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  1. Design & Illustration
  2. Adobe Illustrator
Design

How to Create an Address Book Icon in Adobe Illustrator

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

In the following steps you will learn how to create a detailed address book icon in Adobe Illustrator. For starters you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create the main shapes using the grid and the Snap to Grid feature, the Rectangle Tool, the Ellipse Tool, and some basic effects and vector shape building techniques. 

Moving on, we'll create the metallic rings using somewhat simple shapes along with basic blending and masking techniques. 

Finally, you will learn how to take full advantage of the Appearance panel as you'll add color, shading, highlights and subtle textures for those main shapes.

1. Create a New Document and Set Up a Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 600 in the width and height boxes, and then click on the Advanced button. Select RGB, Screen (72ppi) and make sure that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid box is unchecked before you click OK.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). For starters you will need a grid every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides > Grid, enter 5 in the Gridline every box and 1 in the Subdivisions box. Try not to get discouraged by all that grid—it will make your work easier. Keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.

You should also open the Info panel (Window > Info) for a live preview with the size and position of your shapes. Do not forget to set the unit of measurement to pixels from Edit > Preferences > Units > General. All these options will significantly increase your work speed.

setup grid

2. Create the Main Shapes

Step 1

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the stroke, and then select the fill and set its color to R=92 G=87 B=154. Move to your artboard, create a 230 px square, and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 40 px Radius, click OK, and then go to Object > Expand Appearance. Move to the Layers panel, open the existing layer, double-click on that purple shape and rename it "backCover".

back cover shape

Step 2

For this step you will need a grid every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box.

Return to your toolbar and replace the existing fill color with R=247 G=148 B=30. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 201 x 210 px shape, place it exactly as shown in the following image and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 38 px Radius, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

pages shape

Step 3

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create two 10 px circles, pick a random grey for the fill color, and place them exactly as shown in the following image.

pages shape

Step 4

Reselect your orange rounded rectangle along with the two grey circles, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder) and click the Minus Front button. In the end your orange shape should look like in the second image. Move to the Layers panel and rename it "pagesMain".

pages shape

Step 5

Get back to your toolbar and replace the existing fill color with a simple yellow (R=255 G=200 B=0). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 205 px square, place it as shown in the following image, and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 40 px Radius, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

front cover shape

Step 6

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 100 px square, place it exactly as shown in the following image and then hit Shift-Control-X (or simply go to Effect > Apply Same Effect) to add that same Rounded Corners effect used in the previous step. Make sure that this new yellow shape is still selected and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

front cover shape

Step 7

Reselect both yellow shapes and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel.

front cover shape

Step 8

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 25 x 50 px shape, place it as shown in the following image, and pick a random grey for the fill color. Make sure that this new shape stays selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5 px Radius, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

front cover shape

Step 9

Select your grey rounded rectangle along with the yellow shape and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

front cover shape

Step 10

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create two 10 px circles, pick a random grey for the fill color and place them exactly as shown in the following image.

front cover shape

Step 11

Reselect your yellow shape along with the two grey circles and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. In the end your yellow shape should look like in the second image. Move to the Layers panel and rename it "frontCover".

front cover shape

Step 12

Switch to gridline every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box. Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 28 x 50 px shape, place it exactly as shown in the following image, set the fill color to R=141 G=198 B=63 and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 10 px Radius and click OK. Move to the Layers panel, find this green shape and rename it "pagesAtoF".

pages A to F shape

Step 13

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 28 x 50 px shape, place it exactly as shown in the first image, set the fill color to R=141 G=198 B=63, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 10 px Radius, click OK and then simply hit Control-[ to send this shape behind the existing green shape. Move to the Layers panel, find this new green shape, and rename it "pagesGtoR".

Using the same tool, create a new 28 x 50 px shape, place it exactly as shown in the third image, set the fill color to R=0 G=148 B=68, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 10 px Radius, click OK, and then use that same Control-[ keyboard shortcut to send this shape behind the existing green ones. Return to the Layers panel, find this new green shape, and rename it "pagesStoZ".

pages shapes

Step 14

Select all your green rounded rectangles and use that same Control-[ keyboard shortcut to send them behind your yellow shape, as shown in the second image.

pages shapes

3. Create the Metallic Rings

Step 1

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 40 px circle, place it as shown in the first image and focus on the Appearance panel. Make sure that there's no color set for the fill and then select the stroke. Set its color to R=237 G=28 B=36 and then click that "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 6 px, check the Align Stroke to Inside button, and then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.

Now select your "backCover" shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy, along with the red shape made in this step, and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.

red circle

Step 2

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10 px circle, pick a random color for the fill and place it as shown in the first image. Select this tiny new circle along with your red shape and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected and simply hit Shift-Control-G to Ungroup it.

Get rid of the bottom red shape and then select the remaining red shape and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black (R=0 G=0 B=0) and then click that "Opacity" piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel. Change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and lower the Opacity to 40%.

black shape

Step 3

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 40 x 35 px shape, place it as shown in the first image and focus on the Appearance panel. Make sure that there's no color set for the fill and then select the stroke. Set its color to R=39 G=170 B=225 and then click that "Stroke" piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 6 px, check the Align Stroke to Inside button, and then go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset, click OK, and then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.

blue circle

Step 4

Disable the Snap to Grid (Shift-Control-') and then go to Edit > Preferences > General and make sure that the Keyboard Increment is set to 1 px.

