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Graphic Design: Create a Workstation Themed Icon Pack

Beginner level Adobe Illustrator Adobe Illustrator

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 in depth tutorial (https://www.tutpad.com/tutorials/graphic-design-create-pixel-perfect-icons) that will get you up to speed in no time.

1-setting-up-a-new-document.png

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 time.

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

  • Layer 1 → reference grids
  • Layer 2 → desktop
  • Layer 3 → notebook
  • Layer 4 → tablet

2-setting-up-the-layers.png

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 128x128 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.

3-creating-the-main-shape-for-the-reference-gr.png

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 (Control + C → Control + F two times), distancing them at 40 px from the original.

4-creating-and-positioning-the-remaining-refer.png

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 Desktop Icon

Assuming you’ve already 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 all-in-one desktop unit.

Step 1

Start by creating the background using a 120x120 px circle, which we will color using #1796FF, and then center align to the underlying active drawing area.

5-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-.png

Step 2

Start working on the display, by creating its main body using a 72x46 px rectangle (#B6E5FF), which we will center align to the larger circle, positioning it at a distance of 22 px from its top edge.

6-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for-.png

Step 3

Add the screen using a 68x40 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will center align to the previously created shape, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its bottom edge.

7-adding-the-screen-section-to-the-desktop-ico.png

Step 4

Once you’re done with the screen, add the little rectangular button using a 4x2 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will bottom align to the larger bezel, positioning it at a distance of 6 px from its right edge.

8-adding-the-rectangular-button-to-the-desktop.png

Step 5

Add the subtle highlight using a 68x1 px rectangle (#FFFFFF) which we will position underneath the display’s screen section. Once you’re done, select and group all of the current section’s composing shapes together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut, before moving on to the next step.

9-adding-the-subtle-highlight-to-the-desktop-i.png

Step 6

Start working on the stand, by creating a 12x8 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will position below the larger section that we’ve just grouped.

10-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 7

Create the stand’s base using a 28x2 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will position right underneath the taller shape from the previous step.

11-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 8

Finish off the stand, by adding the highlight using a 28x1 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will center align to the base’s top edge. Once you’re done, select and group all of the current section’s composing shapes together before moving on to the next step.

12-adding-the-subtle-highlight-to-the-desktop-.png

Step 9

Start working on the little interface window, by creating the top bar using a 52x4 px rectangle (#B6E5FF), which we will center align to the larger screen, positioning it at a distance of just 4 px from its top edge.

13-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 10

Add the little buttons using three 2x2 px squares (#0070BC) horizontally distanced at 2 px from one another, which we will group (Control + G) and then position over the bar, at a distance of 2 px from its right edge. Once you’re done select both the buttons and the top bar and group (Control + G) those together as well.

14-adding-the-little-buttons-to-the-desktop-ic.png

Step 11

Create the window’s main body using a 52x28 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will position right underneath the smaller top bar.

15-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 12

Next, start working on the minimalistic email interface, by creating a 4x4 px circle (#0070BC), which we will position at a distance of 4 px from the larger window’s top-left corner.

16-adding-the-little-circle-to-the-desktop-ico.png

Step 13

Add the diagonal text lines using a 30x1 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will horizontally stack at a distance of 2 px from another smaller 22x1 px one (#0070BC), grouping (Control + G) and then positioning them at a distance of 2 px from the smaller circle’s right side. Once you have them in place, select and group both the circle and the lines together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

17-adding-the-two-horizontal-detail-lines-to-t.png

Step 14

Create the remaining email sections using two copies (Control + C → Control + F twice) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will vertically stack at a distance of 4 px from the original.

18-adding-the-remaining-ui-sections-to-the-des.png


Step 15

Finish off the window interface by adding the side scrollbar using a 1x24 px rectangle (#0070BC) which we will center align to the larger white rectangle, positioning it at a distance of 2 px from its right edge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) all of the current section’s composing shapes together, doing the same for the entire computer afterwards.

