iOS App Icon Design Tutorial in Illustrator CS6 (Video & Written)

Below is both a video tutorial and a written tutorial that shows the design of the iOS app icon below.

iOS App Icon Video Tutorial:

iOS App Icon Written Tutorial:

Learn how to design the iOS Camera Icon shown above in Adobe Illustrator CS6 and then in Adobe Photoshop CS6 for some touch-ups. Let’s get started.

1. Create a new document (File / New). Make sure the settings match as shown above. 512px by 512px.
2. Make sure show grid and snap to grid are on in the View menu.

3. Select the Rounded Rectangle Tool from the menu (Select the Rectangle Tool, left click, and drag out to access the rounded tool).

4. Go to Edit -> Preferences -> General and change the Corner Radius to 80px. (Note: 80px on a 512x512px document size is the preferred corner radius for iOS icon designs.)

5. Start by clicking the at the very top left corner of the document space and dragging out the rounded rectangle, and end at the very bottom right corner.

6. Go to View -> Hide Grid. Then change Stroke to 0 in the top bar to remove the stroke applied to the rectangle.
7. Give the foreground color of the rectangle a radial gradiant.
8. Adjust the gradient colors as shown above.

9. Hit the “G” key to bring up the gradient tool and double click inside the upper left corner of the gradient circle. This will give it the spotlight effect as shown above.
10. Select the Ellipse Tool. While holding SHIFT and ALT, drag out a perfect circle in roughly the same size and location as shown above.

11. Re-adjust the gradient in the center as shown above. Give the ellipse a 6pt stroke. Click the orange “Stroke” button and change the “Align Stroke” to inside. Roughly match the gradient colors and options as shown in the screenshot.

12. Hit CTRL-C and CTRL-F to duplicate the ellipse. While holding SHIFT and ALT together, drag the new ellipse in.
13. Change the Stroke to 14pt and adjust the gradient slightly as shown in the screenshot.

14. CTRL-C and CTRL-F again to duplicate this ellipse. Drag it in a lot and then change the stroke to 4pt. Remove the background color and adjust the gradient colors to match the screenshot above.

15. Select the Pen Tool. Change the stroke to 0 in the top toolbar, and change the foreground color to radial (adjust the colors after the shape is drawn). Draw a shape roughly equal to the screenshot shown above. Change the gradient to match the screenshot. The inner color is white, and the outter color is a dark gray, the opacity is set to 0%. Also click the transparency tab and change the opacity of this glare to 70%.

16. Select the Ellipse tool and draw out a new ellipse in the center holding ALT and SHIFT. Drag it to the size of the lense. Change the opacity to 70%, and slightly adjust the gradient as shown above.

17. CTRL-C and CTRL-F to duplicate the ellipse. Resize it and position it to match the screenshot. Change the opacity (in the transparency tab) to 10% and adjust the gradient settings to match the screenshot above.

18. Select the first ellipse we created and duplicate it. Scale it down and position it to match the screenshot above. Adjust the foreground gradient colors to light and dark red. Also change the stroke to 4 pt.

19. Select the glare we created and duplicate it. Move it and scale it down above the new red lense. You can also adjust the gradient colors to both white, and select G to resize the gradient.

That’s it for the design in Illustrator. To present the icon better, you can go to File -> Document Setup, and click “Adjust Artboard”. You can then drag out the artboard to create for some padding between the icon as shown above.

Further Steps in Photoshop:

21. You can take this design a step further by bringing it into Photoshop. In Illustrator, go to File -> Export and save it as a PSD. In the PSD options box, make sure Write Layers is selected with a resolution of 72.

22. In Photoshop, open the PSD. Go to Image -> Image Size and change both 512′s to 800. Hit OK. Create a new layer and drag it to the bottom of the layer 1 group. Fill it with white.

23. We can give the icon a leather texture. Visit: for a free leather picture set. Right click the image and copy image (this option is available in FireFox and Chrome browsers).

24. With the first layer we created in Illustrator selected in Photoshop (named <Path>), create a new layer (CTRL-SHIFT-N) and make sure “Use previous layer to create clipping mask” is selected. Hit OK.

25. CTRL-V to paste the copied leather texture. Hit CTRL-T, then hold SHIFT+ALT and drag in to scale the size of the leather texture more consistent with the size of our icon.