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px down using the down arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. 

Make sure that resulting group of shapes is selected and hit Control-8 (or go to Object > Compound Path > Make) to turn it into a simple compound path. Move to the Appearance panel, replace the existing fill color with black, lower its Opacity to 25% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

blue circle shading

Step 5

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset, click OK and duplicate the resulting shape (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1 px down using that same down arrow button from your keyboard. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple white (R=255 G=255 B=255) and change its Blending Mode to Soft Light.

blue circle highlight

Step 6

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px down. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected, and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with white, lower the Opacity to 50%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

blue circle shading

Step 7

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -2 px Offset, click OK, and duplicate the resulting shape (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1 px down. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with black, lower the Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

blue circle shading

Step 8

Make sure that your blue shape is selected and go to Object > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -1 px Offset, click OK and duplicate the resulting shape (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy and move it 1 px up. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

Turn the resulting group of shapes into a new compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with black, lower the Opacity to 30%, and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

blue circle shading

Step 9

Make sure that your blue shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with R=128 G=125 B=134 and then select the stroke. Set its color to R=89 G=84 B=97, align it to inside, and make sure that the Weight is set at 1 px.

grey circle

Step 10

Make sure that your grey shape is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using the Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, drag it above the stroke, change its Blending Mode to Overlay, and replace the existing color with the radial gradient shown in the following image. Keep in mind that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

grey circle gradient

Step 11

Make sure that your grey shape is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a third fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, drag it to the top of the panel, change its Blending Mode to Overlay and replace the existing color with the radial gradient shown in the following image. Don't forget that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

Now select all the shapes that make up your metallic ring and simply hit Control-G to Group them.

grey circle gradient

Step 12

Enable the Snap to Grid (Control-').

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 40 x 20 px black shape and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10 px circle and place it exactly as shown in the second image. Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. In the end your black shape should look like in the fourth image.

black mask

Step 13

Reselect your group along with the black shape made in the previous step, open the Transparency panel (Window > Transparency), click the Make Mask button and then uncheck the Clip box. In the end your masked group should look like in the second image. Select it along with the transparent, black shape that makes up the shape and Group them (Control-G). Move to the Layers panel and simply rename this new group "ring".

mask group

Step 14

Switch to gridline every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box.

Duplicate your "ring" group (Control-C > Control-F), select the copy, drag it down and place it as shown in the following image.

duplicate group

4. Add Color, Shading, Highlights and a Subtle Texture for the Back Cover

Step 1

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard, set the fill color to R=228 G=220 B=199 and send it to back using the Shift-Control-[ keyboard shortcut. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill and add the radial gradient shown in the following image. Don't forget that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

background

Step 2

Select your "backCover" shape, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, set the color to black, lower its Opacity to 5%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

back cover texture

Step 3

Make sure that your "backCover" shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and select the existing stroke. Make it black, lower its Opacity to 10%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then open that Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 2 px and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

back cover stroke

Step 4

Make sure that your "backCover" shape stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, select that purple fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

back cover inner glow

Step 5

Make sure that your "backCover" shape stays selected, keep focusing on that purple fill from the Appearance panel and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

back cover drop shadow

Step 6

Make sure that your "backCover" shape stays selected, keep focusing on that purple fill from the Appearance panel and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

back cover drop shadow

Step 7

Make sure that your "backCover" shape stays selected, keep focusing on that purple fill from the Appearance panel and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

back cover drop shadow

Step 8

Make sure that your "backCover" shape stays selected, keep focusing on that purple fill from the Appearance panel and add the five Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

back cover drop shadows

5. Add Color, Shading and Highlights for the Front Cover

Step 1

Disable the Snap to Grid (Control-').

Make sure that your "frontCover" shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px down using the down arrow button. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Set the fill color to white, lower its Opacity to 30% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

front cover highlight

Step 2

Make sure that your "frontCover" shape is still selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and simply replace the existing fill color with R=124 G=129 B=200.

front cover

Step 3

Make sure that your "frontCover" shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel and add a second fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, lower its Opacity to 15%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and use the linear gradient shown in the following image. Remember that the blue numbers from the Gradient image stand for Location percentage while the yellow ones stand for Opacity percentage.

front cover gradient

Step 4

Make sure that your "frontCover" shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, and add a third fill using that same Add New Fill button. Select this new fill, make it black, lower its Opacity to 5%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and go to Effect > Artistic > Film Grain. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click the OK button.

front cover texture

Step 5

Make sure that your "frontCover" shape stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, select that purple fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

front cover drop shadow

Step 6

Make sure that your "frontCover" shape stays selected, keep focusing on that purple fill from the Appearance panel, and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

front cover drop shadow

Step 7

Make sure that your "frontCover" shape stays selected, keep focusing on that purple fill from the Appearance panel, and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

front cover drop shadow

Step 8

Make sure that your "frontCover" shape stays selected, keep focusing on that purple fill from the Appearance panel, and go again to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

front cover drop shadow

Step 9

Make sure that your "frontCover" shape stays selected, keep focusing on that purple fill from the Appearance panel and go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and click OK.

