Create a PC Components themed Icon Pack

Welcome back to another icon tutorial in which we’re going to take a close look behind the process of creating a set of PC components using nothing more than some basic geometric shapes and tools that you probably already use and abuse on a daily basis.

That being said, take a quick sip of that fresh coffee and let’s jump into it.

How to Create a New Document

As we do with all of our projects, let’s start by setting up a New Document (File → New or Control + N) which we will adjust as follows:

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

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen (72 ppi)

We’re going to be creating the icons using a Pixel Perfect Workflow, so I highly recommend you take a moment and read this tutorial that will get you up to speed in no time.

Quick tip: some of you might have noticed that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid option is missing, well that’s because the new software update has improved the way Illustrator handles pixel snapping, making it less of a hassle.

How to Set Up the Layers

With each new project, I like to separate my assets using a couple of different layers, since this way I can streamline my workflow by focusing on one item at a time, which allows me to keep track of each and every shape at all times.

So, open up the Layers panel, and let’s create four layers which we will name as follows:

  • Layer 1 → reference grids
  • Layer 2 → ssd
  • Layer 3 → video card
  • Layer 4 → ram

The way we’re going to be using these layers within our workflow is pretty easy. We’ll want to lock every one except the one that we will be working on, so that we won’t move or misplace some of the shapes by accident. Then, once we’re done with the current icon, we can then lock its layer and move on up to the next one.

How to Create the Reference Grids

As soon as we’ve layered our project file, we can start creating the reference grids, which will help us create our icons by focusing on consistency and size.

Step 1

Grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 128x128 px square, which we'll color using #F15A24, and then position it to the center of the Artboard using the Align panel’s Horizontal and Vertical Align Center options.

Step 2

Create another smaller 120x120 px square, which will act as the active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding. Color the shape using white (#FFFFFF) and then group the squares (Control + G) and create two more copies, distancing them at 40 px from the original.

Once you’re done creating and positioning the reference grids, you can lock their layer, and then move on up to the next one, where we’ll start working on our first icon.

How to Create the SSD Icon

Assuming you’ve positioned yourself onto the next layer (that would be the second one), let’s kick off the project by creating the first icon, which is the super-fast solid state drive.

Step 1

Create the device’s main body using a 116x72 px rectangle, which we will color using #7A7A82, and then center align to the underlying active drawing area.

Step 2

Give the rectangle an outline using the Stroke method, by creating a copy of it (Control + C) which we will paste in front (Control + F), and then adjust by first changing its color to #3D3D49 and then flipping its Fill with its Stroke (Shift + X). Set the resulting shape’s Weight to 4 px, making sure to select and group (Control + G) the two together before moving on to the next step.

Step 3

Create the main shapes for the SATA power and data connectors using a 12x36px rectangle (#EDC169) with a 4px thick outline (#3D3D49), which we will group (Control + G) and then align to the larger body’s right edge, positioning them at a distance of 12 px from its top.

Step 4

Start working on the pins by creating two 12 x 2 px rectangles (#3D3D49), which we will vertically stack at 2 px from one another, positioning them at a distance of 2 px from the connector’s top edge.

Step 5

Create the pin separator using an 8x8 px square (#3D3D49) onto the right of which we will add a smaller 4x4 px one (#3D3D49), which we will group (Control + G), and then position below the second pin, at a distance of just 2 px.

Step 6

Finish off the connector, by adding another set of three 12x2 px pins (#3D3D49) vertically stacked at 2 px from one another, which we will position below the separator, selecting and grouping (Control + G) all its composing shapes together once you’re done.

Step 7

Start working on the connector’s inner facing section by creating a 4x32 px rectangle (#3D3D49), which we will center align to its left edge.

Step 8

Add the smaller insertions using three 4x4 px squares (#3D3D49), which we will position onto the left side of the shape from the previous step. Once you’re done, select and group all the insertions and the connector together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 9

Create the little mounting holes, using a 12x12 px rectangle (#5E5E68), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 6 px from within the Transform Panel’s Rectangle Properties. Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D3D49) followed by a 4x4px circle to the center, grouping (Control + G) and then creating three copies (Control + C → Control + F), which we will position as seen in the reference image.

Step 10

Add the little screws using four 4x4 px circles (#3D3D49), which we will position onto each of the drive’s corners, making sure to leave a 4 px gap around them.

