5 Ways to Create a Settings Icon

Learn to use an array of Illustrator features through this exercise

More in the iconography series:Foundations of Iconography7 Principles of Icon DesignIcon Grids & Keylines DemystifiedPixel-Snapping in Icon Design3 Classic Icon Families
Left to right, top to bottom: Google Calendar, Lyft, Dribbble, Facebook, ClassPass, Seamless, Telegram, Reddit, Duolingo, Dropbox, Instagram, Headspace, PayPal, Transit, WeChat

Method 1: Rounded Star

This simple method is effective for a gear with pointed teeth.

Method 2: Zig Zag

Let’s try something different to get to a similar effect.

Method 3: Additive Rotation

Here’s a more complex method that’ll allow us more customization in the gear teeth. We’ll go for a sharper look this time.

Method 4: Subtractive Rotation

Method 4 is similar to Method 3.

Method 5: Intersect

For the last method we’ll bring back the Star Tool.

Experiment to Find Your Flow

Hope you learned a trick or two from this exercise. Similar methods may be applied in UI-focused vector software like Sketch or Figma, though Illustrator is more precise.

Bonus

Some more food for thought…

2 Squares = 1 Star

You can create an 8-pointed star by drawing 2 squares. Shift + drag with the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a square, select and shift + drag with the Rotate Tool (R) to rotate in 45° increments.

Roundabout Rounding

Once upon a time, I may have hacked rounded corners by adding a stroke — overcomplicated and imprecise. Oof.

Scribble to Shape

If you’re using a tablet or touch interface, you can use the wacky Shaper Tool (shift + N) to non-destructively combine or subtract shapes. Scribble over like so to ‘delete’ the desired areas. The original shapes will be preserved.

Designer/writer. Brand, product, systems. • helenazhang.comdribbble.com/minoraxisphosphoricons.com

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