36 Awesome Icon Design Tutorials

When we visited the design tutorial sites, it’s likely there will we find a tutorial to make an icon, a familiar topic for people who love design. Every designer, whether he is a beginner or a professional will someday, in his career create icons for his client or his portfolio. Creating icons can be extremely fun, provided you do it the right way. Most importantly, you should learn the basic principles of icon design first, the importance and functions of icons on web sites and in user interfaces. This might take a long time but trust me, its the right way. You should also learn how to use your imagination and creativity to reflect the characteristics of the icon effectively. Neatly designed icons can make a website more attractive and easier to use and aesthetically more pleasing.

In this article, I put together some great tutorials to help you learn about designing icons.

  • 7 Principles of Effective Icon Design

    Before approaching icon design, there are some guidelines and principles that are worth studying. If you want to create effective icon designs, then you should take a holistic approach to issues such as audience, size, simplicity, lighting, perspective, and style. This article gives you a good starting place for creating icons that work well together and fit seamlessly within your designs.

  • Icon Design: Bitmap vs Vector

    Here at Firewheel, we create a boatload of icons, and one of the most common questions we get asked about icon design is, “Why do you deliver your icons individually sized in PNG or GIF files, when a single vector file like SVG or EPS can be made any size we desire?”

  • 10 Mistakes in Icon Design

    It is much easier to criticize somebody else’s work than to create something cool yourself. But if you apply a systematic approach to criticizing, make a numbered list and prepare illustrations, it will be regarded as a fully-fledged analysis! In my opinion, icon design is undergoing a transitional period. On the one hand, screen resolutions are increasing, hence enhancing icons. On the other hand, we still have good old pixels. Icons sized 16×16 and even smaller are still widely used. And so, here are the most commonly observed mistakes in icon design.

  • The Making of an Icon

    This won’t be a tutorial or a step-by-step walkthrough, more like a general guideline based on autor’s own experience. It’s how autor’s workflow crops up. Enough disclaimer, let’s see if we can make an icon. To illustrate the creation of an icon, Author have decided to redraw author’s old TextEdit icon from the bottom up.

  • 10 Tips for Effective Icon Design

    Translating the ‘iconic’ features of an object into something that is metaphorically meaningful and instantly recognizable is no easy task — particularly when the design needs to be as effective at 48×48 pixels as it is at 256×256! A memorable and functional icon is beautiful, iconic, meaningful and functional. Here are ten wise tips on how to create outstanding icons.

  • How to Design Mini Icons

    Here author will show you how to use the Pencil tool to design pixel icons, and then re-use them to create a full collection. This is the technique that author used to create over 320 icons within a day.

  • Icon Design Tutorial: Drawing A Pencil Icon

    This tutorial presents of course not everything you should know about how to master icon design, but we hope that it will help you, particularly if you have just started to learn, or want to learn more about icon design.

  • How to Create a Vector Safari Compass in Illustrator

    The Safari browser from Apple has a great little icon that works well in small formats while also displaying quite a lot of intricate details when viewed in large format. Navigate through this Adobe Illustrator tutorial to draw up your own vector Safari inspired compass in Adobe Illustrator.

  • Create a Modern Style Icon with a Professional Finish

    You will learn how to use the the Path Finder Tool, Free Transform and some effects, such as Gaussian Blur and Inner Glow to create a modern style Icon with a professional finish. If you want to learn how how to create a professional level Hard Drive icon with shading and lighting the techniques, then we have an awesome tutorial for you.

  • How to Draw a Glossy Yo-Yo Icon using Adobe Illustrator

    Entertain yourself with this tutorial on creating a glossy yo-yo icon. You will learn how to combine different gradient and object effects to make a hyper realistic and shiny plastic surface. The result is a perfectly rendered and appealing icon that can be made in just one hour!

  • How to Create a Distinguished Personal Diary Icon

    In this tutorial we are going to create a stylish personal diary icon using Illustrator CS4. Gradient is at the core of this tutorial and we will be taking look at it in close detail. You will also learn how to use the opacity mask to create drop reflections and shadows.

  • How to Make an Opulent Chair Icon

    In this tutorial, you will learn how to make a chair icon using gradient mesh, the pathfinder tool and the appearance panel. Don’t let this tut deceive you, with a bit of imagination you can create an entire collection of soft furnishing icons in minutes with a few easy tricks.

  • How to Illustrate a Marvelous Violin Icon

    If you want to learn how to create a marvelous violin icon, then we have an awesome tutorial for you. This tutorial covers how basic shapes and a solid understanding of perspective and volume work together to quickly build a successful icon.

  • How to Create a Hyper-realistic Flashlight

    In this tutorial you will learn how to create a hyper-realistic illustration of a flashlight. This style of illustration is particularly popular for icons and technical illustrations. Although this tutorial is more advanced than others, don’t let that dissuade you from giving it a go, you will find it’s written in an easy to understand format and the results will be worth the perseverance.

  • Create a Stylized First Aid Icon in Illustrator

    In this tutorial we’ll use a combination of craft and Illustrator’s 3D tools to create a first aid icon. You can use the techniques you learn in this tutorial to create realistic rounded box icons of your choice. This works well for complex icons at large sizes and scales down nicely.

  • Creating a Toaster-Popping Illustration

    With this tutorial, learn how to apply some effects not often used in Illustrator, like the Chrome effect, which is used to create metallic look with a realistic aspect. Also, notable in this tutorial is the use of Texturizer to create toast texture. We will also use 3D effect and the Mesh tool, which bring depth to the this illustration.

