How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in Adobe Illustrator

In today’s tutorial we’re going to learn how to create a set of four computer peripherals, using the same body as the central structure to which we will add all the key features that make each object stand out.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in Adobe Illustrator

As always, we’re going to rely on the use of some basic geometric shapes, combined with the power of the Align panel.
How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

That being said, grab that old coffee mug, and let’s get started!

Oh, and before I forget, you can always expand the project by checking out GraphicRiverwhere you can find tons of computer-themed icons.

1. How to Set Up a New Document

Since I’m hoping that you already have Illustrator up and running in the background, bring it up and let’s set up a New Document (File > New or Control-N) using the following settings:

  • Number
    of Artboards: 1
  • Width:
    800
    px
  • Height:
    600
    px
  • Units:
    Pixels

And from the Advanced tab:

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

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Quick tip: some of you might have noticed that the Align New Objects to Pixel Grid option is missing. That’s because I’m running the new CC 2017 version of the software, where great changes have been made to the way Illustrator handles the way shapes snap to the underlying Pixel Grid.

2. How to Set Up a Custom Grid

Since we’re going to be creating the icons using a pixel-perfect workflow, we’ll want to set up a nice little grid so that we can have full control over our shapes—that is if we’re running the older version of the software.

Step 1

Go to the Edit > Preferences > Guides & Grid submenu, and adjust the following settings:

  • Gridline
    every: 1 px
  • Subdivisions: 1

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Quick tip: you can learn more about grids by reading this in-depth piece on how Illustrator’s Grid System works.

Step 2

Once we’ve set up our custom grid, all we need to do in order to make sure our shapes look crisp is enable the Snap to Grid option found under the View menu, which will transform into Snap to Pixel each time you enter Pixel Preview mode.

Now, if you’re new to the whole “pixel-perfect workflow”, I strongly recommend you go through my how to create pixel-perfect artwork tutorial, which will help you widen your technical skills in no time.

3. How to Set Up the Layers

With the new document created, it would be a good idea to structure our project using a couple of layers, since this way we can maintain a steady workflow by focusing on one icon at a time.

That being said, bring up the Layers panel, and create a total of five layers, which we will rename as follows:

  • layer 1: reference grids
  • layer 2: tablet
  • layer 3: mouse
  • layer 4: keyboard
  • layer 5: midi
    controller

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

4. How to Create the Reference Grids

The Reference Grids (or Base Grids) are a set of precisely delimited reference surfaces, which allow us to build our icons by focusing on size and consistency.

Usually, the size of the grids determines the size of the actual icons, and they should always be the first decision you make when you start a new project, since you’ll always want to start from the smallest possible size and build on that.

Now, in our case, we’re going to be creating the icon pack using just one size, more exactly 128 x 128 px, which is a fairly large one.

Step 1

Start by locking all but the reference grid layer, and then grab the Rectangle Tool (M) and create a 128 x 128 px orange (#F15A24) square, which will help define the overall size of our icons.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 2

Add a smaller 120 x 120 px one (#FFFFFF) which will act as our active drawing area, thus giving us an all-around 4 px padding.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 3

Group the two squares composing the reference grid using the Control-G keyboard shortcut, and then create three copies at a distance of 40 px from one another, making sure to align them to the center of the Artboard.

Once you’re done, lock the current layer and move on to the next one where we’ll start working on our first icon.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

5. How to Create the Repeating Body

As I’ve already pointed out, we’re going to create all four icons using the same body, onto which we will gradually add the key features that give them their “identity”. That being said, make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the second one) and then zoom in the first reference grid so that we can have a better view of the shapes.