Step 11

Finish off the drive and with it the icon itself, by adding the little dummy text lines using a 4x20 px rectangle (#3D3D49) followed by another taller 4x28 px one (#3D3D49) on its right side, which we will group (Control + G) and then center align to the ssd’s main body. Once you’re done, select and group all its composing sections together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create the Video Card Icon

Assuming you’ve successfully finished working on the first icon, lock its layer and then move on to the next one (that would be the third one), where we will focus on creating the little video card.

Step 1

Start working on the card’s PCI interface by creating a 104x6 px rectangle, which we will color using #7A7A82, and then position at a distance of 34 px from the active drawing area’s bottom edge, and 10 px from its left edge.

Step 2

Add the bottom insertions using two 8x4 px rectangles (#7A7A82) distanced at 12 px from one another, followed by another 30x4 px rectangle onto their right side at a distance of just 6px. Group (Control + G) and then align all three shapes to the left edge of the larger rectangle, uniting them into a single larger shape using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape Mode.

Step 3

Give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D3D49), making sure to select and group (Control + G) both of them together afterwards.

Step 4

Create the smaller pin segment using an 8x6 px rectangle (#EDC169) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D3D49), which we will group (Control + G) and then position bellow the interface’s second insertion.

Step 5

Add the wider ping segment using a 30 x 6 px rectangle (#EDC169) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D3D49), which we will group (Control + G) and then position below the interface’s third bottom insertion.

Step 6

Add the pin dividers using six 2x6 px rectangles (#3D3D49), which we will horizontally stack at 2px from one another, grouping (Control + G) and then center aligning them to the larger segment. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) the dividers and the pin segment together as well.

Step 7

Once we’re done working on the golden pins, we can create the front support pin using a 4x8 px rectangle (#3D3D49), which we will position in-between the interface’s two smaller insertions.

Step 8

Draw the interface’s locking foot using a 4 px thick Stroke line (#3D3D49), which we will position onto the right side of the wider golden pin segment, at a distance of just 2 px.

Step 9

Add the line segments from above the card’s wider golden pin segment, using five 2x4 px rectangles (#3D3D49), which we will horizontally stack at 2 px from one another, grouping (Control + G) and then center aligning them to the interface’s third insertion. Once you’re done, select and group all of current section’s composing shapes using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 10

Start working on the card’s IO, by creating the L bracket which we will draw using a 4 px thick 60 px tall 10 px wide Stroke line (#3D3D49), which we will position onto the left side of the interface.

Step 11

Create the DVI port using a 6x12 px rectangle (#5E5E68) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D3D49) to the center of which we will left align a smaller 3x4 px rectangle (#3D3D49). Select and group (Control + G) all three shapes together, positioning them onto the left side of the bracket, at a distance of 16 px from its top edge.

Step 12

Create the little screw mounts surrounding the port using two 4x4 px squares (#3D3D49), which we will position at a distance of just 4 px from it. Once you’re done, select and group all of the bracket’s composing sections together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 13

Create the video card’s main body using a 108x50 px rectangle, which we will color using #D1D1DB, and then position above its interface, making sure to align it to its left side.

Step 14

Create another smaller 40x4 px rectangle (#D1D1DB), which we will position on top of the larger one, adjusting its shape by individually selecting and pushing its top corners to the inside by a distance of 4 px using the Move tool (right click → Transform → Move → Horizontal →  ±4px depending on which side you start with).

Step 15

Unite the two shapes into a single larger one, giving the resulting body a 4px thick outline (#3D3D49), making sure to select and group (Control + G) the two together afterwards.

Step 16

Start working on the first fan, by creating a 34x34px circle (#5E5E68) with a 4px thick outline (#3D3D49), which we will group (Control + G) and then center align to the previous shapes, positioning them at a distance of 10 px from their left edge.

Step 17

Create the fan’s center section using an 8x8px circle (#D1D1DB) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D3D49), which we will group (Control + G) and then center align to the larger shapes.

Step 18

Finish off the first fan by adding a 34x34 px, 4px thick circle (#3D3D49) to the center of its larger circles, selecting and grouping (Control + G) all its composing shapes together afterwards.


Step 19

Create the second fan using a copy (Control + C → Control + F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will position onto the right side of the card, at a distance of 12 px from the original.

Step 20

Add the little screws to the card’s shroud using four 4x4 px circles (#3D3D49), which we will position onto the larger shape's corners, making sure to leave a 2 px gap around them.

