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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Icon Design
Design

How to Create a "Share the Love" Icon Pack in Adobe Illustrator

This post is part of a series called Love Week.
How to Create a Copper Foil Text Effect in Adobe Photoshop
10 Design Tips for Creating Amazing Wedding Invitations
Final product image
What You'll Be Creating

Since this week is all about love, we’re going to continue the theme and create a "Share the Love" icon pack to explore the different ways in which you can express your feelings in the digital era. 

We’re going to be creating all three icons using basic geometric shapes combined with some of the primary tools that you probably already work with on a daily basis.

So, without wasting any more time, grab a cup of that sweet coffee and let’s get started!

Oh, and before I forget, you can always expand the project by checking out GraphicRiver, where you can find tons of love-themed icons.

1. How to Set Up a New Document

Since I’m pretty sure you already have Illustrator up and running in the background, bring it up and let’s set up a New Document (File > New or Control-N) using the following settings:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 800 px
  • Height: 600 px
  • Units: Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen (72ppi)
  • Preview Mode: Default
setting up a new document

Quick tip: some of you might have noticed that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid option is missing. That's because I’m running the new CC 2017 version of the software, where great changes have been made to the way Illustrator handles the way shapes snap to the underlying pixel grid.

2. How to Set Up a Custom Grid

Since we’re going to be creating the icons using a pixel-perfect workflow, we’ll want to set up a nice little grid so that we can have full control over our shapes—that is if we’re running the older version of the software.

Step 1

Go to the Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid submenu, and adjust the following settings:

  • Gridline every: 1 px
  • Subdivisions: 1
setting up a custom grid

Quick tip: you can learn more about grids by reading this in-depth piece on how Illustrator’s Grid System works.

Step 2

Once we’ve set up our custom grid, all we need to do in order to make sure our shapes look crisp is enable the Snap to Grid option found under the View menu, which will transform into Snap to Pixel each time you enter Pixel Preview mode.

Now, if you’re new to the whole “pixel-perfect workflow”, I strongly recommend you go through my how to create pixel-perfect artwork tutorial, which will help you widen your technical skills in no time.

3. How to Set Up the Layers

With the New Document created, it would be a good idea to structure our project using a couple of layers, since this way we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one icon at a time.

That being said, bring up the Layers panel, and create a total of four layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer 1: reference grids
  • layer 2: phone sharing
  • layer 3: email sharing
  • layer 4: im sharing
setting up the layers

4. 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 on 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 128 x 128 px, which is a fairly large one.

Step 1

Start by locking all but the reference grid layer, and then grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 128 x 128 px orange (#F15A24) square, which will help define the overall size of our icons.

creating the main shape for the reference grid

Step 2

Add another smaller 120 x 120 px one (#FFFFFF) which will act as our active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding.

creating the main shape for the active drawing area

Step 3

Group the two squares composing the reference grid using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, and then create two copies at a distance of 40 px from one another, making sure to align them to the center of the Artboard.

Once you’re done, lock the current layer and move on to the next one, where we’ll start working on our first icon.

creating and positioning the reference grids

5. How to Create the Phone Sharing Icon

With the document all set up, let’s kick off the project by making sure that we’re on the right layer (that would be the second one) and then zooming in on the first reference grid so that we can have a better view of our icon’s shapes.

Step 1

Start working on the left phone by creating its body using a 56 x 94 px rounded rectangle with an 8 px Corner Radius, which we will color using #C4CEE8 and then position in the underlying active drawing area’s bottom-left corner, making sure to leave a 4 px gap for its outline.

creating and positioning the main shape for the phone sharing icons left phone

Step 2

Give the shape that we’ve just created an outline, by creating a copy of it (Control-C) which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by changing its color to #2B3249, and then setting its Weight to 8 px.

Once you’re done, select and group both shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the phone sharing icons left phone

Step 3

Start working on the phone’s display by creating a 32 x 58 px rectangle, which we will color using #8195C1 and then horizontally center align to the two shapes that we’ve just grouped, at a distance of 12 px from the top edge of the fill shape’s visible surface.

creating and positioning the main shape for the left phones display

Step 4

Give the display an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) using the Stroke method, selecting and grouping (Control-G) both shapes together afterwards.

adding the outline to the left phones display

Step 5

Create the phone’s bottom circular button, using an 8 x 8 px circle which we will color using #2B3249 and then center align.

creating and positioning the main shape for the left phones circular bottom button

Step 6

Turn on Pixel Preview mode, and using the Pen Tool (P) draw in the front-facing speaker unit, using a 12 px wide, 4 px thick Stroke with a Round Cap, which we will color using #2B3249 and then center align to the visible surface of the phone’s upper section.

