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Graphic Design: Create a Set of Security Icons

Beginner level Adobe Illustrator Adobe Illustrator
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How to Set Up a New Document

Assuming you already have the software running in the background, bring it up and let’s start by setting up a New Document (File > New or Control-N) which we will adjust 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 (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 in-depth tutorial that will get you up to speed in no time.

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How to Set Up the Layers

Once we’ve set up our new document, it would be a good idea to separate our icons using a couple of different layers, since this way we can streamline our workflow by focusing on one item at a time, which allows us to keep track of each and every shape at all time.

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

  • layer 1 > reference grids
  • layer 2 > visibility toggle
  • layer 3 > fingerprint scanner
  • layer 4 > incognito mode
  • layer 5 > security lock
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The way we’re going to be using these layers within our workflow is pretty easy. We’ll want to lock all 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 64 x 64 px square, which we will color using #F15A24, and then position it to the center of the Artboard using the Align panel’s Horizontal and Vertical Align Center options.

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Step 2

Create another smaller 56 x 56 px square (#FFFFFF), which will act as the active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding. Group the two squares (Control-G), and then create three side copies (Control-C > Control-F three times), distancing them at 28 px from the original. Once you have all the grids in place, group (Control-G) and then center align them to the underlying Artboard as seen in the reference image.

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Step 3

As soon as you’re done creating and positioning the reference grids, you can lock their layer, and then move on to the next step.

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How to Create the Visibility Toggle Icon

Assuming you’ve successfully managed to create and position the reference grids, make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the second one) and then zoom in on the first active drawing area so that we can start working on our first icon.

Step 1

Using the Ellipse Tool (L), create a 56 x 56 px circle, which we will color using #3A2F2E, and then center align to the underlying active drawing area as seen in the reference image.

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Step 2

Add the main shape for the eye using a 36 x 24 px ellipse which we will color using #FFFFFF, and then center align to the larger circle.

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Step 3

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by first selecting it, and then pinching its left and right anchor points using the Anchor Point Tool (Shift-C) to make them pointy.

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Step 4

Create the iris using a 16 x 16 px circle which we will color using #EABD63, and then position to the center of the shape that we’ve just adjusted.

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Step 5

Add the pupil using an 8 x 8 px circle, which we will color using #3A2F2E and then center align to the larger circle.

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Step 6

Turn on the Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y), and then create the little circular cutout covering the lower right corner of the iris using a 4 x 4 px circle (#EABD63), which we will position as seen in the reference image.

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Step 7

Finish off the icon, by adding the circular reflection using a 4 x 4 px circle (#FFFFFF), which we will position onto the upper-left corner of the iris as seen in the reference image. Once you’re done, turn off the Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y), and then select and group all of the iris’ composing shapes using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

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Step 8

Once you’ve finished working on the icon, you can select and group (Control-G) all its composing sections together, making sure to lock its layer before moving on to the next one.

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How to Create the Fingerprint Scanner Icon

Assuming you’ve finished working on the first icon, move on to the next layer (that would be the third one), where we will gradually build the second one.

Step 1

Start by adding the background using a 56 x 56 px circle, which we will color using #3A2F2E, and then center align to the second active drawing area.

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Step 2

With the background in place, create a 24 x 30 px rectangle with a 2 px thick Stroke which we will color using #EABD63 and then center align to the larger circle.

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Step 3

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by setting the Radius of its top corners to 12 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

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Step 4

Turn on the Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y), and then using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+) add a new anchor at a distance of 4 px from the left rounded corner’s bottom point.

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Step 5

Continue adjusting the shape by selecting its bottom-left anchor using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then immediately removing it by pressing Delete, making sure to set is Cap to Round from within the Stroke panel.

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Step 6

Shorten the length of the resulting path’s right segment, by selecting its anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then pushing it to the top by a distance of 4 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > -4 px or using the directional arrow key).

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Step 7

Create the fingerprint’s next line segment using a 16 x 26 px rectangle with a 2 px thick Stroke (#EABD63), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 8 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Take your time and once you’re done, position the resulting shape as seen in the reference image.

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Step 8

Adjust the resulting shape by adding a new anchor point at a distance of 4 px from the left rounded corner’s bottom point, removing the bottom-left one as we did with the larger shape.

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Step 9

Unite the left ends of the two paths using the Control-J keyboard shortcut, selecting them afterwards using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then setting the Radius of the resulting corners to 2 px using the Live Corners tool.

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Step 10

Create another smaller 8 x 20 px rectangle with a 2 px thick Stroke (#FFFFFF), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 4 px, adding a new anchor point at a distance of 2 px from the left rounded corner’s bottom point. Remove the bottom-left anchor point as we did with the previous segments, positioning the resulting shape as seen in the reference image.

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Step 11

Grab the Pen Tool (P), and draw the white path’s horizontal segments using the reference image as your main guide. Take your time, and once you’re done move on to the next step.

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Step 12

Adjust the resulting shape by setting the Radius of its top corner to 6 px, and its bottom one to 14 px so that its horizontal segments follow the curvature of the larger path.