Step 21

Add the little dummy text lines using a 12x2 px rectangle (#3D3D49) vertically stacked at a distance of 2 px from a smaller 8x2 px one (#3D3D49). Group (Control + G) the two shapes and then center align them to the card’s shroud, at a distance of 4 px from its top edge.

Step 22

Finish off the video card and with it, the icon itself, by adding the heat pipes using two 28x6 px rectangles with a 4 px Stroke (#3D3D49), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of their top corners to 4 px. Horizontally distance the two at 8 px from one another, grouping (Control+G) and then aligning them to the upper section of the shroud, making sure to send them to the back (right click → Arrange → Send to Back). Once you’re done, select and group all of the icon’s composing shapes together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create the Video Card Icon

We are now down to our third and last icon, which is the little ram module, so without wasting any more time make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the fourth one), and let’s finish this.

Step 1

Create the module’s main body using a 116x48 px rectangle (#7A7A82), which we will center align to the underlying active drawing area, positioning it at a distance of 24 px from its bottom edge.

Step 2

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created, by removing two 4x8 px rectangles (highlighted with red) from its sides, and another 8x12 px one from its bottom edge using Pathfinder’s Minus Front Shape Mode.

Step 3

Set the Radius of the bottom cutout’s top corners to 4 px using the Live Corners input box. Once you’re done, give the resulting shape a 4 px thick outline (#3D3D49) making sure to select and group (Control + G) the two together afterwards.

Step 4

Create the smaller pin segment using a 30x6 px rectangle (#EDC169) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D3D49), which we will group (Control + G) and then position onto the left side of the bottom insertion, making sure to leave a 2 px gap in-between the two.

Step 5

Add the vertical pin dividers using six 2x6 px rectangles (#3D3D49), which we will horizontally stack at 2 px from one another, grouping (Control + G) and then center aligning them to the larger shapes from the previous step, making sure to create another group (Control + G) afterwards.

Step 6

Create the wider pin segment using a 50x6 px rectangle (#EDC169) with a 4 px thick outline (#3D3D49), which we will group (Control + G) and then position onto the right side of the bottom insertion, at a distance of just 2 px from it.

Step 7

Add the vertical dividers using eleven 2x6 px rectangles (#3D3D49) horizontally stacked at 2 px from one another, which we will group (Control + G) and then center align to the previously created shapes. Once you’re done, select and group the dividers and the pin segment together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

Step 8

Next, take a couple of moments and add the little rectangular details using a couple of 2 px wide 4 px tall rectangles (#3D3D49) and one 4x4 px one (#3D3D49), which we will group (Control + G) and then position above the golden pins, at a distance of just 2 px. Take your time and once you’re done select and group (Control + G) all of the current shapes together, before moving on to the next step.

Step 9

Start working on the module’s heatsink by creating a 96x10 px rectangle, which we will color using #EFC867 and then center align to the larger body, positioning it at a distance of 14 px from its top edge.

Step 10

Create another larger 104x30 px rectangle (#EFC867), which we will position on top of the one from the previous step.

Step 11

Add the heatsink’s upper section using seven 8x10 px rectangles (#EFC867) horizontally stacked at 8 px from one another, which we will group (Control + G) and then position on top of the previous rectangle.

Step 12

Select and combine all of the heatsink’s composing rectangles into a single larger shape using Pathfinder’s Unite Shape Mode, giving it a 4 px thick outline (#3D3D49) afterwards.

Step 13

Add the side rectangular insertions using two 4x8 px rectangles (#3D3D49) which we will center align to the top section of the module’s outline.

Step 14

Using a couple of 4 px tall rectangles (#3D3D49) add the little dummy text lines to give the heatsink some details. Once you’re done, select and group them together before moving on to the final step.

Step 15

Finish off the ram module and with it the icon itself, by adding the heat pipe using an 88 px wide 4 px thick Stroke line (#3D3D49), which we will align to the top edge of the heatsink’s teeth, making sure to position it underneath (right click → Arrange → Send to Back). Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) all of the current section’s composing shapes together, doing the same for the entire icon afterwards.

Great Job!

As always, I really hope you enjoyed the tutorial and most importantly, learned something new and useful along the way.

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Andrei Stefan
Andrei Stefan
Andrei StefanTeacher

Just another young gun coffee fanatic from Europe, designing colorful worlds one pixel at a time. When I'm not “making stuff” you can usually find me at my place, flipping news and catching up on all the crazy things happening in both the tech and design realms.

To learn more, visit http://www.andrewrosek.com

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