In this tutorial we’ll be creating a composition of flat internet security icons in Affinity Designer, using geometric shapes, the Vector Crop Tool, Operations, the Stroke panel and some other functions. You'll also learn some new tips and tricks of the Draw Persona, which allows us to work with fully scalable and editable vector graphics.
If you enjoy creating flat vector graphics as much as I do, don’t forget to check GraphicRiver, where you can find a bunch of flat assets that can be useful for your personal or commercial design projects!
Let’s get started!
1. How to Make a Flat Notebook Icon in Affinity Designer
First of all, let’s set up our workspace! Create a 600 x 600 px document, and let’s use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a dark greyish-purple background of the same 600 x 600 px size. We’ll be creating all other elements on top of this shape. You can lock the rectangle in the Layers panel if you click the tiny lock icon.
Let’s start making the laptop from its display. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 160 x 100 px white shape. Head to the control toolbar on top and remove the tick from the Single Radius checkbox. Now we can adjust the Corner Radius of each corner independently. Let’s set the radius of the Top Left and Top Right corners to 5%.
Copy and Paste (Command-C > Command-V) the rectangle and make the copy smaller, scaling it down to 150 x 90 px. Make all of its corners square and switch the fill color to bright orange.
Now we’ll form the bottom part of the laptop. Draw a 195 x 10 px light-grey rectangle and make its Bottom Left and Bottom Right corners 70% rounded.
Attach the panel to the display and duplicate (Command-J) it. Make the copy much smaller (50 x 6 px) and a bit darker. Select both elements of the lower panel and use the Align panel in the toolbar on top to align the shapes horizontally to the Center and vertically to the Top.
2. How to Create a Security Lock Icon
Now let’s create a security lock icon in the center of the display. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) or the Rounded Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 45 x 35 px white shape with 5% Rounded Corners. This time, tick the Single Radius checkbox in order to set the same value for all the corners at once.
Create another rectangle of 25 x 45 px size with fully rounded corners. Head to the Colour panel and set the Fill to none and the Stroke to grey. Adjust the Width of the line in the Stroke panel, setting it to 1.5 px to make the line thick enough. Move Back One (Command-[) to place the shape beneath the base of the lock.
Duplicate the white rectangle and switch the color of the top copy to light grey. Take the Vector Crop Tool, grab the left edge of the shape and drag it to the right, cutting the shape in half.
Add a grey circle in the center of the lock.
Tip: Use the Colorpicker Tool, which is located above the color wheel in the Colour panel, to pick and apply the colors from various shapes. Simply click and drag the Colorpicker icon onto the artboard to pick the color you need, and then apply it from the swatch of the Colour panel.
Use the Triangle Tool and the Ellipse Tool (M) to combine a circle and a triangle, creating a dark-grey keyhole. Select both elements and apply the Add Operation from the control toolbar on top to merge both shapes into a single object.
That’s how our laptop and the lock icon look all together. Group (Command-G) the elements of the laptop to make it easier to work with. You can still access any part of the icon in the group by double-clicking it to isolate the element of the group. Remember to group all the icons that we make in order to keep our work neat and organized.
3. How to Design a Flat Envelope Icon
Now let’s create a very simple envelope icon. Start by making an 80 x 45 px light-grey rectangle with 8% rounded corners.
Use the Triangle Tool to create a 90 x 37 px white shape and turn it upside down.
Now we need to put the triangle inside the rectangle in order to get rid of the unneeded pieces of the shape. Go the Layers panel and simply drag and drop the triangle layer onto the rectangle layer, this way placing one shape inside the other, as if inside a container. You will see the shapes unite into a group which is still editable.
Finish off the envelope by creating another triangle and placing it inside the rectangle shape and beneath the first triangle.
4. How to Create a Flat Burglar Mask
Let’s use the Ellipse Tool (M) to make a 35 x 20 px bright orange shape. Click the Convert to Curves button in the control panel on top to make the ellipse editable. Now we can select its left and right nodes with the Node Tool (A) and Convert them to Sharp from the control panel on top to make the shape pointed.
Duplicate (Command-J) the shape, fill the top copy with black (or any other) color, and make it smaller. Select both shapes and apply the Subtract Operation from the control panel on top. This way we cut the top shape out, creating a space for the eye.