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Step 13

Add the middle line segment using a "J"-shaped 2 px thick Stroke (#FFFFFF), making sure to maintain a 2 px space gap between it and the shape that we’ve just finished adjusting. Once you’re done, turn off the Pixel Preview mode (Alt-Control-Y) and then select and group all of the fingerprint’s composing lines together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

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Step 14

Next, create a 12 x 12 px circle which we will color using #EABD63, and then center align to the fingerprint’s bottom edge.

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Step 15

Finish off the icon by drawing the little check mark symbol using a 2 px thick Stroke (#3A2F2E) with a Round Cap and Join, which we will position to the center of the smaller circle from the previous step. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) the two together, doing the same for all the composing shapes afterwards.

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How to Create the Incognito Mode Icon

As always make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the fourth one), and then zoom in on the third reference grid so that we can jump straight into it.

Step 1

As we did with the previous icons, start by creating the background using a 56 x 56 px circle which we will color using #3A2F2E, and then center align to the third active drawing area.

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Step 2

Start working on the glasses by creating the lens frames using two 8 x 8 px circles with a 2 px thick Stroke (#EABD63), which we will distance at 4 px from one another, making sure to position them at a distance of 16 px from the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

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Step 3

Add the bridge section connecting the two frames together using a 6 x 6 px circle with a 2 px thick Stroke (#EABD63), which we will position in-between as seen in the reference image.

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Step 4

Adjust the smaller circle, by selecting its bottom anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A) and then immediately removing it by pressing Delete. Once you’re done, select and group (Control-G) all three sections together before moving on to the next step.

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Step 5

Start working on the hat by creating its lower section (the brim) using a 36 x 2 px rounded rectangle (#FFFFFF) with a 1 px Corner Radius, which we will center align to the underlying active drawing area, positioning it at a distance of 2 px from the glasses’ top edge.

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Step 6

Add the crown section using a 20 x 10 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will position on top of the previous shape.

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Step 7

Adjust the crown section by setting the Radius of its top corners to 2 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

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Step 8

Continue adjusting the resulting shape by adding a new anchor point to the center of its top edge using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), which we will then push to the bottom by a distance of 2 px (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > 2 px or using the directional arrow key).

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Step 9

Adjust the curvature of the crown’s upper section by selecting its top and center anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool (A), which we will then convert to smooth using the Convert selected anchor points to smooth tool, adjusting their handles so that you get a nice curved transition as seen in the reference image.

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Step 10

Add the little front detail using a 4 x 4 px square (#3A2F2E), which we will adjust by adding a new anchor point to the center of its top edge and then pushing it to the bottom by a distance of 2 px (right click > Transform > Move > Vertical > 2 px or using the directional arrow key). Once you’re done, position the resulting shape as seen in the reference image.

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Step 11

Finish off the icon by adding the little side detail using a 2 x 12 px rectangle (#EABD63), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top-left and bottom-right corners to 2 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Position the resulting shape onto the right side of the hat at a distance of 2 px from its brim, making sure to select and group all its composing shapes afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

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How to Create the Security Lock Icon

We are now down to our fourth and last icon, so assuming you already positioned yourself onto the remaining layer (that would be the fifth one), zoom in and let’s wrap things up.

Step 1

As usual, start by adding the background using a 56 x 56 px circle (#3A2F2E), which we will center align to the underlying active drawing area.

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Step 2

Start working on the lock, by creating its lower body using a 24 x 20 px rounded rectangle (#EABD63) with a 2 px Corner Radius, which we will position at a distance of 12 px from the active drawing area’s bottom edge.

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Step 3

Add the circular section of the key hole using an 8 x 8 px circle which we will color using #3A2F2E, and then position it at a distance of 4 px from the previous shape’s top edge.

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Step 4

Create the hole’s lower section using a 4 x 8 px rectangle (#3A2F2E), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its bottom corners to 2 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties. Once you’re done, position the resulting shape onto the bottom half of the circle, making sure to select and group the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

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Step 5

Add the little bolts using four 2 x 2 px circles which we will color using #3A2F2E, and then position at a distance of 2 px from the lock’s corners as seen in the reference image. Once you have them in place, select and group (Control-G) all of the current section’s composing shapes together, before moving on to the next step.

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Step 6

Create the shackle using a 14 x 11 px rectangle with a 2 px thick Stroke (#FFFFFF), which we will adjust by setting the Radius of its top corners to 7 px, making sure to select and remove its bottom-right anchor point afterwards. Set the resulting path’s Cap to Round, positioning it onto the lower body as seen in the reference image. Once you have the shape in place, select and group all of the lock’s composing shapes using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

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Step 7

Finish off the icon and with it the project itself, by adding the side detail lines using six 2 px thick Strokes (#FFFFFF) with a Round Cap following the reference image as your main guide. Take your time, and once you’re done select and group (Control-G) all of icon’s composing shapes before hitting that save button.

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Great Job!

There you have it folks, a nice and easy tutorial on how to create your very own security themed icon pack, using nothing more than some simple geometric shapes and strokes that we’ve adjusted here and there.

As always I hope you had fun working on the project, and managed to learn something new and useful along the way. 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.


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In today’s tutorial, we’re going to take an in-depth look behind the process of creating a security themed icon pack, using some of the most basic shapes and tools that Illustrator has to offer. That being said, quickly grab a fresh cup of that magic bean juice and let’s jump straight into it!

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Beginner level 1h 15m 985 views

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