26. Change the layer’s blend mode from “Normal” to “Difference”.

That’s it! You can obviously play around a lot more than I did and add more to this icon; but don’t add too much detail, you don’t want it to scale down badly and become hard to decipher.

If you want to save this image and present it with the multiple sizes, follow the steps below:

27. Select the “Layer 1″ layer group and hit CTRL-E to merge the group (First, make sure to move the background layer we created beneath the group).

28. This will give you two layers, the background layer and the actual icon layer. Let’s adjust the canvas size by going to Image -> Canvas Size and changing width to 1300px. (Note, if you’re working on a different resolution, use what works for you).

29. Use the bucket tool to fill in the side areas with white on the background layer.

30. Move the icon layer over to the left, and hit CTRL-A and then CTRL-C. Go to File -> New, Hit OK and then hit CTRL-V. Go to Image -> Image Size and change it to 50%. Then hit CTRL-A and CTRL-C to copy the new smaller sized layer.

31. Go back to our original document and CTRL-V to paste. Position the new icon as shown above.

32. Repeat the above steps two more times.
I’ve also added some shadows to give it some depth. Hope you enjoyed this tutorial!

Developing the icon further..

I decided to work a little more with the icon by adding color on the lens (a simple blue shape created with the pen tool in Photoshop, rasterizing the layer, giving it a gaussian blur and adjusting the blend mode).  I also added a sparkle (a shape created with the pen tool with opacity), and some reflections with reduced opacity.

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Adobe announces Adobe Creative Cloud

Adobe just announced Adobe Creative Suite 6 and Creative Cloud.  What exactly is Creative Cloud?

“Adobe® Creative Cloud™ is the digital hub that lets you download and install every Adobe Creative Suite® 6 application; access online services for file sharing, collaboration, and publishing; and benefit from new apps and features as soon as they’re released — giving you the freedom to create anything you can imagine.”

You can check out Creative Cloud here, and a blog post with other details here.

The two best parts of adobe creative cloud are:

Storage and Sharing. Members content can be automatically synchronized across of their PCs, mobile devices and the cloud. The files are accessible from anywhere, on any device and easily shared with colleagues or clients.

Publishing Web Sites and Apps. Members are able to host up to five websites for free and will be able to create and deploy digital brochures and catalogues to the iPad and iPhone.

I’m a little disappointed though they’re favoring iPad and iPhone and not also android!

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Orba Social Icon Set – 100% Commercial Free Social Icons

Free social icons 2012

Download the social icons here.

This is my first icon set, which is honestly long over due. There are 13 social icons here for Youtube, Aim, Twitter, Dribbble, Facebook, Flickr, G+, LinkedIN, Reddit, Skype, Pinterest and Behance. Each icon is available as a PNG in the sizes: 256×256, 128×128, 64×64 and 32×32.

You can use these free social icons for personal or commercial projects, free of charge! A link would be appreciated but not required.


  1. Added Pinterest to the zip file.  (All 4 sizes).

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The Latest Photoshop CS6 Tutorials – Updated Frequently

Adobe Photoshop CS6 is about to release shortly and sure enough, there will be plenty of tutorials available. There are already tutorials available as they recently released a Photoshop CS6 Beta. I’ve created a couple tutorials myself even, which I’ll list at the top because yes, I’m that bias! ;)  Below is the list, enjoy.

Vintage Logo Design in CS6

Use Photoshop CS6 to Create a Micro Machines Inspired Scene

Create Tilt-shift photography

How to Edit Videos in Photoshop CS6


Photoshop CS6 Video Tutorials

Video Tutorial: Battleship Poster in Photoshop CS6

That’s it for now. I will update this page a few times a month to keep it fresh, right now there’s not many tutorials being the software isn’t released yet.  If you made a photoshop cs6 tutorial you want me to add, let me know through the comments.  Thanks.

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25 of the Most Unique Dribbble Invite Thank You’s

I was recently drafted into the social design community Dribbble, and found it common practice to make your first shot (your first posted graphic) a thank you to the person who drafted you. I made mine which is shown in the previous post. I thought it would be cool to sift through previous “dribbble thank you” graphics and showcase the ones I thought were either well designed and/or unique.  Below is a list of 25 that I handpicked.

