Tutorials | April 8th, 2010
In this tutorial I will show you how to create a simple storefront icon using some rectangles, Illustrator Effects, and gradients. This icon is great for use in e-commerce sites and the techniques in this tutorial can easily be applied to other icons, illustrations, and logos.
Below is the final icon we will be working towards.
- Program: Adobe Illustrator CS4
- Difficulty: Beginner / Intermediate
- Topics Covered: Rectangle Tool, Gradients, Bulge Warp
- Estimated Completion Time: 30 min – 1 hour
Create a new document and create a rectangle with the Rectangle tool (M). Keep this rectangle about half as long as it is tall. Within the rectangle, create two more rectangles. One will be the window and the second will be a door.
Select all the rectangles and go Object > Path > Offset. In the Offset dialog, change the Offset to -5 px. This value might be different depending on the the original size of your rectangles.
Select your main store shape and fill it with a gray color. Select the offset of the main store shape a fill it with a radial gradient from the Gradient panel. Change the first color stop in the radial gradient to a light gray and the second color stop to a gray slightly lighter than the main store shape color.
Select both main window and door shapes and fill them with a dark gray. Next, select the offset window and door shapes and fill them with a linear gradient. Change the first swatch in the linear gradient to a gray lighter then the original window and door shapes and the second swatch a darker gray then the original window and door shapes. Change the angle to 90 from the Gradient panel.
Select both the window and door offsets and go Object > Path > Offset. In the Offset dialog, change the Offset to -5 px. Change the fill of the new offset to a radial gradient with the first color stop a light cyan color and the second color stop to a darker cyan color.
Select both the new offsets and Copy (Command + C) and Paste in Front (F).
With the Rectangle tool (M), create a rectangle about one half the width of the door. With the Selection tool (V), hold the Shift key and rotate the rectangle 45 degrees. Place the rotated rectangle over the top right side of the door. Select the cyan door copy and the rectangle and press the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel.
Fill the new intersected shape with a linear gradient and change both color stops to white. Select the first white color stop and change the Opacity 45 and change the second white color stop’s opacity to 0 from the Gradient panel.
Repeat steps 7 and 8 for the window.
Create a thin rectangle slightly wider then the main store shape and place right below the main store shape. Fill the new rectangle with the same linear gradient as the first offset window and door shapes. Adjust the gradient with the Gradient tool (G) from top to bottom so the lighter part of the gradient is at the top of the rectangle.
Create another rectangle about one fourth the height of the previous rectangle and place it inside the previous rectangle. Fill the new rectangle with a linear gradient. For this gradient we need to add another color stop to the gradient. Simply click right below the center of the Gradient Slider in the Gradient panel. Now that there is three color stops, fill the first with the same lighter gray as in the previous rectangle, the second color stop white, and the third the same gray as the first color stop.
Create another thin rectangle, fill it will the same gradient and the main rectangle at the bottom of the store, and place below the window.
To add some life to the store we can create a simple sign for the window. Start by typing out some text and change the font size to fit within the window. Create a rectangle slightly bigger than your text and go Object > Arrange > Send Backward (Command + [ ). Fill the rectangle in with a linear gradient with the first color stop red and the second a dark red. Adjust the gradient so the lighter part of it is at the top of the rectangle. Next, fill the text in with white. To complete the sign, select the text and rectangle, slightly rotate with the Selection tool (V), and place over the window.
To add just a little more, create a small rectangle and fill it with a dark grate color for the door handle.
Now on to the store awning. Create a rectangle that a little taller than the main door shape, half the width of the door, and fill it with red. With the new rectangle selected, go Effect > Stylize > Round Corners. In the Round Corners dialog, change the Radius to 20 px. Like your offsets, this might be bigger or smaller depending on the size of your building. Next, go Object > Expand Appearance. Create a rectangle to cutoff the top rounded corners of the rectangle, select both shapes, and press the Minus Front button from the Pathfinder panel.
With the Selection tool (V) hold down the Shift key and the Alt / Option key (Shift constrains movements and Alt / Option copies) and drag a copy of the red shape to the right side of the original. Change the fill of the the copy to a light gray. Select both shapes and drag out copies like you just did, making sure they line up with the right side of the gray shape. Again, select all the shapes (you should have a total of four) and drag out a copy to the right of the last shapes. You should now have a total of eight shapes. When dragging out the copies, I like to have Smart Guides enabled ( Command U). Having smart guide activated, will snap object together when editing the shapes, making it a lot easier. For more info on Smart Guides, check my quick tip The Power of Smart Guides.
Select all the awning shapes and go Effects > Warp > Bulge. In the Warp Options dialog, check Vertical, Change the bend to 40, Horizontal Distortion to 0, and the Vertical Distortion to 28. Next, go Object > Expand Appearance.
Select the red shapes and fill them with a linear gradient. Add two color stops to the gradient so you have a total of four. Change the first color stop to red, the second to lighter red, the third to red, and the last on to a dark red. With the Gradient tool (G) adjust the gradient from top to bottom. In the gradient panel, change the Location of the third color swatch to 80 and the location of the second color stop to 55.
Select the gray shapes in the awning and repeat the previous steps but change the first color stop to a light gray, the second to white, third to light gray, and the fourth to gray. Place all the awning shape over the top of the store.
Select the main store body shape, Copy (Command C ), and Paste in Front (Command + F). Select all the awing shapes, , Copy (Command C ), and Paste in Back (Command + B). With The shapes still selected, move them down slightly and Group (Command G) them together. Select the copied awning shapes and the copied building shape, hold down the Alt / Option key, press the Intersect button from the Pathfinder panel, and then press the Expand button from the Pathfinder panel. Fill the new shape with a linear gradient with the first color stop a gray color and the second a darker gray color. Adjust the gradient with the Gradient tool (G) so the light part of the gradient is at the bottom of the shape.
Select the bottom two long thin rectangle, Copy (Command + C) and Paste (Command + V). Move the copies to the top of the awning and scale them horizontally matching the top width of the awning shapes.
Create an ellipse a little wider than your main store shape with the Ellipse tool (L), fill with a radial gradient, change the first color stop to black , and the second to white. Squish the ellipse with the Selection tool (V) to about an eighth of its original size, and place behind and towards the bottom of the artwork. Set the Blending Mode of the ellipse to Multiply from the Transparency panel and you are all done!
Below is the final image again.