How to Create a Set of Sexuality Icons in Adobe Illustrator

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How to Create a Set of Sexuality Icons in Adobe Illustrator

Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In the following steps you will learn how to create a simple set of sexuality icons in Adobe Illustrator. 

For starters, you will learn how to set up a simple grid and how to create the male and female symbols using basic tools and vector shape building techniques along with the Rounded Corners effect. Using these two icons and the Rotate Tool, you will learn how to create the remaining ten icons. Finally, you will learn how to add some subtle shading and highlights.

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

1. How to 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 850 in the width box and 1730 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 that Create Document button.

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.

setup grid

2. How to Create the Male and Female Symbol Icons

Step 1

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and focus on your Toolbar. Remove the color from the fill and then select the stroke and set its color to R=255 G=0 B=0. Move to your artboard and simply create a 76 px circle—the grid and the Snap to Grid should make this easier. Make sure that this new shape stays selected and open the Appearance panel (Window > Appearance).

First, click that Opacity piece of text to open the Transparency fly-out panel and lower the Opacity to about 50%. Keep focusing on the Appearance panel and this time click that Stroke piece of text to open the Stroke fly-out panel. Increase the Weight to 16 px and then check the Align Stroke to Inside button.

ellipse tool

Step 2

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and hit Shift-X to invert the existing fill and stroke attributes. Create a 16 x 50 px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Lower its Opacity to about 50% and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter an 8 px Radius and then click that OK button.

rectangle tool

Step 3

Using the same tool and color attributes, create a 48 x 16 px shape and place it as shown in the following image. Make sure that it’s selected and go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter an 8 px Radius and then click that OK button.

rounded corners

Step 4

Reselect your circle and simply duplicate it (Control-C > Control-V). Select this copy and replace the existing stroke color with R=41 G=171 B=226.

blue circle

Step 5

Pick the Line Segment Tool (), create a 36 px horizontal line, and place it exactly as shown in the first image. Add a blue stroke (R=41 G=171 B=226) for this path, lower its Opacity to about 50%, and then open that Stroke fly-out panel. Set the Weight to 16 px and don’t forget to check that Round Cap button.

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the right anchor point, and simply drag it 36 px up.

line tool

Step 6

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 20 px square and place it as shown in the first image. Add the same blue stroke, lower its Opacity to 50% and then open that Stroke fly-out panel. Set the Weight to 16 px and then check those Round Cap and Round Join buttons.

Switch to the Direct Selection Tool (A), select the bottom left anchor point, and simply hit the Delete key on your keyboard to remove it. In the end, things should look like in the second image.

delete point

Step 7

Select all your red shapes and go to Object > Expand Appearance. Make sure that the resulting shapes are selected, open the Pathfinder panel (Window > Pathfinder), and click the Unite button. This will be your icon for the female symbol.

Repeat the same techniques with your blue shapes. This will be your icon for the male symbol.

pathfinder

3. How to Create the Other Ten Icons

Step 1

Duplicate your male and female icons and then place the copies as shown in the following image. This will be your icon for the hetero symbol.

heterosexual

Step 2

Make two copies of your male icon and place them as shown in the first image. Leave a 4 px spacing between those edges, as you did in the previous step.

Once you’re done, select the bottom copy and pick the Rotate Tool (R). Use a simple click to place the center point right in the center of that inner circle (as shown in the first image) and then rotate it manually 135 degrees. In the end, things should look like in the third image. This will be your icon for one of the gay symbols.

rotate center

Step 3

Make two copies of your female icon and place them as shown in the first image. Once again, leave a 4 px spacing between those edges.

Once you’re done, select the top copy and pick the Rotate Tool (R). Be sure that you place the center point right in the center of that inner circle (as shown in the first image) and then rotate it manually 135 degrees. In the end, things should look like in the third image. This will be your icon for one of the lesbian symbols.

rotate center

Step 4

Create some new copies of your male and female icons and use them to create the four icons shown in the following images. You have the second icons for the gay and lesbian symbols and two icons for the bisexual symbols.

symbols

Step 5

Duplicate your male and female icons and then place the copies on top of each other as shown in the first image. Select these copies and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. This will be your icon for one of the transgender symbols.

unite

Step 6

Duplicate your male and female icons and then place the copies on top of each other as you did in the previous step. Select only that male icon and go to Object > Transform > Reflect. Check the Vertical box and then click that Copy button. Select your flipped copy, drag it to the left and place it as shown in the first image.

Pick the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 44 x 16 px shape. Place it exactly as shown in the second image and then go to Effect > Stylize > Rounded Corners. Enter an 8 px Radius and then click that OK button.

rounded rectangle

Step 7

Select your newly made rounded rectangle and pick the Rotate Tool (R). Place the center point right in the center of that inner circle and then rotate your shape 45 degrees. You can use the Ellipse Tool (L) to add a tiny circle in that center point which will make it easier for you to spot the center of that inner circle. Once you’re done, make sure that your rectangle is still selected and go to Object > Expand Appearance.

rotate

Step 8

Select all the shapes highlighted in the following image and click the Unite button from the Pathfinder panel. This will be your icon for the second transgender symbol.

pathfinder

Step 9

Pick the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a new, 76 px circle. Lower its Opacity to 50%, add a 16 px stroke and align it to inside, and then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke. This will be your icon for the asexual symbols.

outline stroke

Step 10

Make sure that you have all 12 icons and spread them about as shown in the following image.

icons

4. How to Add Color, Some Subtle Shading, and Highlights

Step 1

Using the Rectangle Tool (M), create a shape the size of your artboard, fill it with R=143 G=94 B=226, and send it to back (Shift-Control-[). Select all your icons and simply hit the D key on your keyboard to replace the existing Appearance attributes with the default ones (white fill and black stroke). Remove the black stroke and only keep that white fill.

purple background

Step 2

Focus on your heterosexual symbol. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 44 px circle and place it exactly as shown in the first image. Make sure that there’s no color set for the fill and then select the stroke. Set the Weight to 4 px, align it to inside, and then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.

Switch to the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 30 px square, and place it as shown in the second image. Just make sure that this shape covers the surface of your grey shape that overlaps with the male symbol icon. Select both shapes made in this step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.

intersect

Step 3

Select that male symbol shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select it along with that red shape and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=190 G=200 B=200.

grey

Step 4

Keep focusing on your heterosexual symbol. Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 76 px circle and place it exactly as shown in the first image. Make sure that there’s no color set for the fill and then select the stroke. Set the Weight to 4 px, align it to outside, and then go to Object > Path > Outline Stroke.

Switch to the Rectangle Tool (M), create a 40 px square, and place it as shown in the second image. Again, make sure that this shape covers the surface of your grey shape that overlaps with the female symbol icon. Select both shapes made in this step and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.

intersect

Step 5

Select that female symbol shape and make a copy in front (Control-C > Control-F). Select it along with that red shape and click the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the resulting shape with R=190 G=200 B=200.

grey

Step 6

Keep focusing on your heterosexual symbol. Select the two white icons along with those tiny grey shapes and Group them (Control-G).

group

Step 7

Move to the other six symbols that have overlapping icons and add some subtle shading, as shown in the following images. Once you’re done with the shading, don’t forget to Group your shapes.

shading

Step 8

Finally, select your groups and go to Effect > Stylize > Drop Shadow. Enter the attributes shown in the following image and then click that OK button.

drop shadow

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. Don’t hesitate to share your final result in the comments section.

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 design.

final product

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Author: Andrei Marius

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2017-10-18T12:04:51+00:00