Create a Set of Office Icons in Affinity Designer

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Difficulty:BeginnerLength:LongLanguages:
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Welcome back to another Affinity Designer tutorial, in which you’re going to learn how to create a set of office icons using some simple geometric shapes that we will adjust here and there.

That being said, grab a fresh cup of cappuccino, and let’s get started!

Oh, and don't forget you can always expand the pack by heading over to GraphicRiver where you'll find a great selection of office-themed icons.

1. How to Set Up a New Project File

Assuming you already have Affinity up and running, let’s set up a New Document by going to File > New (or by using the Control-N keyboard shortcut) which we will adjust as follows:

  • Type: Web
  • Document Units: Pixels
  • Create artboard: checked
  • Page Width: 64 px
  • Page Height: 64 px
  • DPI: 72
setting up a new document

2. How to Set Up the Artboards

As soon as we’ve created our document, it would be a good idea to structure our project using a couple of Artboards in order to maintain a steady workflow later on.

To do this, select the default Artboard from within the Layers panel, and create five copies of it by either right clicking > Duplicate or by pressing the Control-J keyboard shortcut five times. Stack the resulting Artboards in three columns, positioning them 28 px from one another, making sure to rename them as follows:

  • first artboard: document
  • second artboard: trash bin
  • third artboard: envelope
  • fourth artboard: cloud upload
  • fifth artboard: calendar
  • sixth artboard: padlock
setting up the artboards

3. How to Create the Reference Grids

The reference grids (or base grids) are a set of precisely delimited reference surfaces, which allow us to build our icons by focusing on size and consistency.

Usually, the size of the grids determines the size of the actual icons, and they should always be the first decision you make once you start a new project, since you’ll always want to start from the smallest possible size and build on that.

Now, in our case, we’re going to be creating the icon pack using just one size, more exactly 64 x 64 px, which is on the smaller side of the scale.

Step 1

Position yourself onto the first artboard, and using the Rectangle Tool (M) create a 64 x 64 px square, which we will color using #FF6100, and then center align as seen in the reference image.

creating the main shape for the reference grid

Step 2

Add another smaller 56 x 56 px square, which we will color using #FFFFFF and then position to the center of the larger one since it will act as our active drawing area, giving us an all-around 4 px padding to work with.

creating the main shape for the active drawing area

Step 3

Select and group the two squares together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, and then add the remaining grids using five copies (Control-C > Control-V) which we will position onto each of the empty artboards. 

Take your time, and once you’re done, make sure you lock all the artboards and the reference grids so that you won’t move them around by accident once you start working on the icons.

adding the remaining reference grids

4. How to Create the Document Icon

As soon as we’ve finished setting up the reference grids, we can position ourselves onto the first artboard, where we will start working on the document icon.

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 40 x 52 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke and a Round Cap (which is the default option), which we will color using #5A89FF and then center align to the underlying Artboard.

creating and positioning the main shape for the document icon

Step 2

Add another smaller 12 x 12 px square with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will align to the larger shape’s top right corner as seen in the reference image.

creating the main shape for the corner of the document

Step 3

Since we’ll need to adjust the shape of the larger rectangle, we’ll first have to select it and then use the Convert to Curves option in order to be able to edit it.

converting the main shape of the document to curves

Step 4

Once you’ve converted the shape, you can select the Node Tool (A), and add two new nodes where the smaller square’s edges intersect the larger rectangle by simply clicking on the path.

adding the new nodes to the main body of the document

Step 5

Adjust the larger shape, by selecting its top-right node using the Node Tool (A), and then immediately remove it by pressing Delete.

adjusting the shape of the document

Step 6

Select the smaller square and adjust that as well by removing its top-right node as we did with the previous shape.

adjusting the shape of the corner of the document

Step 7

Give the resulting shape a fill by creating a copy of it (Control-C) which we will paste in place (Control-V) and then adjust by flipping its Stroke with its Fill using the Shift-X keyboard shortcut. Once you’re done, select and group the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the fill shape to the corner of the document

Step 8

Finish off the current icon by adding the dummy text lines using three 4 pt thick Stroke lines (#5A89FF) with a Butt Cap, which we will position as seen in the reference image. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of them together, doing the same for the entire document afterwards.

finishing off the document icon

Quick tip: at this point, I strongly recommend you start naming and grouping your shapes as you go along, since it will be easier to select and keep track of them from within the Layers panel later on.

example of naming the shapes and groups

5. How to Create the Trash Bin Icon

Once you’ve finished working on the first icon, move on to the next Artboard (that would be the second one), where we will start working on our second icon.