19-adding-the-side-scrollbar-to-the-desktop-ic.png

Step 16

Start working on the little keyboard by creating its main body using a 38x14 px rectangle (#B6E5FF), which we will position at a distance of 34 px from the active drawing area’s left edge, and 24 px from its bottom one.

20-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 17

Add the first button row using six 4x2 px rectangles (#0070BC) horizontally distanced at 2 px from one another, which we will group (Control + G) and then center align to the keyboard’s main body, positioning them at a distance of 2 px from its top edge.

21-adding-the-first-button-row-to-the-desktop-.png

Step 18

Add the remaining buttons using two copies (Control + C → Control + F twice) of the row that we’ve just created, which we will vertically stack at 2 px from one another, making sure to adjust the third row so that its center buttons are now one big space bar.

22-adding-the-remaining-buttons-to-the-desktop.png

Step 19

Give the board some dimension by positioning a 38x2 px rectangle (#0070BC) right underneath it.

23-adding-the-bottom-section-to-the-desktop-ic.png

Step 20

Finish off the keyboard by adding the subtle highlight using a 38x1 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will center align to top edge of its main body. Once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group (Control + G) all its composing shapes before moving on to the next step.

24-adding-the-subtle-highlight-to-the-desktop-.png

Step 21

With the keyboard finished, start working on the little mouse by creating its main body using a 10x14 px rectangle (#B6E5FF), which we will position onto its right side, at a distance of just 4 px.

25-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 22

Add the little scroll wheel using a 2x4 px rectangle (#0070BC) which we will center align at a distance of 2 px from the mouse’s top edge.

26-adding-the-scroll-wheel-to-the-desktop-icon.png

Step 23

Give the mouse some depth, by adding a 10x2 px rectangle (#0070BC) underneath its main body.

27-adding-the-bottom-section-to-the-desktop-ic.png

Step 24

Finish off the mouse and with it the icon itself, by adding the subtle highlight using a 10x1 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will center align to the larger body’s top edge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) all of the mouse’s composing shapes, doing the same for the entire icon afterwards.

28-finishing-off-the-desktop-icon.png


How to Create the Notebook Icon

Assuming you’ve 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 our second workstation.

Step 1

Start out by creating the circular background using the same 120x120 px circle (#1796FF), which we will center align to the underlying active drawing area.

29-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 2

Once you’re done with the background, you can create the notebook’s screen bezel using a 56x40 px rectangle (#B6E5FF), which we will center align to the larger circle, positioning it at a distance of 22 px from its top edge.

30-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 3

Add the actual screen using a 52x34 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will center align to the previously created shape, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its bottom edge.

31-adding-the-screen-section-to-the-notebook-i.png

Step 4

Add the subtle highlight using a 52x1 px rectangle, which we will color using white (#FFFFFF) and then position below the screen. Once you’re done, select and group all three shapes together using the Control + G keyboard shortcut.

32-adding-the-subtle-highlight-to-the-notebook.png

Step 5

Create the device’s bottom section using a 72x4 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will position below the larger screen assembly.

33-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 6

Give the shape that we’ve just created a subtle highlight using a 72 x 1 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will center align to its top edge.

34-adding-the-subtle-highlight-to-the-notebook.png

Step 7

Start working on the notebook’s keyboard, by creating the space bar using a 16x1 px rectangle (#0070BC) which we will position on top of its bottom section, making sure to center align the two.

35-adding-the-space-bar-to-the-notebook-icon-s.png

Step 8

Add the left key set using four 4x1 px rectangles (#0070BC) horizontally distanced at 2 px from one another, which we will group (Control + G) and then position at a distance of 2 px from the spacebar’s left edge. Once you’re done, create a copy (Control + C → Control + F) and then use to add the right key set, making sure to select and group (Control + G) them and the notebook together afterwards.

36-adding-the-remaining-keys-to-the-notebook-i.png

Step 9

As soon as you have the notebook, start working on the little window interface, by creating its top bar using a 36x4 px rectangle (#B6E5FF) on top of which we will add the three little 2x2 px square buttons (#0070BC). Group all four shapes together, and then center align them to the underlying screen, positioning them at a distance of 4 px from its top edge.