Select the shape with the Move Tool (V), hold Option-Shift and drag the shape to the right, making a copy. Keep the shapes slightly overlapping each other and apply the Add Operation to merge them.
Now take the Corner Tool (C), click the top node between the eyes and drag it, making the corner rounded. Repeat the same for the opposite bottom node.
5. How to Draw a Flat Sun Icon
Now we’ll create a sun-shaped icon with a tick, depicting an "Accept" button. Start by making a 40 x 40 px bright-orange circle, using the Ellipse Tool (M). Create a larger circle around it and switch its Stroke color to white and Fill color to none.
Let’s add the sunbeams. Use the Pen Tool (P) to make a short stroke on top of the white circle and Align it to the Horizontal Center of the circles.
Create a copy of the stroke in the bottom part, on the opposite side of the circles.
Now we can select both shapes (or Group (Command-G) them) and press Command-J to duplicate the strokes.
Rotate the strokes -15 degrees either using the Move Tool (V) or from the Transform panel (but make sure that the pivot point is set to the center). I prefer to rotate them manually with the Move Tool (V) as in this case the pivot point is set in the right position and I can see how the shapes actually move.
Keep pressing Command-J to Power Duplicate the strokes, this way creating more copies that are automatically rotated around the circles, turning our shape into a stylized sun.
Now let’s copy and paste two vertical strokes (the ones that were created first) and make them a bit longer.
Duplicate the new strokes and rotate them to exactly the same angle as we did previously and then Power Duplicate the rotated strokes. Delete some of the long strokes, varying the length of the sunbeams.
We can use the Artistic Text Tool (T) to add a tick sign. I’m using Arial Bold standard font to type a V-letter. Go to Layer > Convert to Curves to turn the text into an editable object. Now we can use the Node Tool (A) to select and move both top right nodes up, turning the letter into a tick sign.
6. How to Create a Simple Coin Icon
Let’s make a cent coin pictogram using the Ellipse Tool (M). Create a 45 x 45 px bright-orange shape. Duplicate the circle and make the copy smaller (30 x 30 px) and darker. Use the Artistic Text Tool (A) to add a bright-orange dollar sign to the center of the coin. There we have it!
7. How to Design a Cloud Storage Icon
Now let’s depict a storage cloud by creating an actual cloud from circles. Use the Ellipse Tool (M) to make a 40 x 40 px blue circle. Then create smaller circles on both sides of the first one and arrange them, as shown in the screenshot below, making the shapes slightly overlapped.
Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and let’s cover up an empty space in the bottom of our cloud. To do this, firstly we need both left and right extreme circles to be positioned on the same line (use the Align function to align both shapes to the Bottom).
Secondly, click the red magnet icon in the control toolbar on top to turn on the Snapping. Now we can start drawing the rectangle as it sticks to the bottom of the circles. Make it fit the space between the shapes, turning our elements intro a stylised cloud.
Select all the shapes and unite them using the Add Operation.
Finish up by adding a copy of the lock that we created previously. Recolor the white and grey elements of the lock to orange to make it look different. And done!
Let’s move on to the next icon.
8. How to Draw a Flat Eye Icon
Use the Ellipse Tool (M) to create a 60 x 30 px white shape. Convert it to Curves and make its side nodes pointed by using the Convert to Sharp function, as we did for the orange burglar mask.
Make a 30 x 30 px blue circle for the iris and align it to the center of the eyeball.
Finish the eye by adding a smaller dark-grey circle for the pupil and a tiny white spot for the highlight.
9. How to Create a Protective Shield Icon
Let’s start designing a shield from a rounded blue rectangle of 50 x 75 px size with 100% rounded corners.
Convert to Curves and make the bottom of the shape pointed by selecting the node with the Node Tool (A) and Convert to Sharp from the control toolbar on top.
Take the Ellipse Tool (M) and make a 50 x 30 px oval (of any color), placing it over the top left part of the rectangle, as shown in the image below.
Duplicate the oval and Flip the copy Horizontal using the Transforms panel on top.
Merge both ovals using the Add Operation, and Align them to the Horizontal Center of the shield either with the help of the Align panel on top or by using the same function in the Arrange menu, which is located in the toolbar on top as well.