  • How to Create a Photorealistic iMac and Magic Mouse

    This tutorial is about using Adobe Illustrator’s Mesh Tool (U) and several basic techniques to create a vector style monitor and mouse, with a similar design as Apple’s brand new iMac 27? with magic mouse.

  • Create a Fun Icon of Frozen People on Ice

    In this tutorial, you’ll learn how to create a fun, vector icon of a people symbol, frozen in an ice cube, from scratch. We’ll explore the usefulness of Adobe Illustrator’s 3D tools.

  • How to Create an Energy Saving Bulb in Illustrator

    Here author is showing how to create an energy saving bulb with the help of the Illustrator’s Mesh Tool. At the beginning it could be quiet hard to work with, but if you get used to it, it’s fairly simple.

  • How to Create a Quirky Twitter Bird in Corel Draw

    Learn here how to create a this bird using a few techniques in Corel Draw. Successful completion of this tutorial requires an intermediate knowledge of Corel Draw. We think it’s easy as there is no need for Art school sketches that are usually needed in the first step.

  • Abracadabra, How to Create a Magic Hat Icon

    In this tutorial, we’ll explain how to create a magic hat icon with a cute bunny inside. We’ll use the pen tool, pathfinder palette, and other tools to create this design.

  • Create a Glossy High Resolution Box Art Icon with Photoshop

    Software applications and stock art designs often need box designs to help with the marketing. There are several ways to create this sort of design. You can use software, actions, or even do this yourself. In this tutorial author will demonstrate how to do this by hand, in Photoshop.

  • Create an Iconic Retro-Modern Ball Chair in Photoshop

    The ball chair, popularized by Finnish interior designer Eero Aarnio was the cornerstone of any mid-century or 1960’s living area. In this tutorial, we will learn how to create this iconic piece of furniture from scratch in Photoshop.

  • Create A Wooden House Icon in Photoshop

    You might be surprised what you can do with Photoshop’s drawing tools, a few textures, and a basic understanding of light and shadow. In this tutorial we will demonstrate how to create a wooden house icon in Photoshop by applying textures to basic shapes.

  • How to Create a Social Media UFO Icon

    Most websites these days have some sort of social media presence; with a link to their Facebook or Twitter pages prominently displayed on their front pages. With so many sites linking to their social media profiles, it’s not surprising that many sites are simple regurgitating the same icons. In this Photoshop tutorial author will demonstrate how to create a completely unique UFO inspired social media icon based on a theme.

  • Create a Chalkboard Icon Using Photoshop and IconBuilder

    Understanding the fundamental process of creating an icon in Photoshop can become a valuable skill to learn. In this tutorial you will learn some important concepts as well as how to work with some third-party apps.

  • Creating a Modern, Glossy Mouse Icon in Photoshop

    This tutorial is about creating the Apple Magic Mouse in Photoshop, though you could use these techniques to create other mouse icon design styles as well. The new design of this mouse just looks amazing. Creating it and using it as an icon makes it all that more fun and interesting. The glossy look and the simplicity, transforms this mouse into a really neat looking icon.

  • Creating a Set of Digital Painting Icons Part 4 – Digital Tablet Icon

    For this forth installment of the “Creating a Set of Digital Painting Icons” series we will create a pen tablet from scratch, specifically the Wacom 12? Cintiq tablet. This model combines touch and pressure sensitivity, which allows users to draw directly on the screen. These capabilities make it a favorite for illustrators.

  • How to Create an Envelope Icon in Photoshop

    In this tutorial, you’ll go through easy steps for creating a nice envelope icon. There’s a light use of the Pen Tool in the tutorial, but most of it uses Selection Tools to create this icon. The stamp is also explained in a simple manner.

  • Creating a Set of Digital Painting Icons Part 3 – Paint Brush Icon

    In this installment we will create a paint brush icon, complete with wooden palette and paint dollops. We will employ textures, layer styles and a good sense of lighting to create a fun looking icon.

  • Creating a Set of Digital Painting Icons Part 2 – Camera Icon

    This time we’ll create a digital SLR camera, a tool digital artists often use to take pictures to create textures or for reference. We will construct a rather simple camera, but we’ll make it interesting through judicious use of brush strokes and shadows.

  • Creating a Set of Digital Painting Icons Part 1 – Sketchbook with Pencil Icon

    In this Photoshop tutorial we will design icon that depict common tools associated with digital painting: a sketchbook with pencil.

  • Create a Leather-Textured, Realistic Briefcase Icon

    Our goal for this tutorial is to draw a realistic leather briefcase entirely from scratch. We’ll use Photoshop’s amazing layer styles and incredible brush engine to create textured leather, convincing stitches and gold-plated locks.

  • How to Create a Basic House Icon in Photoshop

    In this tutorial, you’ll go through easy steps and techniques to design a simple yet attractive house icon. It’s easy to follow and to play with. There are no intricate curves or complex brush work. Just simple shapes along with layer styles will do the complete job. The aim of the tutorial is to get familiar with the correct use of colors and efficient use of layer styles.

  • How to Make a Professional Buddy Icon in Photoshop

    Icon designing can be a tough design field because you need to be able to create designs that are flexible when scaled up or down. In order to assure scalability, designers typically use a vector graphics program like Illustrator. However, in this intermediate-level tutorial, author will show you how to make an awesome icon from scratch using Photoshop. You will need basic knowledge of Photoshop and familiarity with the Pen Tool (P).

  • Creating a Recycle Bin Icon

    This is a fairly simple tutorial that will show the reader how to create a semi-realistic looking 3D recycling bin. The tutorial uses very basic techniques to get the main shape of the bin down and then from there its just using transform tools, as well as layer styles. So check out this simple tutorial if you are interested in making an icon.

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