Illustrate Your Day: An Intro to Symbol Design | Edward Boatman | Skillshare

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Illustrate Your Day: An Intro to Symbol Design

teacher avatar Edward Boatman, Co-founder, Noun Project

Watch this class and thousands more

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Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.

      Creating Your List of Referents


    • 2.

      Design Techniques for Your Icons


    • 3.

      A Crash Course to Adobe Illustrator


    • 4.

      Designing a Symbol in Adobe Illustrator


    • 5.

      Creating the Final Product


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About This Class

Symbols are incredibly powerful communication tools. They can communicate faster than words, in memorable and powerful ways, and in a universal way that transcends cultural and language barriers. They are the one language we all can understand. 

During this class you will learn how to create these amazing communication tools using vector editing software, and use symbols to tell the story of a day in your life.

What You'll Learn

  • Selecting Your Referents. We'll start off by bubbling ideas for icons we'd like to create and begin sketching them.
  • Design Techniques to Maximize User Comprehension. We'll cover some basic elements of icon design then apply design technique to our referents to create more refined sketches.
  • Drawing Symbols in Illustrator. We'll use Adobe Illustrator to create digital vectors of our icon designs. 
  • Polishing Your Designs. We'll finalize our icons and share them with the world.

What You'll Make

You will start off the class by documenting what your daily routine is. After you think through this, you will narrow down these items to a list of the 20 essential activities or objects that define your daily life. Once you have these 20 referents you will learn how to design a symbol that visually communicates the essence of each one of these concepts.
Once the designs are completed you will create a linear timeline using your symbols. This will serve as a visual representation of your life. 

This class is perfect for anyone wanting to learn more about Adobe Illustrator, graphic design, iconography, illustration, and creative storytelling.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Edward Boatman

Co-founder, Noun Project


The Noun Project is building a global visual language that everyone can understand. We want to enable our users to visually communicate anything to anyone.

Humans have been using symbols to communicate for over 17,000 years because they are the one language everyone can understand. Symbols can transcend cultural and language barriers and deliver concise information effortlessly and instantaneously. They allow people to communicate quickly, effectively, and intuitively. And for the first time ever, this language is being combined with technology to create a social language that unites the world.

You can read more about us in Core77, Fast Company, The New York Times, The 99 Percent, and GOOD.

This class is taught by Edward Boatman, Co-Founder of The Noun Project and a... See full profile