creating and positioning the left phones front facing speaker unit

Step 7

Create the phone’s power button using a 12 x 4 px rectangle, which we will color using #2B3249 and then position onto the larger outline, at a distance of 12 px from the active drawing area’s left edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the left phones power button

Step 8

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by setting the Radius of its top corners to 2 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties, selecting and grouping (Control-G) all of the phone’s composing shapes together afterwards.

adjusting the shape of the left phones power button

Step 9

Create the second phone using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will reflect both horizontally and vertically (right click > Transform > Reflect > Horizontal / Vertical), and then position onto the right side of the active drawing area, aligning it to its top edge.

creating and positioning the phone sharing icons second phone

Step 10

Start working on the little heart by creating a 20 x 20 px circle, which we will color using #ED664C and then position onto the left phone’s display, at a distance of 9 px from its top edge and 6 px from its left edge.

creating and positioning the left section of the little heart

Step 11

Continue working on the heart by creating two more 20 x 20 px circles (#ED664C), positioning one on the right side so that it ends up overlapping the surface of the first one by 4 px, and the last one at the bottom, so that it overlaps the surface of the other two by 8 px.

creating and positioning the hearts main shapes

Step 12

Once you have all three circles in place, select and then unite them into a single larger shape using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape Mode.

uniting the three circles into a single larger shape

Step 13

Adjust the resulting shape by removing the center anchor points created during the uniting process, by simply clicking on them using the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-).

adjusting the hearts shape by removing its center anchor points

Step 14

Continue adjusting the new shape by selecting its anchor’s handles and dragging them so that you get a nice curvature on each of its sides. Once you’re done, give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) with a Round Join, selecting and grouping both shapes together afterwards.

adding the outline to the little hearts body

Step 15

Since we’ll want the heart to remain within the visible surface of the phone’s display, we’ll have to mask it using a 24 x 50 px rectangle (highlighted with yellow), which we will center align to the display. Then, simply select both the heart and the rectangle, right-click and select Make Clipping Mask, making sure to group it and the left phone together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

masking the hearts right half

Step 16

Finish off the icon by creating a copy of the masked heart and then center aligning it to the right phone’s display, making sure to flip it vertically (right click > Transform > Reflect > Vertical).

Once you have it in place, group (Control-G) it along with the phone, doing the same for all of the icon’s composing sections afterwards.

positioning the hearts right half onto the second phones display

6. How to Create the Email Sharing Icon

Assuming you’ve already moved on up to the next layer (that would be the third one), zoom in on the second reference grid and let’s get started.

Step 1

Create the envelope’s main body using a 96 x 64 px rectangle, which we will color using #ED664C and then center align to the underlying active drawing area, at a distance of 4 px from its bottom edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the email sharing icons envelope

Step 2

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 8 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

adjusting the corner radius of the envelopes main body

Step 3

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) using the Stroke method, only this time set its Corner to Round Join, making sure to select and group (Control-G) both shapes together afterwards.

adding the outline to the envelopes main body

Step 4

Create the envelope’s upper section using a 96 x 64 px rectangle, which we will color using #BF402E and then center align to its bottom section, positioning it so that its lower half overlaps it.

creating and positioning the main shape for the envelopes upper section

Step 5

Turn the shape that we’ve just created into a diamond by adding a new anchor point to the center of each of its edges using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), and then removing its corner ones (highlighted in the reference image) using the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-).

adjusting the shape of the envelopes upper section

Step 6

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) making sure to set the Stroke’s Corner to Round Join, selecting and grouping (Control-G) the two shapes together afterwards.

adding the outline to the envelopes upper section

Step 7

Select the Pen Tool (P) and draw in the envelope’s two diagonal detail lines using an 8 px thick Stroke (#2B3249) with a Round Cap.

drawing in the envelopes two diagonal detail lines using the pen tool

Step 8

Create the letter’s main body using a 64 x 80 px rounded rectangle with an 8 px Corner Radius, which we will color using #F4E9E9 and then center align to the underlying active drawing area, at a distance of 4 px from its top edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the envelopes letter

Step 9

Give the shape that we’ve just created an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249), selecting and grouping both shapes afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the envelopes letter

Step 10

Quickly unlock the previous layer, and create a copy (Control-C) of the heart that we’ve masked and paste it back (Control-F) onto the current layer, center aligning it to the envelope’s letter, positioning it at a distance of 8 px from the fill shape’s visible surface.