Step 1

Start by creating a 112 x 100 px rounded rectangle with an 8 px Corner Radius, which we will color using #60677C, and then center align to the underlying active drawing area, at a distance of 4 px from its bottom edge.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 2

Give the shape that we’ve just created an outline using the Stroke method, by creating a copy of it (Control-C
> Control-F) which we will adjust by first changing its color to #2B3249, and then flipping its Fill with its Stroke (Shift-X), making sure to set its Weight to 8 px afterwards.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P) draw a 16 px tall 8 px thick Stroke line (#2B3249) starting from the center of the outline’s top edge, and going all the way to the outer limit of the active drawing area. Once you’re done, you can select and group all three shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 4

Now that we have our repeating body, all we have to do is create three copies of it (Control-C > Control-F three times), and position one onto each of the empty reference grids.

Once you have them all in place, you can start locking the layers so that you can keep your focus on the first icon.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

6. How to Create
the Tablet Icon

The first icon that we’re going to tackle is the little graphics tablet, so make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the second one) and then zoom in on its reference grid so that we can get started.

Step 1

Create the tablet’s display using an 80 x 60 px rectangle, which we will color using white (#FFFFFF) and then center align to the repeating body, at a distance of 12 px from its top edge.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 2

Give the shape that we’ve just created an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) using the Stroke method, selecting and grouping the two together afterwards using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 3

Using the Pen Tool (P), draw three 8 px thick diagonal Stroke lines (#2B3249), which we will adjust by lowering their Opacity to just 20%. Once you’re done, select and group them together (Control-G) center aligning them to the underlying display afterwards.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 4

Start working on the tablet’s first button, by creating a 16 x 16 px square (#BAC0CE) with an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) which we will group (Control-G) and then position onto the left side of the display, at a distance of 16 px from the larger outline’s top edge.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 5

Create the second left-sided button using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the one that we’ve just made, which we will position underneath, making sure to change the fill shape’s color to white (#FFFFFF) once we have it in place. Once you have both buttons, group them (Control-G) since we’ll be using them to create the right-sided ones.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 6

Create the right-sided buttons using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the ones that we’ve just grouped, which we will position onto the opposite side of the tablet’s display.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 7

Finish off the icon by adding the little pen, which we will create using a 40 px wide 8 px thick Stroke line (#2B3249) with a Round Cap, which we will center align to the tablet’s lower section. Once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group all of the icon’s composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

7.How to Create the
Mouse Icon

Assuming you’ve already moved on up to the next layer (that would be the
third one) and locked the previous one, zoom in on the second reference grid and let’s start working on the mouse icon.

Step 1

Create the mouse’s main body using a 44 x 68 px rectangle, which we will color using white (#FFFFFF) and then center align to the underlying repeating body’s main fill shape.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 2

Adjust the shape that we’ve just created by setting the Radius of its top Corners to 4 px and its bottom ones to 22 px from within the Transform panel’s Rectangle Properties.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 3

Create the left-click button using a 22 x 20 px rectangle, which we will color using #BAC0CEand then align to the larger shape’s top-left corner.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 4

Give the mouse an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) using the Stroke method, making sure to position it on top of its two fill shapes (right click > Arrange >
Bring to Front).

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 5

Add the bottom button delimiter line using a 44 px wide 8 px thick Stroke(#2B3249) which we will center align to the mouse’s body, positioning it at a distance of 12 px from the outline’s top edge.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 6

Finish off the icon by adding the vertical detail line separating the mouse’s two buttons, which we will create using a 36 px tall 8 px thick Stroke line (#2B3249). Once you’re done, group (Control-G) all of the mouse’s composing shapes together, doing the same for all of the icon’s sections afterwards.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

8. How to Create
the Keyboard Icon

I’m guessing that by now you already know the drill, so make sure you’re on the right layer (that
would be the fourth one) and zoom in on the third reference grid so that we can get started.

Step 1

Start working on the top row’s first key by creating a 14 x 14 px square (#FFFFFF) with an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) which we will group (Control-G) and then position towards the repeating body’s top-left corner, at a distance of 6 px from the larger outline.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 2

Create the top row’s remaining keys by selecting the one that we’ve just made and then dragging it to the right side while holding down the Alt (to create the copy) and Shift keys (to drag in a perfect
straight line), to create the first instance.