front cover inner glow

6. Add Color, Shading and Highlights for the Paper Pieces

Step 1

Focus on the Layers panel, select your "pagesMain" shape and move to the Appearance panel. Select the existing fill and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

pages drop shadow

Step 2

Make sure that your "pagesMain" shape stays selected, keep focusing on the Appearance panel, reselect that orange fill and then add the six Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

pages drop shadow

Step 3

Make sure that your "pagesAtoF" shape stay selected, focus on the Appearance panel and replace the existing fill color with R=238 G=230 B=209. Add a second fill for this shape, select it and use the linear gradient shown in the following image. Don't forget that the yellow zero from the Gradient image stands for Opacity percentage.

pages drop shadow

Step 4

Make sure that your "pagesAtoF" shape stays selected, focus on the Appearance panel, select the bottom fill and add the seven Drop Shadow effects shown in the following image.

pages drop shadow

Step 5

Now you need to copy the properties used for your "pagesAtoF" shape and paste them onto your "pagesGtoR" shape. You can easily do it using the target icons.

Go to the Layers panel, focus on the right side and you'll notice that every shape comes with a little grey circle. That's a target icon. Hold the Alt button from your keyboard, click on the target icon that stands for your "pagesAtoF" shape, and drag onto the circle that stands for your "pagesGtoR" shape. Select the "pagesGtoR" shape, focus on the Appearance panel, and turn off the visibility for the Drop Shadow effect highlighted in the following image.

pages drop shadow

Step 6

Copy the properties used for your "pagesAtoF" shape and paste them onto your "pagesStoZ" shape. Select the "pagesStoZ" shape, focus on the Appearance panel and turn off the visibility for the two Drop Shadow effects highlighted in the following image.

pages drop shadow

Step 7

Reseect your "pagesAtoF", "pagesGtoR" and "pagesStoZ" shapes and duplicate them (Control-C > Control-F). Select only the copies and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Make sure that the resulting group of shapes is selected and simply click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. Select the resulting shape and add a simple yellow fill (R=255 G=200 B=0).

pages shading

Step 8

Enable the Snap to Grid (Control-'). Switch to gridline every 1 px, so go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 1 in the Gridline every box.

Make sure that the yellow shape made in the previous step is still selected and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 30 x 134 px shape, place it exactly as shown in the first image, pick a random green for the fill color, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5 px Radius, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Select this green rounded rectangle along with the yellow copy made in the beginning of the step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Move to the Layers panel, find the shape made in this step and simply drag it below your "frontCover" shape.

pages shding

Step 9

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 30 x 134 px shape, place it exactly as shown in the first image, pick a random green for the fill color, and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter a 5 px Radius, click OK and then go to Object > Expand Appearance.

Select this green rounded rectangle along with the remaining yellow shape and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Make sure that the resulting shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black, lower its Opacity to 50% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Move to the Layers panel, find the shape made in this step and simply drag it below your "frontCover" shape.

pages shading

Step 10

Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Calibri font, make it Bold, set the size at 8 px and then simply click on your artboard. Add the letters shown in the following image and use R=108 G=100 B=79 for the text color.

Make sure that all your pieces of text are selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click OK.

text

7. Create the Transparent Plastic Piece

Step 1

Return to gridline every 5 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid and enter 5 in the Gridline every box.

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 75 x 30 px shape, make it black, and place it as shown in the first image. Make sure that this new rectangle stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. First, select the existing fill, lower its Opacity to 15% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light. Next, select the existing stroke, make it black, lower its Opacity to 15%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then open that Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 4 px and check the Align Stroke to Outside button.

Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and add a second stroke for this shape using the Add New Stroke button. Select this new stroke, make sure that the color is set to black, lower its Opacity to 5%, change the Blending Mode to Soft Light and then open that Stroke fly-out panel. Make sure that the Weight is set at 1 px and check the Align Stroke to Outside button.

plastic black

Step 2

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 75 x 30 px orange rectangle and place it as shown in the first image. Switch to the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 10 px circle and place it as shown in the second image. Select both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

plastic orange

Step 3

Disable the Snap to Grid (Control-').

Make sure that your orange shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px down. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a simple compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple white, lower its Opacity to 20% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

plastic highlight

Step 4

Make sure that your orange shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 1 px up. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a simple compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple white, lower its Opacity to 10% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

plastic highlight

Step 5

Make sure that your orange shape is selected and make two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). This time select the bottom copy and move it 1 px down. Reselect both copies made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel. Turn the resulting group of shapes into a simple compound path (Control-8), make sure that it stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Replace the existing fill color with a simple black, lower its Opacity to 5% and change the Blending Mode to Soft Light.

plastic shading

Step 6

Make sure that your orange shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Select the fill, replace the existing color with a simple white, lower its Opacity to 5% and then go to Effect > Stylize > Inner Glow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image, click the OK button, and you're done.

plastic transparent

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how it should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and can apply these techniques in your future projects.

final product
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