There’s plenty more you can check out here.

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Download my Free Basketball Icons

I just got an invite into Dribbble, a very popular site in which designers can post progress and finished work alike. Others can review it, like it, make it popular etc.. It’s also a great site to both find design related jobs and recruit designers. It also serves as an excellent way to seek inspiration from some of the top designers. Just use their search to type a tag and you’ll get plenty of results.

With that said, it’s somewhat of a dribbble trend to make your first “dribbble” a thank you to the person who gave you the invite. I chose to do the same with a custom basketball icon. You can see the graphic I designed here:

I decided to remove the gift wrapping and release the basketball itself as a 100% free basketball icon for others to use however they wish.  Click the graphic below to download a zip file which contains 3 24-bit PNG’s.

Download these free basketball icons.

Download the free basketball icons here (If you use the icons, share or like this page!)

You can check out my Dribbble profile here, which I intend to actually use and post stuff. Enjoy!

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A List of Logo Design Inspiration Sites

One of the things that helps me as a logo designer understand what type of logo a client is after are reference logos. I ask all of my clients in my online form if they would like to specify logos their either like or dislike. This helps minimize the need for unnecessary revision requests.

Having designed nearly 1,800 logos in the past 5 years, I’ve come across a certain percentage of clients who seem reluctant to share much information on the spec. form, but blow their lid when they see the first concept.  If only they would have shared some more information, such as reference logos, the headache could have been avoided.

So with that said, here’s a list of sites which can offer a great source of logo design inspiration.

Top Logo Design Inspiration Sites

There’s plenty there to choose from. If you’re a client and you want to help your logo designer understand more precisely what you’re after, provide them with direct links (copy and paste the web address) of the logo(s) you either like or dislike, and provide reasoning with each reference logo.

Aside from seeking out logo designs that contain elements you know you want or don’t want, browsing other great logos can help mold your idea of what you want if you have no idea what style you’re after. So these logo design inspiration sites are hugely helpful to both client and designer in more ways than one.

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Photoshop CS6: Layer Styles & Masks on Groups

The Photoshop CS6 Beta has been released for about a month now and one of the great new features is the ability to apply layer effects to groups. Grouping layers is great for organization, but now you’re able to use grouping for something entirely different; which is to apply effects to multiple separate layers under the same group.

Not only can you apply layer styles to groups, but you can also apply layer masks to groups. The image below shows you two identical groups, the one on the left shows the ability to apply layer styles (a gradient in this case) and the one on the right shows the ability to apply layer masks to groups (a photo.)

Both of these new features will come in handy for a variety of scenarios in which you would have had to merge layers in the past. Now you can maintain separate layers while apply both layer styles and masks to a single group.  Awesome!

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What is Responsive Web Design: The Answer!

If you haven’t heard of Responsive Web Design yet, don’t worry, you will.  And if you’re a web developer, you better understand not only what it is, but how to effectively implement it in your future sites. Not only for the sake of staying on the leading edge of development, but for the sake of your business; some clients will want it.

Responsive Web Design in a nutshell is a website with a dynamic layout that adapts to the browser width, or device screen size, in order to display the content in a more readable and accessible manner.

Traditionally in the past, designers were some times asked to create two separate versions of a website; one for computers and other for mobile. What sets responsive web design apart from that practice is that it’s a single website. This makes it much easier to manage the website rather than having to deal with multiple copies of HTML and CSS.

Below I’m going to list some live examples of websites currently utilizing responsive web design layouts. If you’re on a PC or a MAC, start by viewing them with a larger browser width and slowly drag the width of the browser in smaller. You’ll see how the layout and in some cases media (images and video) automatically adjust and scale.

Responsive Web Design Examples:

You can view many more here.

Soon I will be publishing a free tutorial that will walk you through the process of developing a responsive web design. Check back shortly!

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Vintage Logo Design in Photoshop CS6 Tutorial

Vintage Logo Design

Sometimes when you only have access to Photoshop and not a truly vector application like Illustrator, it’s your only option to design a logo. So in this tutorial, I will show you how to use the new Adobe Photoshop CS6 Beta to create a vintage logo design as seen above.