Make sure that the duplicate’s outline overlaps the original one’s, and then simply press Control-D four times, which will repeat the last action and thus create the remaining duplicates, grouping (Control-G) all the row’s buttons together afterwards.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 3

Create the second row of keys using the same Alt-Shift-Drag method, only this time repeat the process by pulling down on the mouse until the copy overlaps the original’s outline.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 4

Start working on the third row’s first key by creating a 20 x 14 px rectangle (#FFFFFF) with an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) which we will group (Control-G) and then position underneath the shapes from the previous step, left aligning it to them.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 5

Create the spacebar using a 44 x 14 px rectangle (#FFFFFF) with an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will group (Control-G) and then position onto the right side of the previously created button.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 6

Add the third row’s last button using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of its first one, which we will position onto the opposite side of the spacebar. Once you’re done, group (Control-G) all of the row’s shapes together, doing the same for all the buttons afterwards.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 7

Create the trackpad using a 28 x 20 px rectangle (#BAC0CE) with an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will group (Control-G) and then center align to the lower section of the keyboard, positioning it at a distance of 12 px from the smaller buttons that we’ve just grouped.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 8

Finish off the icon, by adding the little fingerprint reader using a 12 px wide 8 px thick Stroke line (#2B3249) which we will position onto the repeating body’s bottom-right corner, at a distance of 20 px from the trackpad. Once you’re done, select and group all of the icon’s composing shapes together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

9. How to Create the Midi Controller Icon

We are now down to our fourth and last icon, so make sure you’re on the right layer (that would be the fifth one) and let’s wrap things up!

Step 1

Create the first out of the three adjustment knobs, using an 8 x 8 px circle which we will color using #2B3249, and then position onto the repeating body’s top-left corner, at a distance of 8 px from its left side and6 px from its top.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 2

Create the remaining knobs using two 8 x 8 px circles (#2B3249) which we will vertically stack on the one from the previous step, distributing them at a distance of 6 px from one another. Then, once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group them together using the Control-G keyboard shortcut.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 3

Create the volume slider using a 12 x 28 px rectangle (#FFFFFF) with an 8 px thick Stroke (#2B3249) on top of which we will add a 12 px wide 8 px thick state indicator line (#2B3249), which we will position in its bottom section. Group (Control-G) all three shapes together and then position them onto the right side of the adjustment knobs, at a distance of 8 px.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 4

Start working on the little D-pad buttons by creating a 14 x 14 px square (#BAC0CE) with an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249) which we will group (Control-G) and then position onto the right side of the volume slider, at a distance of 14 px.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 5

Finish off the first row of D-pads by adding two copies of the one that we’ve just made, using the Alt-Shift-Drag method, making sure to select and group (Control-G) all three of them afterwards.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 6

Create the second row of pads using a copy (Control-C > Control-F) of the one that we’ve just finished working on, which we will position just underneath, selecting and grouping (Control-G) them both together afterwards.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 7

Start working on the controller’s keys by creating a 16 x 44 px rectangle (#FFFFFF) with an 8 px thick outline (#2B3249), which we will group (Control-G) and then align to the bottom edge of the repeating body, at a distance of 8 px from its left edge.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 8

Create the remaining keys using four copies (Control-C > Control-F four times) of the one that we’ve just made, which we will distribute along its right side.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Step 9

Finish off the keyboard, and with it the icon itself, by adding a 16 x 22 px rectangle (#2B3249) to the center of the first two set of keys, selecting and grouping all of them together afterwards. Then, once you’re done, don’t forget to select and group (Control-G) all of the icon’s composing shapes as well.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator

Awesome Work, You’re Done!

There you have it—a nice and easy tutorial on how to create your very own computer peripherals using nothing more than some simple shapes and tools. I hope you’ve managed to keep up with each and every step and most importantly learned something new along the way.

How to Create a Computer Peripherals Icon Set in AdobeIllustrator