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1. Creating Your List of Referents: Hi everyone. My name is Edward Boatman. I'm one of the founders of the Noun Project. I'd like to welcome me into my Skillshare class: An Introduction to Simple Design. I want to start off by thanking all of you for taking this class. It's really an amazing opportunity for me to be able to teach all of you guys, and I'm really looking forward to all the things you guys are going to teach me. Once again, thank you so much for taking the class. I wanted to kick off the class by quickly talking about what each one of you guys is going to be creating. Essentially what the final deliverable is going to be. Each of you is going to design 20 symbols that when put together, will create a visual timeline that tells the story of a day in your life. I've mocked up my timeline. Wow this is upside down, sorry about that. Essentially what my day looks like through icons. What's so great about this is you really can tell a lot about my day and my life and what I do. You can see that first thing that I do in the morning is I wake up and I check my iPhone. Not so sure if I'm proud of that. Then I take the dog for a walk. You can see that he's a really small dog. His name is Monkey and he's actually probably a little smaller than this in real life. Then take a shower. Then eat a little breakfast. You can see that I'm a coffee drinker, do a little French press. Then say goodbye to my wife. I know it's a little sappy, but I had to throw it in there. She'd probably get mad at me if I didn't throw it in there. Then take a walk to the bus stop where I catch the bus. Once I get into the office, first thing I do is check some email. Then I read little news. Then I jump into the sketchbook where I start doing some design work. After that, do a little bit of thinking, concepting, problem-solving. Break for lunch, where I usually eat a salad. Then jump back into the computer where I do a little bit more design work. Take the bus home, and then walk from the bus stop back home. Say hello to the wife. Eat some dinner, and I usually have an adult beverage with that. Watch a little bit of TV. I do a little reading in bed, and lights out. So that's essentially story of my day told through icons and you guys are going to do this and tell the story of your day. What I think is so great about this is not only are you guys going to learn how to use Adobe Illustrator and learn how to effectively visually communicate ideas, but you're also going to learn a lot about yourselves and others. It's really a fascinating exercise to document your daily routine, and to see your day in a single snapshot. What I think is really great is that since we're using the universal language of iconography, the one language that everyone can understand, and since we have people from around the world taking this class, we're going to be able to see how people from different parts of the world live their lives, and we're going to be able to see the similarities and the differences. I think it's going to be really fascinating, and I think we have the potential to create something really amazing here. I want to give you a brief overview of how we're going to progress through the class. Today in Unit 1, we're going to create a list of concepts, objects, or actions that define our daily routine. We're going to call these reference. Then in Unit 2, we're going to learn some design techniques that will allow us to effectively visually communicate these objects and actions. Using these techniques, we're going to sketch out some designs that visually communicates each one of these reference. Then in Unit 3, we're going to jump into Adobe Illustrator, and we're going to transform these sketches into vector icons, vector designs. Then finally in Unit 4, we're going to polish up the designs, put them in a timeline, and share them with the world. So that's how we're going to progress through the class. Let's get started here. I want you to create a list of all the actions, objects, and concepts that define your normal day. Notice how I said normal day. This is not a make-believe day. This is not your perfect day. This is just your normal daily routine. Try to be as honest as possible. When making the list try be as detailed as possible. Here's the list I started with. You can see that I'm going into pretty granular detail. I've got about 35 steps here. Wake up and check the phone. Take the dog out. You can see walking. You can see thinking, creating, relaxing, talking, all these different things that I do throughout my day. I want you to go through and do that for your day. Make a list of all these different steps, concepts, or objects that define your daily routine. Once you've done that, I want you to go through that list and you're going to have to narrow it down to 20 reference. I want you go through that list, and think about which steps are the most significant, and which steps can be easily visually communicated, and also which steps create interesting storytelling tools. Once you've done that, I want you to write that list on a separate piece of paper. You can see now I took that list of 35 reference, and I've now narrowed it down to 20. These 20 reference are going to be the foundation of our timeline. Once you've done that, once you've narrowed your list down to 20 reference, take a picture of it, and upload it to the Projects section on the Skillshare website. That is the deliverable for Unit 1. You've already completed one unit, congratulations. I will see you in Unit 2. Thank you so much again for taking the class. Bye. 2. Design Techniques for Your Icons: Hi everyone. It's Edward Boatman. Welcome to unit 2 of the Skillshare class, an introduction to symbol design. As you recall, at the end of last unit, we created a list of 20 reference that are going to serve as the foundation for our visual timeline going forward. In today's unit, we're going to create sketches that visually communicate each one of these reference. Before we get into that, I want to first talk about one of the most important aspects of symbol design, and that's user comprehension. So when a user views a symbol, that symbol should communicate the correct intended message back to the user. Now, I'm going to flip the screen around and we're going to jump into a presentation for this. All right. Welcome to my screen. A great place to start off talking about user comprehension is by looking at this suite of medical symbols. Now, what's so great about this suite of medical symbols is it was actually scientific tested for user comprehension. A little backstory on this suite is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation came up with this goal to create a universal set of medical symbols that could be used in hospitals all across the world. The way they set out on executing this is they actually reached out to several doctors and asked them to come up with a list of reference or concepts that they thought