Now select both the merged ellipses and the shield and apply the Subtract Operation to cut out the ellipses. This way we’ve created a simplified shield silhouette.
Copy (Command-C) the shield and Paste (Command-V) it. Make the top copy a bit lighter. Use the Vector Crop Tool to cut the copy in half, creating a flat highlight.
Paste (Command-V) the shield once again and make the bottom copy somewhat larger. Change its Fill color to white, creating a rim around the shield.
10. How to Depict a Key Icon
First of all, let’s create the base of the key by combining several shapes. Start off by making a 25 x 25 px light-grey circle and cut out a small hole in it by creating another circle on top and applying the Subtract Operation.
Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool (M), create a 43 x 8 px rectangle with fully rounded corners and attach it to the left side of the circle.
Switch to the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a set of rectangles of various lengths, attaching them to the key and Aligning them to the Bottom.
Make the bottom left and right nodes of each rectangle rounded by adjusting the corner radius of the shapes in the control panel on top. Now it looks like a key—good job!
11. How to Design a Warning Sign Form
Here is another simple icon for our composition. Use the Triangle Tool to make a 70 x 55 px blue shape.
Take the Corner Tool (C) and make the top of the triangle rounded. You can actually set the desired Radius in the control panel on top. Let’s set it to 3 px.
Make the bottom corners of the shape rounded as well. Duplicate the keyhole from one of the locks that we’ve created earlier, recolor it, and place it right in the center of the triangle.
12. How to Depict a Stylised Web Page Icon
Let’s make a minimalistic web page icon using simple geometric shapes. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a 93 x 75 px white shape for the background of the page. Add a light-grey stripe of the same width on top of the white rectangle. Place three tiny circles on the left edge and two small squares on the right, depicting the buttons of the browser.
Start filling the white background with rectangles of various sizes and colors to depict the visual elements of the page as if we opened some website in the browser.
Use the Pen Tool (P) to add a group of thin strokes to depict stylised text lines.
Now that all the elements of our image are ready, we can move on and combine them into a balanced composition!
13. How to Build a Balanced Composition of Flat Icons
Place the laptop right in the center of our document and speckle other icons around it. Let’s make some icons overlap to add diversity to the composition. Place the web page icon next to the top left corner of the laptop and partly hide it beneath the laptop either by moving it down manually in the Layers panel or by pressing Shift-Command-[ to Move to Back.
Place the shield icon on top of the laptop on the right.
Now we need to add some simple shadows in order to visually separate the objects from each other. This is how we can do it. Duplicate (Command-J) the white rectangle which is for the display of the laptop. Select the bottom copy and change its color to light-grey. Move the copy a few pixels up and to the left, using the arrow keys of your keyboard.
Now duplicate the white element of the shield icon and do the same—recolor the bottom copy and move it down and to the left.
Select the created copies and switch the Blend Mode to Multiply on top of the Layers panel, making the shapes semi-transparent.
Now we need to hide the unwanted parts of these shadows. We can either use the Subtract Operation or let’s do the following. Duplicate the white rectangle of the laptop once again and place it on top of the laptop. Set its Fill and Stroke to None. Now we can go to the Layers panel drag and drop the shield shadow onto the blank rectangle copy to place it inside the container.
Do the same for the web page icon, placing the laptop shadow inside of the transparent web page copy.
Let’s connect the elements in order to make the composition look completed. Take the Pen Tool (P) and draw a line with vertical and horizontal strokes while holding down the Shift key. Set the Stroke color to greyish-purple.
Open the Stroke panel and switch the Style to Dash Line. Set the Width to 0.3 pt and apply 2 and 5 values to Dash and Gap.
Add more lines, connecting the elements. Change the color of some of the lines and add tiny circles at the tip of each line adding a futuristic technical look to our image.
Congratulations! Our Flat Internet Security Illustration Is Finished!
Great work! I hope you’ve enjoyed following this tutorial and discovered some new ways of creating simple icons and combining them into a well-balanced composition. Feel free to use these tips and tricks while creating new flat images in the vector Draw Persona of Affinity Designer.
Have fun and keep your system secure and protected!
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