37-adding-the-top-bar-to-the-notebook-icon-s-w.png

Step 10

Add the window’s main body using a 36x22 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will position below the top bar.

38-adding-the-bottom-section-to-the-notebook-i.png

Step 11

Finish off the interface by adding two 10x10 px circles (#0070BC for the left one and #B6E5FF for the right one) which we will slightly overlap (4 px), group (Control + G) and then center align to the larger white rectangle. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) all of the current section’s composing shapes, doing the same for the entire notebook afterwards.

39-adding-the-two-circles-to-the-notebook-icon.png

Step 12

Start working on the digital pen, by creating its tip using a 4x6 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will adjust by individually selecting and pushing its top anchor points to the inside by a distance of 1 px (right click → Transform → Move → Horizontal → ± 1 px depending on which side you start with). Position the resulting shape below the laptop, at a distance of 34 px from the active drawing area’s left edge and 44 px from its bottom one.

40-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 13

Create the pen’s body using a 4x18 px rectangle (#B6E5FF), which we will position below the shape from the previous step.

41-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 14

Add the pen’s rear end using a 4x2 px rectangle (#0070BC) vertically stacked on top of another smaller 2x2 px square (#0070BC). Group the two (Control + G) and then position them below the larger body.

42-adding-the-eraser-section-to-the-digital-pe.png

Step 15

Add the pen’s two buttons using a 2x4 px rectangle (#0070BC) vertically stacked at a distance of 2 px from another smaller 2x2 px square (#0070BC). Group the two (Control + G) and then center align them to the larger body, positioning them at a distance of 2 px from its top edge.

43-adding-the-two-buttons-to-the-digital-pen-s.png

Step 16

Finish off the pen, by adding the subtle highlight using a 4x1 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will center align to the top edge of its main body. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) all of the pen’s composing shapes together before moving on to the next step.

44-adding-the-subtle-highlight-to-the-digital-.png

Step 17

Start working on the graphics tablet by creating its main body using a 44x26 px rectangle (#B6E5FF), which we will position onto the right side of the pen, at a distance of just 4 px.

45-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 18

Add the device’s drawing surface using a 34x22 px rectangle (#0070BC) which we will center align to the larger shape, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its left edge.

46-adding-the-drawing-surface-to-the-notebook-.png

Step 19

Add the tablet’s main button using a 4x6 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will center align to its right edge.

47-adding-the-larger-button-to-the-notebook-ic.png

Step 20

Add the smaller buttons using two 4x2 px rectangles (#0070BC) distanced at 2 px from the larger one. Once you have all three buttons in place, select and group (Control + G) them together so they won’t get separated by accident.

48-adding-the-remaining-buttons-to-the-noteboo.png

Step 21

Give the tablet some depth, by creating and positioning a 44x2 px rectangle (#0070BC) to the bottom of its main body.

49-adding-the-bottom-section-to-the-notebook-i.png

Step 22

Finish off the tablet and with it the icon itself, by adding the subtle highlight to upper edge of the device using a 44x1 px rectangle (#FFFFFF). Once you’re done select and group (Control + G) all of the tablet’s composing shapes, doing the same for the entire icon afterwards.

50-adding-the-subtle-highlight-to-the-notebook.png


How to Create the Tablet Icon

We are now down to our third and last icon, so without wasting anymore time make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the fourth one), and let’s wrap things up.

Step 1

As we did with all the other icons, start by out by creating the circular background using a 120x120 px circle (#1796FF), which we will center align to the underlying active drawing area.

51-creating-and-positioning-t-1220262079172059.png

Step 2

Create the tablet’s main body, using a 44x58 px rectangle (#B6E5FF), which we will center align to the larger circle, positioning it at a distance of 22 px from its top edge.

52-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 3

Add the screen section using a smaller 40x50 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will center align to the previously created body, positioning it at a distance of 6 px from its bottom edge.

53-adding-the-screen-section-to-the-tablet-ico.png

Step 4

Once you have the screen in place, focus on adding the subtle highlight which we will create using a 40x1 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will position below the larger shape.

