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Design

How to Make a Money Icon in Adobe Illustrator

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

In the following steps, you will learn how to create a minimal icon pack in Adobe Illustrator using basic icon design techniques.

For starters, you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create a frame for each minimal icon. Using basic tools and taking full advantage of the grid and snap to grid features, you will learn how to create the three versions of the icon design. 

You'll learn how to work with basic tools and effects, how to easily transform and multiply shapes, and how to add subtle shading. Before we start, you can download the money icon PNG files and take a closer look at what you're about to create.

For more inspiration on how to adjust or improve your icon design, you can find plenty of resources at GraphicRiver.

What You Will Need

You will need the following resource in order to complete this project:

1. How to Create a New Document and Set Up Grid

Hit Control-N to create a new document. Select Pixels from the Units drop-down menu, enter 850 in the width box and 340 in the height box, and then click that More Settings button. Select RGB for the Color Mode, set the Raster Effects to Screen (72 ppi), and then click Create Document.

Enable the Grid (View > Show Grid) and the Snap to Grid (View > Snap to Grid). You will need a grid every 1 px, so simply go to Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid, and enter 1 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, and keep in mind that you can easily enable or disable it using the Control-" keyboard shortcut.

You can learn more about Illustrator's grid system in this short tutorial from Andrei Stefan: Understanding Adobe Illustrator's Grid System.

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

Now that you're set, let's learn how to make icons.

set up grid

2. How to Create the Frames for the Icon Design

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 a random red.

Hold down the Shift key and create a 72 px square. Make sure that it stays selected, open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance), and lower the Opacity to around 20%.

red square

Step 2

Make sure that your square stays selected and open the Transform panel (Window > Transform). Focus on the X and Y input fields to numerically place shapes on your artboard. Enter the settings shown in the following image, and in the end your shape should be placed as shown below.

transform panel

Step 3

Make sure that your square is still selected and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Drag the Move-Horizontal slider to 206 px, enter 2 in the Copies box, and click OK.

Focus on the Layers panel (Window > Layers), expand the existing layer, and simply lock your shape to make sure that you won't accidentally select/move it. You'll only need these red squares as frames for your icons.

lock shape

3. How to Create the First Money Icon Design

Step 1

Set the fill color to R=80 G=115 B=179, pick the Rectangle Tool (M), and create a 3 px square. Using the same tool, create a 6 x 3 px shape, place it exactly as shown in the second image, and lower its Opacity to 0%.

Select the two shapes made in this step and simply drag them inside the Swatches panel (Window > Swatches) to save them as a pattern.

create save pattern

Step 2

Focus on the left red square and pick the Ellipse Tool (L). Create a 72 x 66 px shape and place it as shown in the following image.

Fill your ellipse with R=0 G=35 B=129 and focus on the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance). Add a 4 px stroke and set its color to R=80 G=15 B=179. Open the Stroke fly-out panel and check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

ellipse stroke

Step 3

Make sure that your ellipse stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. Click the Add New Fill button to add a second fill and select it.

Set the color to R=30 G=65 B=129 and go to Effect > Path > Offset Path. Enter a -4 px Offset, click OK, and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attribute shown below and click OK.

add new fill

Step 4

Make sure that your ellipse stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Add a new fill, drag it to the bottom of the panel, and select it.

Set the color to R=10 G=65 B=129 and go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

add new fill transform

Step 5

Make sure that your ellipse stays selected and keep focusing on the Appearance panel. Select the bottom fill and duplicate it using the Duplicate Selected Item button.

Select the newly added fill, apply your pattern from the Swatches panel, and lower its Opacity to 50%.

apply pattern

Step 6

Pick the Type Tool (T) and open the Character panel (Window > Type > Character). Select the Odudo Mono font, set the style to Bold, and set the size to 40 px.

Move to the artboard and simply click on it. Type your $ sign, place it as shown in the following image, and set the color to R=245 G=245 B=245.

type tool dollar sign

4. How to Create the Second Money Icon Design

Step 1

Set the fill color to R=30 G=65 B=129, pick the Rectangle Tool (M), and create a 1 x 3 px shape. Using the same tool, create a 6 x 3 px shape, place it exactly as shown in the second image, and lower its Opacity to 0%.

Select the two shapes made in this step and save them as a new pattern in the Swatches panel.

save pattern

Step 2

Move to the middle red square. Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 72 x 66 px shape, and fill it with white. Duplicate this new ellipse (Control-C > Control-V) and place the copy as shown in the second image.

Switch to the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 72 x 6 px shape, and place it as shown in the third image. Select the three shapes made in this step, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder), and click the Unite button.

pathfinder panel

Step 3

Make sure that the shape made in the previous step stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel.

Select the fill and replace the existing color with R=245 G=245 B=245. Add a second fill and apply your second pattern from the Swatches panel. Add a 1 px stroke, set its color to R=30 G=65 B=129, and don't forget to check the Align Stroke to Inside button from the Stroke panel.

apply pattern

Step 4

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 72 x 66 px shape, and place it as shown in the first image. Fill this new ellipse with R=245 G=245 B=245 and then add a 1 px stroke, set its color to R=30 G=65 B=129, and don't forget to align it to inside.

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 64 x 58 px shape, place it as shown in the second image, and apply the same attributes used for the previous ellipse.

ellipses

Step 5

Make sure that the second ellipse made in the previous step is still selected, and add two copies in front (Control-C > Control-F > Control-F). Select the top copy and move it 3 px down.

Reselect both shapes made in this step and click the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.

minus front

Step 6

Make a copy of that $ sign, change its color to R=30 G=65 B=129, and place it as shown in the following image.

money text

5. How to Create the Third Money Icon Design

Step 1

Keep focusing on that middle red square. Select the patterned shape and duplicate it (Control-C > Control-V). Move to the right red square and place your fresh copy as shown in the second image.

Make sure that your newly made shape stays selected and focus on the Appearance panel. First, remove the stroke and the pattern fill, and then select the remaining fill and set its color to R=30 G=65 B=129.

blue shape

Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 4 x 72 px shape, and fill it with R=245 G=245 B=245. Place this new rectangle as shown in the following image and then go to Effect > Distort & Transform > Transform. Enter the attributes shown below and click OK.

trasform effect

Step 3

Make sure that the rectangle made in the previous step is still selected and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Ungroup (Shift-Control-G) the resulting group of shapes and then turn them into a compound path (Object > Compound Path > Make or Control-8).

Select the blue shape that lies in the back of your compound path and add a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select this copy along with your compound path and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.

compound path

Step 4

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 72 x 66 px shape. Fill this new ellipse with R=30 G=65 B=129 and then place it as shown below.

ellipse

Step 5

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 64 x 58 px shape. Add a 2 px stroke for this new ellipse, align it to inside, and set the color to R=245 G=245 B=245.

ellipse

Step 6

Make a copy of that $ sign, make sure that its color is set to R=245 G=245 B=245, and place it as shown in the following image.

money symbol

6. How to Add a Background to the Final Icon Design

Step 1

Go to the Layers panel, unlock that red square, and delete it.

delete shape

Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create an 860 x 350 px shape. Fill this new rectangle with R=245 G=245 B=245, make sure that it covers your entire artboard, and then send it to back (Shift-Control-[).

background

Congratulations! You're Done!

Here is how your minimal icon pack should look. I hope you've enjoyed this tutorial and learned a few things about how to make icons. Don't hesitate to share your final result in the comments section. Remember that you can easily download the money icon PNG files and use them in your projects.

Feel free to adjust the final design and make it your own. You can find some great sources of inspiration at GraphicRiver, with interesting solutions to improve your icon design.

how to make icons

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