Then, once you’re done, select and group them both using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the little heart to the envelopes letter

Step 11

Mask the two shapes that we’ve just grouped by creating a copy (Control-C) of the envelope’s upper section, which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by removing its top anchor point. Then close up the path so that it follows the width of the envelope itself.

masking the contents of the envelopes upper section

Step 12

Now, as you can probably already see, we’ll need to isolate the mask by double-clicking on it, and then add a copy of the pocket outline’s downward-facing section in order to correctly mask the surface of the letter.

Once you’re done, you can then select the masked shapes and the envelope’s upper section and group (Control-G) them so that they won’t get separated by accident.

adjusting the bottom section of the letters mask

Step 13

Select the Pen Tool (P) and, using a 4 px thick Stroke (#2B3249), draw the front section of the arrow, making sure to set the Cap and Corner of the head section to Round.

Take your time, and once you’re done, select and group the two paths using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

drawing the front section of the envelope icons arrow

Step 14

Draw in the back section of the arrow using a 28 px wide 4 px thick Stroke (#2B3249) which we will position between the active drawing area’s left edge and the letter’s outline.

drawing the back section of the envelopes arrow

Step 15

Create the little fletches using a 12 x 12 px square, which we will color using #EAA74E and then center align to the arrow’s back section, at a distance of 2 px from the active drawing area’s left edge.

creating and positioning the main shape for the envelope icons arrow fletches

Step 16

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by adding a new anchor point to the center of each of its side edges using the Add Anchor Point Tool (A), and then selecting and pushing them to the right by a distance of 6 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Horizontal > 6 px).

adjusting the shape of the arrows fletches

Step 17

Finish off the icon by giving the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#2B3249) with a Round Join, grouping (Control-G) and then sending them both to the back of the arrow’s back section (right click > Transform > Arrange > Send to Back).

Once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group all of the icon’s composing sections using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the arrows fletches

7. How to Create the IM Sharing Icon

We’re now down to our third and last icon, so assuming you’ve already moved on up to the last layer, zoom in on its reference grid and let’s finish this.

Step 1

Create the left text box’s main body using an 88 x 68 px rectangle, which we will color using #C2A6DD and then position in the top-left corner of the underlying active drawing area, leaving a 4 px gap around it for its outline.

creating and positioning the main shape for the im sharing icons left text box

Step 2

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by setting the Radius of its top and bottom-right corners to 8 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

adjusting the radius of the left text boxs corners

Step 3

Switch over to Pixel Preview Mode (Alt-Control-Y) and then using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) add a new anchor point to the text box’s bottom edge, positioning it at a distance of 20 px from its left side.

adding a new anchor point to the left text boxs bottom edge

Step 4

Continue adjusting the shape by selecting its bottom-left anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then pushing it to the bottom by 16 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > 16 px).

repositioning the left text boxs bottom left corner

Step 5

Give the resulting shape an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) with a Round Join, and then select and group both of them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

adding the outline to the left text boxs body

Step 6

Create a copy (Control-C) of the little heart from one of the previous icons, and then paste (Control-F) it onto the current layer, center aligning it to the text box’s body.

adding the little heart to the center of the left text boxs body

Step 7

Create the little dots using three 6 x 6 px circles at a distance of 2 px from one another, which we will color using #2B3249, group (Control-G), and then position onto the bottom-right corner of the text box, leaving a 4 px gap around them.

Once you’re done, select and group all the shapes that we’ve created so far using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

creating and positioning the three little dots onto the left text boxs body

Step 8

Create a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the left text box’s fill and outline, and align them to the underlying active drawing area’s bottom-right corner, making sure to horizontally flip them afterwards (right click > Transform > Reflect > Horizontal), changing the fill shape’s color to #9F88BA.

creating and positioning the main shapes for the im sharing icons right text box

Step 9

Turn on Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y) and draw the little text lines using an 18 px wide, 4 px thick Stroke line (#2B3249) followed by another 34 px wide, 4 px thick line at a distance of 4 px from it. Group (Control-G) the two shapes and then position them at a distance of 8 px from the text box’s left and bottom edges.

adding the text lines to the im sharing icons right text box

Step 10

Finish off the icon by selecting and grouping (Control-G) all of the right text box’s composing shapes together, sending them to the back afterwards (right click > Arrange > Send to Back).

Oh, and don’t forget to group all of the icon’s composing sections as well since you don’t want them flying around.

finishing off the im sharing icon

It’s a Wrap!

There you have it—a nice little icon pack that you can use to share your love with that special someone. I hope you’ve managed to follow each and every step and had as much fun as I did during the process.

finished project preview
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