5 Ways to Create a Settings Icon

Learn to use an array of Illustrator features through this exercise

Helena Zhang


More in the iconography series:Foundations of Iconography7 Principles of Icon DesignIcon Grids & Keylines DemystifiedPixel-Snapping in Icon Design3 Classic Icon Families

The gear has become a ubiquitous symbol for settings in our digital applications.

Left to right, top to bottom: Google Calendar, Lyft, Dribbble, Facebook, ClassPass, Seamless, Telegram, Reddit, Duolingo, Dropbox, Instagram, Headspace, PayPal, Transit, WeChat

There are many interesting ways you can create this icon. We’ll walk though 5 of them in Adobe Illustrator, to pick up techniques you can take forward to any vector drawing.

(Keyboard shortcuts are shown in parentheses.)

Method 1: Rounded Star

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

Select the Star Tool and click anywhere on your canvas.

Play with the parameters.

Round the corners—with the Direct Selection Tool (A) selected, hover over the shape. Drag one of the little circular handles to modify all corners. Double click a handle to specify a precise corner radius.

Draw a smaller concentric circle with the Ellipse Tool (L) to create the eye.