How to Create a Music File Icon

Welcome back to another Adobe Illustrator tutorial, in which we’re going to take a close look behind the process of creating a music file icon, and see what it takes to build one from scratch using just a couple of basic geometric shapes. So, assuming you already have the software up and running, let’s jump straight into it!

Tutorial Details: Music File Icon

  • Program: Adobe Illustrator CS6 – CC 2019
  • Difficulty: Beginner
  • Topics Covered: Compositional Construction, Shape Alignment, Grid Positioning
  • Estimated Completion Time: 20 Minutes

Final Image: Music File Icon

Step 1

As with any new project, we’re going to kick things off by creating a New Document by heading over to File > New (or by using the Control-N keyboard shortcut) which we will adjust as follows:

  • Number of Artboards: 1
  • Width: 96 px
  • Height: 96 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 by creating its main body using an 80 x 80 px circle, which we will color using #EDEFF2 and then center align to the larger underlying using the Align panel’s Horizontal and Vertical Align Center options.

Step 3

Add the main shape for the folded corner using a 24 x 24 px square, which we will color using #D3D3D3 and then align to the larger shapes top and right anchor points.

Step 4

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by opening up the Transform panel and then setting the Radius of its bottom-left corner to 8 px from within the Rectangle Properties input field.

Step 5

Mask the resulting shape by creating a copy (Control-C) of the underlying circle, which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then with both it and the folded corner selected simply right click > Make Clipping Mask.

Step 6

Create the main shape for the music note’s head using a 10 x 8 px ellipse, which we will color using #FF8440 and then position at a distance of 26 px from the larger circle’s left and bottom anchor points.

Step 7

Give the shape an outline using the Stroke method, by creating a copy (Control-C) of it which we will paste in front (Control-F) and then adjust by first flipping its Fill with its Stroke using the Shift-X keyboard shortcut. Set the resulting paths Weight to 4 px, making sure to select and group the two shapes together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

Step 8

Add the stem section using a 20 px tall 4 px thick Stroke line with a Round Cap, which we will position as seen in the reference image.

Step 9

Create a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the music note’s current shapes, and then position it onto the original’s right side, at a distance of 4 px from its right and bottom edges.

Step 10

Select the two stems’ top anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then unite them into a single larger path by using the Control-J keyboard shortcut making sure to set the resulting shape’s Corner to Round Join.

Step 11

Create the beam using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the shape from the previous step, which we will adjust by first closing its path using the Control-J keyboard shortcut. Once you’re done, select the resulting shape’s bottom anchor points using the Direct Selection Tool (A), and then push them to the top by a distance of 16 px using the Move tool (right click > Transform > Mover > Vertical > -16 px).

Step 12

Finish off the icon and with the project itself, by giving the resulting beam a fill shape using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of itself, which we will adjust by flipping its Fill with its Stroke using the Shift-X keyboard shortcut. Once you’re done, make sure you select and group (Control-C) all of the music note’s composing shapes together, doing the same for the entire icon afterwards.

Awesome Job!

I hope you had fun working on the project, and 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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