In today’s tutorial, we’re going to tackle another icon design project, by taking a close look at the process of creating a blog icon.
No matter whether you're an experienced designer or just starting out, we're going to see how easy it is to create a blog icon, using nothing more than a couple of basic geometric shapes that we’re going to adjust here and there.
So, if you've always wanted to design your own blog icon, but never knew exactly where or how to start, this should be a great way to kickstart your creative journey.
1. How to Set Up a New Project File
As with every new project, we’re going to kick things off by setting up a proper New Document, by heading over to File > New (or by using the Control-N keyboard shortcut), which we will adjust as follows:
- Profile: Web
- Number of Artboards: 1
- Width: 128 px
- Height: 128 px
- Units: Pixels
And from the Advanced tab:
- Color Mode: RGB
- Raster Effects: Screen (72 ppi)
- Preview Mode: Default
Quick tip: most of the indicated settings will be automatically triggered once you set the Profile to Web, the only ones that you will have to manually adjust being the Width and Height of the Artboard.
2. How to Set Up the Layers
Once we’ve finished setting up our document, we need to take a couple of moments and structure the project using a couple of layers, so that we can separate our icon from our reference grid.
To do this, simply open up the Layers panel and then create two layers using the Create New Layer button, naming them as follows:
- bottom layer: reference grid
- top layer: icon
3. How to Create the Reference Grid
As soon as we’ve finished layering our document, we can focus on building the reference grid, which will help us define the actual size of the icon, while allowing us to add a small protective padding to the finished design.
Select the bottom
layer, and then create the reference surface (the base size) using a 64 x 64 px square, which we will color
#F15A24 and then position in the center of the underlying Artboard using
the Align panel’s Horizontal and Vertical Align Center options.
Add the active
drawing area using a smaller 56 x 56 px square,
which we will color using white (
#FFFFFF) and then center align to the larger
underlying one, which will result in an all-around 4 px padding.
Once you have both shapes in place, select and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, making sure to lock the current layer before moving on to the next step.
4. How to Create the Blog Icon
Now that we’ve finished setting up our project file, we can begin working on the actual icon, which we will gradually build one shape at a time.
Grab the Ellipse Tool (L),
and create the background using a 56 x
56 px circle, which we will color using
#FF8A3B and then center align to
the underlying Artboard.
Add the main shape for the chat symbol using a 28 x 20 px rounded rectangle with a 4 px Corner Radius, which we will color using white (
then position at a distance of 12 px from
the active drawing area’s left edge and 16
px from its top one.
Create a smaller 8 x 8 px square
#FFFFFF), which we will position below the rounded rectangle so that their
paths overlap as seen in the reference image.
Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by selecting the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-) and then simply clicking on its bottom-right anchor point in order to remove it.
Unite the chat symbol’s two composing shapes into a single larger one, by first selecting them both and then using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape Mode.
Turn the resulting shape into an outline by first flipping its Fill with its Stroke using the Shift-X keyboard shortcut, and then opening up the Stroke panel and setting its Weight to 4 px and its Corner to Round Join.
Next, we’re going to start working on the pencil by creating the cutout
using a 40 x 20 px rectangle. Color it using
#FF8A3B, and then add a new anchor point to
the center of its bottom edge using the Add
Anchor Point Tool (+).
Quick tip: I’ve isolated the shape so that you can have a better view of the adjustments, but feel free to position it outside of the Artboard so that you can carry them out more easily.
Select the shape’s bottom anchors using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then push them to the top by 5 px using either the directional arrow keys or the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > -5 px).
Rotate the resulting shape clockwise using a 45° angle (right click > Transform > Rotate > -45°), and then position it in the chat symbol’s top-right corner, as seen in the reference image.
Adjust the size of the cutout by giving the shape an outline using the Stroke method. To do this, simply create a copy (Control-C > Control-F), which we will then adjust by increasing the Weight of its Stroke from 4 px to 10 px. Once you’re done, make sure you select and group the two shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.
Finish off the icon, and with it the project itself, by adding the pencil
using a copy (Control-C) of the
shapes that we’ve just grouped, which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by setting
their color to white (
#FFFFFF). Once you’re done, make sure you select and
group (Control-G) all of the icon’s
composing shapes before finally hitting that save button.
As always, I hope you had fun working on the project but most importantly managed to learn something new and useful in the process.
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!
Grow Your Icon-Building Skills!
Always wanted to learn more about icons, but never knew exactly where to start?! Well, today's your lucky day since I took the time to put together a list of tutorials and articles that should get you started in no time!