Step 1

Start working on the lower section of the bin by creating a 32 x 36 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will center align to the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

creating and positioning the lower section of the trash bin

Step 2

Add the vertical detail lines using three 24 px tall 4 pt thick Strokes (#5A89FF) with a Butt Cap, which we will horizontally space 4 px from one another, grouping (Control-G) and then center aligning them to the larger shape.

adding the vertical detail lines to the trash bin

Step 3

Create the lid using a 40 x 8 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will position on top of the lower body, so that their paths overlap as seen in the reference image.

adding the lid to the trash bin

Step 4

Add the main shape for the handle using an 8 x 8 px square with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will center align to the lid’s upper edge.

adding the handle to the trash bin

Step 5

Finish off the icon by adjusting the shape that we’ve just created by first converting it to curves using the Convert to Curves option, and then selecting its top corners using the Corner Tool (C) and setting their Radius to 4 px. Once you’re done, select and group all its composing sections using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, before moving on to the next one.

finishing off the trash bin icon

6. How to Create the Envelope Icon

Assuming you’ve already positioned yourself on the next artboard (that would be the third one), zoom in on its reference grid and let’s start working on the next icon.

Step 1

Select the Rectangle Tool (M) and create the envelope’s main body using a 40 x 52 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will center align to the underlying artboard.

creating the main shape for the envelope icon

Step 2

Add the folded section using a 40 x 20 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will center align to the larger body’s top edge.

creating the upper section of the envelope

Step 3

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by first converting it to curves using the Convert to Curves option, and then individually selecting and pushing each of its bottom nodes to the inside by 8 px using the directional arrow keys.

adjusting the upper section of the envelope

Step 4

Create the string segment using an 8 x 30 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its corners to 4 px. Once you’re done, position the resulting shape at a distance of 2 px from the center of the folded section’s top edge.

adding the string segment to the envelope

Step 5

Add the buttons using two 8 x 8 px circles with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will position onto the string segment as seen in the reference image. Once you have the shapes in place, select them and the string and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the two buttons to the envelope

Step 6

Finish off the icon by adding the little dummy text line using a 20 px wide 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF) with a Butt Cap, which we will position at a distance of 4 px from the envelope’s bottom edge. Once you’re done, select and group all its composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

finishing off the envelope icon

7. How to Create the Cloud Upload Icon

As soon as you’ve finished working on the envelope, move on to the next artboard (that would be the fourth one), where we will begin working on our fourth icon.

Step 1

Kick things off by creating a 28 x 4 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will center align to the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

creating the main shape for the bottom section of the cloud upload icon

Step 2

Start adjusting the shape by first converting it to curves using the Convert to Curves option, and then adding a new node to the center of its top edge using the Node Tool (A).

adding a new node to the bottom section of the cloud upload icon

Step 3

Select the node that we’ve just created using the Node Tool (A), and then open up the path of the rectangle by using the Break Curve action.

opening up the bottom section of the cloud upload icon

Step 4

Once you’ve opened up the path, you will have to select and remove the resulting center nodes using the Delete key, making sure to set the Radius of the resulting shape’s bottom corners to 4 px using the Corner Tool (C).

adjusting the radius of the bottom shape of the cloud upload icon

Step 5

Start working on the cloud by creating a 16 x 16 px circle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), followed by a slightly larger 32 x 32 px one (#5A89FF), which we will position as seen in the reference image, making sure their inner nodes overlap.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the cloud

