Final product image
What You’ll Be Creating

In today’s tutorial we’re going to
approach a somewhat different theme and learn how to create some social
media icons, using some simple shapes such as the Rounded Rectangle Tool and Ellipse
in combination with the power of the Align and Stroke panels.

Oh, and don’t forget you can always expand the project by heading over
to GraphicRiver, where you’ll find tons of awesome Social Media icon packs,
just waiting to be used.

1. How to Set Up a New Document

Since I’m sure that you already
have Illustrator up and running in the background, bring it up and let’s set up
a New Document (File > New or Control-N)
using the following settings:

  • Number
    of Artboards:
    1
  • Width:
    800
    px
  • Height:
    600
    px
  • Units:
    Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color
    Mode:
    RGB
  • Raster
    Effects:
    Screen (72ppi)
  • Preview Mode: Default
setting up a new document

Quick
tip:
some of you might have noticed that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid option
is missing. That’s because I’m running the new CC 2017 version of the
software, where great changes have been made to the way Illustrator handles the way shapes snap to the underlying Pixel Grid.

2. How to Set Up a Custom Grid

Since we’re going to be creating the icons
using a pixel-perfect workflow, we’ll want to set up a nice little Grid so that we can have full control
over our shapes—that is if we’re running the older version of the software.

Step 1

Go to the Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid submenu, and adjust
the following settings:

  • Gridline
    every:
    1 px
  • Subdivisions: 1
setting up a custom grid

Quick
tip:
you can learn more about grids by reading this
in-depth piece on how Illustrator’s Grid System works.

Step 2

Once we’ve set up our custom grid, all we
need to do in order to make sure our shapes look crisp is enable the Snap to Grid option found under the View menu, which will transform into Snap to Pixel each time you enter Pixel Preview mode.

Now, if you’re new to
the whole “pixel-perfect workflow”, I strongly recommend you go through my how
to create pixel-perfect artwork
tutorial, which will help you widen your
technical skills in no time.

3. How to Set Up the Layers

With the new document created, it would be
a good idea to structure our project using a couple of layers, since this way
we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one icon at a time.

That being said, bring up the Layers panel, and create a total of
five layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer 1: reference grids
  • layer 2: snapchat
  • layer 3: instagram
  • layer 4: youtube
  • layer 5: facebook
setting up the layers

4. How to Create the Reference Grids

The
Reference Grids
(or Base Grids)
are a set of precisely delimited reference surfaces, which allow us to build
our icons by focusing on size and consistency.

Usually, the size of the grids determines
the size of the actual icons, and they should always be the first decision you
make when you start a new project, since you’ll always want to start from the
smallest possible size and build on that.

Now, in our case, we’re going to be
creating the icon pack using just one size, more exactly 128 x 128 px, which is a fairly large one.

Step 1

Start by locking all
but the reference grid layer, and then grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 128 x 128 px orange (#F15A24) square, which will help define the
overall size of our icons.

creating the main shape for the reference grid

Step 2

Add a smaller 120 x 120 px one (#FFFFFF) which will
act as our active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding.

creating the main shape for the active drawing area

Step 3

Group the two squares composing the
reference grid using the Control-G keyboard
shortcut, and then create three copies at a distance of 40 px from one another, making sure to align them to the center of
the Artboard.

Once you’re done,
lock the current layer and move on to the next one, where we’ll start working on
our first icon.

creating and positioning all four reference grids

5. How to Create the Snapchat Icon

We’re going to kick off the project by
creating an icon for Snapchat’s newest addition, the Spectacles, which are an
extension of the service that has been recently made public.

That being said, make sure you’re on the
right layer (that would be the second one) and then zoom in on the first
reference grid so that we can get started.

Step 1

Create the icon’s
main shape using a 96 x 96 px rounded
rectangle with a 16 px Corner Radius,
which we will color using #F2CD66, and then center align to the underlying
active drawing area, at a distance of 4
px
from its top edge.

Step 2

Give the shape a
ring-like highlight, by creating a copy of it (Control-C > Control-F) which we will adjust by flipping its Fill with its Stroke (Shift-X), and
then setting its color to white (#FFFFFF) and its Weight to 8 px, making
sure to align it to the inside afterwards.

Step 3

Since we’ll want the
highlight to be a little bit more subtle, we’ll need to select it and then
lower its Opacity to about 30%.

Step 4

Once we’ve finished adjusting the
highlight, we can add the icon’s main outline by creating another copy of its main shape (Control-C), which we
will paste in front (Control-F), flipping its fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px thick Stroke, with the color
set to #3A2121.