Vintage logo design is all about the use of colors and type. The font makes all the difference, you can download the font here for free:

1. Create a new document (File / New), set the width to 800, and height 750px.

2. Select the Ellipse Tool (U) and a green color (#859661).  Hold Shift and ALT together to create a circle as shown above.

3. Duplicate the layer (I create a custom shortcut CTRL-SHIFT-D to duplicate layers).
4. CTRL-T to scale it in while holding Shift and ALT together and dragging with your mouse, then hit Enter.

5. Select the Type Tool and choose the Sierra Madre font, make sure the font color in the top toolbar is white.
6. Hold the ALT key and select on the path of the duplicated layer we just created near the upper left corner. Type your text.

7. Select the duplicated layer we created and hold CTRL-T with ALT and SHIFT held down and drag it down to scale it a little bit so it does the text does not rest directly on the path. Double click the layer preview square in the layers window to change the color to #cbd7b3.
8. Duplicate that layer, and then select the layer directly beneath it (the one we just duplicated) and scale it larger with ALT and SHIFT held down so that it rests near the center of the type.  Change the color of this layer to: #788953.

9. Double click on the right of the first Ellipse layer we created to bring up the Layer Style window and select Stroke. Change size to 8px and the color to: #627142.
10. Choose the Pen Tool and create three points to create the wave as shown above. Then select the Type Tool, hold ALT, and left click on the left of the path we just created. Type your text here. You may need to adjust the font size so that it fits correctly.

11. Go to Window / Character to adjust the letter spacing as needed.
12. Select the Shape Layer we just created and move it down with your down arrows on your keyboard (about 10-15 times).
13. Select the Pen Tool and click on the 3rd point we created. Continue to draw around the type with 3 more points, and connect to the last point to create the shape above. Change the color to: #59673d.

14. In my design, I needed to re-position the tagline we created along with the shape we just finished.  If you need to as well, hold Shift while selecting both the type layer and the shape layer.  Select the Move Tool and move them down or where you want it to end up.

15. With the Shape Layer selected, create a new layer (CTRL-SHIFT-N) and check “Use Previous Layer to Create Clipping Mask”.

16.  Select the Pen Tool and change the Foreground color to: #4b5733. Draw a new shape that runs through the center of the tag line as shown above.
17. Choose the Pen Tool and select a black foreground color. Draw 4 points to create the handle of a paintbrush as shown above.

18. Hold CTRL-SHIFT-N to create a new layer mask (Make sure Clipping Mask is checked off again).
19. With the Pen Tool selected, change the foreground color to: #404040. Draw 4 more points, going down the center of the paint brush to create a highlight effect as shown above.

20. Select the Pen Tool and draw the end of the brush as shown above. (Note, if you’re new to the pen tool it can be difficult to learn at first, but it just takes practice!).  Change this shape’s color to white.

21. Again with the Pen Tool, draw a shape similar to the red paint above. Change the color to #bc3a3a.
22. Create another shape to serve as the highlight on the paint and change the color to #ce5050.

23. Select the inner shape we created earlier and create a new layer mask over it.
24. Draw a 4 point shape as shown above with the color #e3ebd4.

25. Duplicate the layer 3 times. Each time using CTRL-T to rotate and move the layer in place.

26. Change the background color of the Background layer to #f2f8e6.
27. Open this paper texture (The first one in the zip file) in Photoshop, CTRL-A to select all and CTRL-C to copy.
28. With the background layer selected, CTRL-V to paste the paper texture (as shown above.)

29. With the new texture layer selected, change the layer blend mode to Luminosity and the Opacity to 57%.
30. Create a new layer (CTRL-SHIFT-N), do not make it a layer mask.
31. Select the Paint Bucket Tool and choose a foreground color of #bbc6a5. Left click anywhere in the background.
32. Select the Eclipse Marquee Tool (M), hold ALT and select in the center of the logo while dragging out to create a large circular selection and hit the Delete Key.

33. Go to the Filter Menu -> Blur -> Gaussian Blur.  Change the blur to around 114 and hit Enter. Change the layer’s blend mode to Color Burn.

And that’s it! Vintage Logo Design made easy in Adobe Photoshop CS6. Download the PSD here.

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