54-adding-the-subtle-highlight-to-the-tablet-i.png

Step 5

Create the front square button using a 4x4 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will position right below the highlight, making sure to center align it to the larger shape.

55-adding-the-front-button-to-the-tablet-icon-.png

Step 6

Add the side buttons using two 1x4 px rectangles (#0070BC), which we will vertically distance at 2 px from one another, which we will group (Control + G) and then position onto the right side of the tablet, at a distance of 10 px from its top edge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) all of the tablet’s composing shapes before moving on to the next step.

56-adding-the-side-buttons-to-the-tablet-icon-.png

Step 7

Start working on the digital document, by creating the white page using a 32x42 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will center align to the tablet’s screen.

57-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 8

Next, create a 4x4 px square which we will color using #0070BC, and then position at a distance of 4 px from the paper’s left edge, and 8 px from its top one.

58-adding-the-little-square-to-the-tablet-icon.png

Step 9

Take a couple of moments and add in the little text lines using ten 1 px tall rectangles, which you will vertically stack at 2 px from one another, positioning them as see in the reference image. Once you have all the lines in place, don’t forget to select and group (Control + G) them together before moving on to the next step.

59-adding-the-text-lines-to-the-tablet-icon-s-.png

Step 10

Finish off the document, by adding the little page indicator using a 2x2 px square (#0070BC), which we will bottom align to the larger rectangle, positioning it at a distance of 4 px from its right edge. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) all of the document’s composing shapes together, doing the same for the entire tablet afterwards.

60-adding-the-page-indicator-to-the-tablet-ico.png

Step 11

Next, we’re going to start working on the mobile keyboard, and we will do so by creating its main body using a 56x16 px rectangle (#B6E5FF), which we will position below the tablet.

61-creating-and-positioning-the-main-shape-for.png

Step 12

Separate the keyboard from the tablet by adding the dock insertion using a 48x2 px rectangle (#0070BC), which we will center align to its top edge.

62-adding-the-dock-insertion-to-the-tablet-ico.png

Step 13

Add the smaller highlights to the sides of the keyboard’s top edge, using two 4x1 px rectangles which we will color using white (#FFFFFF).

63-adding-the-side-highlights-to-the-tablet-ic.png

Step 14

Add the center highlight using a wider 48x1 px rectangle (#FFFFFF), which we will position below the dock insertion.

64-adding-the-center-highlight-to-the-tablet-i.png

Step 15

Create the first button row, using seven 4x2 px rectangles (#0070BC) horizontally distanced at 2 px from one another, which we will group (Control-G) and then position at a distance of 2 px from the keyboard’s left edge, and 1 px from its center highlight.

65-adding-the-first-button-row-to-the-tablet-i.png

Step 16

Create the remaining button rows using two copies (Control + C → Control + F twice) of the one that we’ve just grouped, which we will vertically stack at 2 px from one another, positioning them below the original. Adjust the third row by selecting and removing the fourth and fifth keys, and then turning the third one into a spacebar by expanding its width to 16 px.

66-adding-the-remaining-button-rows-to-the-tab.png

Step 17

Add the touchpad using a 10x10 px square (#0070BC) which we will position onto the right side of the button rows, at a distance of just 2 px.

67-adding-the-touchpad-to-the-tablet-icon-s-mo.png

Step 18

Finish off the keyboard, and with it the icon itself, by adding a 56x2 px rectangle (#0070BC) to the bottom of the keyboard. Once you’re done, select and group (Control + G) all its composing shapes, doing the same for the entire icon afterwards.

68-finishing-off-the-tablet-icon.png

Great Job!

It might have been a long one, but with some patience I’m sure you ended up with a nice looking icon pack, and learned something new and useful during the process.

69-final-result-preview.png

What do you think of this tutorial?

Discussion

Since the rapid acceleration of technology has changed the way we work, I thought it would be a nice to explore the “workstation” concept using three completely different devices that we are going to build as icons. That being said, we’re going to rely on the basic shapes and tools that you probably already work with on a daily basis, which is why this should be a really easy exercise for most of you.

Tut Details

Beginner level 1h 20m 931 views

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