At this point, you
can also select and group (Control-G)
all of the icon’s composing shapes since it will make it easier to handle them
if you ever need to.

Step 5

Start working on the
little eye by creating its main shape using a 56 x 56 px circle, which we will color white (#FFFFFF) and then
center align to the underlying yellow shape.

Step 6

Add the pupil using a
32 x 32 px circle, which we will
color using #3A2121 and then center align to the white shape that we
created in the previous step.

Step 7

Add the little cutout
from the pupil’s top-left corner by creating a 12 x 12 px circle, which we will color using white (#FFFFFF) and
then align to its left and bottom edges using the Align panel.

Step 8

Give the eye a subtle
inner shadow by creating a copy (Control-C)
of its white circle, which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by flipping its fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px thick Stroke (#3A2121), making sure to set the alignment to the inside and lowering its Opacity to 20% afterwards.

Step 9

Finish the eye by adding an 8 px thick outline (#3A2121) to its
main body, and then select and group all its composing sections together using
the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Once you’re done, do
the same for the entire icon.

Step 10

Finish off the icon
by adding an 88 x 10 px ellipse,
which we will color using #3A2121 and then center align to the bottom edge of
the underlying active drawing area.

Step 11

Turn the ellipse into
a subtle shadow by lowering its Opacity to
30%, and then select both it and the
icon and group the two together using the Control-G
keyboard shortcut.

snapchat icon finished

6. How to Create the Instagram Icon

Assuming you’ve managed to finish the
first icon, lock its layer and move on up to the next one (that would be the
third one) and let’s start working on the second one, the Instagram icon.

Step 1

Start by creating the
icon’s main shape using a 96 x 96 px rounded
rectangle with a 26 px Corner Radius which
we will color using #E5C2AA and then center align to the underlying active
drawing area at a distance of 4 px from
its top edge.

Step 2

Create the body’s
upper darker section using a 96 x 40 px rectangle
(#B76F58), which we will center align to the upper edge of the underlying shape and then adjust by setting the Radius of
its top corners to 26 px.

Step 3

As we did with the
Snapchat icon, add the ring-like highlight by creating a copy (Control-C) of the larger shape and
pasting it in front (Control-F), flipping its fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px inner facing Stroke, with the color
set to white (#FFFFFF) and the Opacity to
30%.

adding the inner highlight to the instagram icons body

Step 4

With the highlight in
place, create the icon’s main outline using another copy (Control-C) of its main shape, which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by flipping
its fill with an 8 px thick Stroke with the color set to #3A2121.

Step 5

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw in the horizontal
divider line separating the icon’s two sections, using an 8 px thick Stroke with
the color set to #3A2121.

Step 6

With the Pen Tool (P) still selected, draw the
subtle highlight from underneath the divider line, using a 4 px thick Stroke with
the color set to white (#FFFFFF) and the Opacity
to 30%.

Step 7

Grab the Ellipse Tool (L) and create a 12 x 12 px circle, which we will color
using #3A2121 and then position over in the icon’s top-right
corner, leaving a gap of 10 px between
it and the larger outline.

Once you’re done,
select and group all the shapes that we have so far using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 8

Start working on the
lens by creating a 44 x 44 px ellipse,
which we will color using #564141 and then center align to the icon’s main
body.

Step 9

Create the inner
darker section of the lens using a smaller 16 x 16
px
circle, which we will color using #3A2121 and then center align to the
underlying larger shape.

Step 10

Give the lens a
subtle inner reflection, by creating a copy (Control-C) of its larger circle which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by flipping
its Fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px thick
inner-facing Stroke, with the color
set to white (#FFFFFF) and the Opacity to
20%.

Step 11

Add another smaller
reflection to the top-right corner of the lens, by creating a 6 x 6 px circle with the color set to
white (#FFFFFF) and the Opacity to 20%, positioning it over the darker
center so that it goes outside of it by 2
px
on each side.

Step 12

Finish off the lens by adding the 8 px thick outline (#3A2121), selecting
and grouping (Control-G) all its
composing shapes afterwards.

Once you’re done, do
the same for the entire icon, by selecting and grouping (Control-G) all its composing sections as well.

Step 13

Finish off the icon by adding the subtle
shadow, which we will create using an 88
x 10 px
ellipse, with the color set to #3A2121 and the Opacity to 20%.

As always, don’t
forget to select and group (Control-G)
all the icon’s composing sections before moving on to the next one.

instagram icon finished

7. How to Create the YouTube Icon

Assuming you’ve already moved on up to the
next layer (that would be the fourth one), zoom in on the third reference grid
and let’s get started.

