How to Create an IM Notification Icon

In today’s tutorial, we’re going to explore the process of creating a simple IM notification icon, using nothing more than a couple of basic geometric shapes that we’re going to adjust here and there.

So, assuming you already have the software up and running, let’s jump straight into it!

Tutorial Details: IM Notification Icon

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6 – CC 2020
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Topics Covered: Compositional Construction, Shape Alignment, Grid Positioning
  • Estimated Completion Time: 20 Minutes

Final Image: IM Notification Icon

Step 1

As we do with all our new projects, we’re going to start by setting up a New Document by heading over to File > New (or by using the Control-N keyboard shortcut), which we will then adjust as follows:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 32 px
  • Height: 32 px
  • Units: Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

  • Color Mode: RGB
  • Raster Effects: Screen (72ppi)
  • Preview Mode: Default

Step 2

As soon as we’ve finished setting up our project file, we can start working on the actual icon, and we will do so by creating the colorful background using a 28 x 28 px circle, which we will color using #ffc943 and then center align to the underlying Artboard using the Align panel’s Horizontal and Vertical Align Center options.

Step 3

Add the main shape for the IM symbol using a 16 x 10 px rectangle, which we will color using #ffffff and then center align to the larger background, positioning it at a distance of 7 px from its top anchor point.

Step 4

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created, by adding three new anchor points to its bottom edge using the Add Anchor Point Tool (+), following the reference image as your main guide.

Step 5

Continue adjusting the shape, by selecting the middle anchor point using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then pushing it to the bottom by a distance of 4 px using the directional arrow keys.

Step 6

Since we want the resulting shape to feel softer without it snapping off the Pixel Grid, we’re going to coat it using an outline. To do this, first create a copy (Control-C) of it, which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by flipping its Fill with its Stroke using the Shift-X keyboard shortcut. Once you’re done, set the Stroke’s Weight to 2 px and its Corner to Round Join, making sure to select and group the two shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 7

Grab the Pen Tool (P), and after setting the Stroke’s Weight to 2 px, quickly draw the two dummy text lines using the reference image as your main guide. Take your time, and once you’re done, make sure you select and group the two together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, doing the same for the entire IM symbol afterwards.

Step 8

Finish off the icon and with it the project itself by adding the little notification indicator using a 6 x 6 px circle, which we will color using #ff8d4d and then position onto the IM symbol’s upper-right corner. As always, once you’re done don’t forget to select and group all of the icon’s composing shapes before finally hitting that save button.

Awesome Job!

As always, I hope you had fun working on the project, and most importantly managed to learn something new and useful during the process.

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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