Step 6

Open up the paths of the two circles by first converting them to curves using the Convert to Curves function, and then breaking their paths using the Break Curve action, removing the right nodes for the smaller circle and adding and removing a new node for the larger one.

opening up the paths of the circles that make up the cloud

Step 7

Unite the two resulting paths by first using the Join curves action, and then selecting the center-bottom nodes using the Node Tool (A) and using the Close curve action.

uniting the paths of the cloud

Step 8

Create the vertical section of the arrow using a 22 px tall 4 pt thick Stroke line (#5A89FF), which we will center align to the artboard, positioning them above the base section as seen in the reference image.

creating and positioning the vertical section of the upload arrow

Step 9

Add the arrowhead using an 8 x 6 px triangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will position on top of the vertical body.

adding the head to the upload arrow

Step 10

Finish off the current icon by adding the fill section to the arrow’s head using a copy (Control-C > Control-V) of the shape from the previous step, which we will adjust by flipping its Stroke with its Fill using the Shift-X keyboard shortcut. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the arrow’s composing shapes, doing the same for the entire icon afterwards.

finishing off the cloud upload icon

8. How to Create the Calendar Icon

Assuming you’ve already positioned yourself onto the next artboard (that would be the fifth one), zoom in on it so that we can start working on our next icon.

Step 1

Create the back section of the calendar using a 32 x 6 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will center align to the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

creating and positioning the back section of the calendar icon

Step 2

Add the main body using a 40 x 32 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will position onto the previous section as seen in the reference image.

adding the main body of the calendar icon

Step 3

Create the calendar’s upper section using a 40 x 6 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), followed by a 40 x 6 px fill shape (#5A89FF), which we will group (Control-G) and then stack on top of the previous shape.

adding the upper section of the calendar

Step 4

Add the little date indicators using ten 4 x 4 px squares (#5A89FF), which we will position 4 px from one another, placing them as seen in the reference image. Take your time, and once you’re done, make sure you select and group (Control-G) all of them together before moving on to the next step.

adding the date indicators to the calendar icon

Step 5

Finish off the icon by adding the hanging segment using an 8 x 8 px square with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will convert to curves using the Convert to curves function, and then adjust by selecting its top nodes using the Node Tool (A) and then setting their Radius to 4 px. Center align the resulting shape to the active drawing area’s top edge, making sure to select and group all of the icon’s composing sections using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

finishing off the calendar icon

9. How to Create the Padlock Icon

We are now down to our sixth and last icon, so assuming you’ve already positioned yourself on the remaining artboard, let’s jump straight into it.

Step 1

Create the lock’s main body using a 40 x 28 px rectangle with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will center align to the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main body of the padlock

Step 2

Start working on the little keyhole using an 8 x 8 px circle, which we will color using #5A89FF, and then position at a distance of 4 px from the larger body’s top edge.

adding the circular insertion to the keyhole of the padlock

Step 3

Add the lower section of the hole using a 4 x 10 px rounded rectangle (#5A89FF) with a 2 px corner Radius, which we will position onto the lower half of the circle. Once you have the shape in place, make sure you select and group (Control-G) the two together before moving on to the next step.

adding the vertical insertion to the keyhole of the padlock

Step 4

Create the horizontal detail lines using two groups of three 6 px wide 4 pt thick Strokes (#5A89FF), vertically stacked 2 px from one another, which we will position on the sides as seen in the reference image.

adding the side detail lines to the padlock

Step 5

Finish off the icon, and with it the project itself, by adding the shackle using a 24 x 24 px square with a 4 pt thick Stroke (#5A89FF), which we will adjust by first converting it to curves using the Convert to curves function, and then setting the Radius of its top corners to 12 px using the Corner Tool (C). Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all of the icon’s composing shapes before hitting that save button.

finishing off the padlock icon

Great Work!

There you have it, fellow icon lovers, a straightforward tutorial on how to create your very own office icons. As always, I hope you had fun working on the project and most importantly learned something new and useful along the way.

That being said, if you have any questions, feel free to post them within the comments section and I’ll get back to you as soon as I can!

finished project preview
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