Step 1

Start by creating the
icon’s main shape using a 96 x 96 px rounded
rectangle with a 26 px Corner Radius,
which we will color using #ED6F56 and then center align to the active drawing
area, at a distance of 4 px from its
top edge.

Step 2

Add the inner-facing
highlight as we did with all the other icons, by creating a copy (Control-C) of its main shape which we
will paste in front (Control-F) and
then adjust by flipping its Fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px thick Stroke with
the color set to white (#FFFFFF) and the Opacity
to 30%.

adding the inner highlight to the youtube icons main body

Step 3

Give the icon a nice
thick 8 px outline, setting the Stroke’s color to #3A2121, and then
select and group all its composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 4

Start working on the
little play arrow, by creating a 38 x 40
px
rectangle, which we will color using white (#FFFFFF) and then center
align to the underlying red shape, pushing it slightly to the right (about 3 px) afterwards.

Step 5

Turn the rectangle
into a right-facing arrow, by adding a new Anchor
Point
to the center of its right edge using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) and then removing its top and bottom
right ones using the Delete Anchor Point
Tool (-)
.

Step 6

Give the arrow an outline by creating a
copy of it (Control-C > Control-F), which we will adjust by setting its color to #3A2121 and then flipping its Fill with an 8 px thick Stroke with
the Corners set to Round Join.

Once you’re done, select and group the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, and then do the same for the icon’s
composing sections as well.

Step 7

Finish off the icon by adding the little
subtle shadow, which we will create using an 88 x 10 px ellipse, which we will color using #3A2121, center
aligning it to the active drawing area’s bottom edge, making sure to lower its Opacity to 20%.

Once you’re done,
don’t forget to select and group (Control-G)
all of the icon’s composing sections together.

youtube icon finished

8. How to Create the Facebook Icon

We are now down to our fourth and last
icon, so make sure you position yourself onto the last layer, and then zoom in
on its reference grid so that we can wrap things up.

Step 1

Create the icon’s
main shape using a 96 x 96 px rounded
rectangle with a 16 px Corner Radius,
which we will color using #5D92D1, and then center align to the active drawing
area, at a distance of 4 px from its
top edge.

Step 2

Give the shape an
inner facing highlight by creating a copy of it (Control-C > Control-F), which we will adjust by flipping its Fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px Stroke,
setting the color to white (#FFFFFF) and then lowering its Opacity to 30%.

Step 3

Create the icon’s main outline using
another copy (Control-C) of its body, which we will paste in front (Control-F)
and then adjust by setting its color to #3A2121, and then flipping its Fill (Shift-X) with an 8 px thick
Stroke.

Once you’re done,
select and group all three shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 4

Start working on the letter “F” by creating a 14 x 78 px rectangle,
which we will color white (#FFFFFF) and then bottom align to the visible
section of the underlying blue shape, positioning it onto the right side of the
icon, at a distance of 26 px from
its larger outline.

Step 5

Create a smaller 16 x 14 px rectangle (#FFFFFF) and
position it onto the top right side of the shape from the previous step.

Step 6

Create the crossbar using a 44 x 14 px rectangle, which
we will color white (#FFFFFF) and then right align to the shape that we
created in the previous step, positioning it at distance of 16 px from it.

Step 7

Select all of the letter’s sections and
combine them into a single larger shape using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape
Mode
, removing one of the extra Anchor
Points
created during the process using the Delete Anchor Point Tool (-).

Step 8

Double click on the
resulting shape to enter Isolation Mode,
and then start adjusting it by selecting its top left corner and setting its Radius to 16 px using the Live Corners feature
from the top bar.

Step 9

Next, select the
corner from above the letter’s crossbar, and adjust that as well by setting its
Radius to 6 px.

Step 10

Finally, select the crossbar’s bottom
right corner, and push it to the inside by 2
px
using the Move Tool (right click > Transform > Move >
Horizontal > -2 px
).

Once you’re done,
exit Isolation Mode by pressing Escape, and then select and group (Control-G) all of the icon’s composing
sections together.

Step 11

Finish off the icon by adding the subtle
shadow, which we will create using the same 88 x 10 px ellipse (#3A2121) with a 20% Opacity, which we
will center align to the bottom edge of the active drawing area.

Once you’re done,
select all the icon’s composing sections and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

facebook icon finished

It’s a Wrap!

There you have it: a super easy tutorial on how to create your very own social media icon pack
using nothing more than some simple shapes and tools that you probably already
work with on a daily basis. I hope you’ve managed to follow each and every step,
and as always learned something new and helpful along the way.

finished project preview

Go to original Source
Author: Andrei Stefan

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