needed to be visually defined the most. So what were the needs of these hospitals? Once they had this list of concepts, then they actually reached out to designing universities across the country and got graphic design students involved. They asked the graphic design students to create symbols that visually communicated each one of these reference. When that process was done, they combined the symbols that the graphic designers created, and they combined them with existing medical symbols. What ended up happening is they had multiple symbols representing a single reference. That allowed them to test for user comprehension. Now, the way the testing worked is they got together several volunteers, and they made sure that the volunteers were non designers, because they knew that if designers were to evaluate these, designers would be subconsciously thinking about proportions, scale, line weight not necessarily only user comprehension. So they asked these volunteers to write in the box, what percentage of people they thought would think that this symbol meant administration. That was the simple way that they tested all of these symbols. The testing is filled with fascinating data, and I've actually posted a link to the PDF of the entire report, and I've posted a link to the PDF to just the test results in the resources section of the Skillshare site. So I'd highly recommend you take a look at it. One of the first things that the testing revealed is that there were essentially two design techniques that you could use to achieve a high level of user comprehension. Both of these symbols here are communicating the same reference, which is ophthalmology. Both of these symbols tested very well. But obviously, these symbols are using very different design techniques. The one on the left here is using what they call an iconic technique, it's simply showing an object that's associated with the reference. In this case, an eye. Notice how simple and bold it is, it can be scaled up or down and it's still going to read well. Now, the symbol on the right is using what they call the narrative design technique. It is a much more visually complex than the iconic technique, and it's really telling a story. So you have the doctor here holding a medical device, shining light into the patient's eye. Let's look at these design techniques a little more in depth. All four of these symbols here are using the iconic design technique. You have dentist, ambulance, medical staff, this one's a little sexist, sorry about that, and then neurology. Again, look how simple and bold all these designs are. Something that they're all doing in common is that they're only analyzing the essential facts of the object or concept they're representing. So they're just showing the very simple and iconic shape of the tooth. In the ambulance's case, they've excluded so much detail from it. There's no door handle or joint between the door and the rest of the ambulance, they don't have the rear window here, they're only showing the essential facts, which is a siren, the highly iconic medical cross, the tires, and the shape of an ambulance. Here, with medical staff, they're showing the very iconic shape of a stethoscope. In neurology, they're using negative space here to show some of the spine and then negative space to show the brain, and the brain is so simply designed here, it's just a series of circles laid over one another. To show the highly recognizable texture of the brain is just a simple line going through it. Again, all four of these symbols are using the iconic technique, all four of these symbols tested very well. Let's move on and talk about the narrative technique. All four of these symbols are using it, all four of these symbols are using it well. So you have respiratory, waiting room, surgery, and health education. With respiratory, look at the motion that's achieved, the illusion of motion that's achieved by just showing a series of dots of air moving in through the patient's nose into the lungs. It's a much more complex, it's much more dynamic than the simply static designs of the iconic design technique. Here, for waiting room, you have a person sitting in a chair, their legs are crossed, they're reading a book. To really drive home the point that time is passing there, there's a clock in the upper left corner. Surgery, you have the doctor actually performing on the patient. So he's actually engaged in the process. The people in the iconic design technique are just completely static, no motion. But the people in the narrative design technique, they're always engaged in the process. Here, for health education, you have the Doctor, and again, he's engaged in the process, teaching the students. Now, let's look at some designs that didn't test well and see what we can learn from them. The referent here was alternative medicine. Now, the one on the right, this one here, tested much better than this one. That's because this one is very clearly using the narrative design technique. You have the doctor performing a form of alternative medicine on a patient, it's very clear what they're doing. This one is very ambiguous, it looks like or it could look like medical marijuana, so very confusing. Here, the referent is mental health. The one on the right, again, tested better, and that's because they're using the iconic technique here, they're using something that people are well aware of, which is the gears in the mind have always been associated with thinking. Whereas this one, they're really trying to use a metaphor here, which is a bit confusing, of the sun rising up over the doctor and the patient to represent hope and healing, which is a very confusing and complex concept to try to tell through symbol. Here the referent is genetics. Again, the one on the right tested better. The one on the left, again, is using a metaphor. They're trying to explain the very complex idea of a family tree, and obviously that didn't come out well, this is just very confusing. What ended up actually working better was just showing a family and then showing the very iconic and highly recognizable shape of the double helix. Now, we know the iconic and narrative design techniques. But obviously these two design techniques have their limitations. As a general rule of thumb, they should only be used if the object or concept they're representing can be realistically depicted. Now, for concepts that are more abstract and ambiguous, a bold and memorable mark must be created and then used consistently over time to achieve a high level user comprehension. Perfect examples of this are the recycling, biohazard, new filler, and radioactive symbols. None of us would know what these symbols meant, If we were not taught from a very young age they are communicating a certain concept. Now, that we know the three design techniques, or I should say, sorry, going back to the abstract design technique. I highly doubt many of you are going to have to use this design technique in your projects. I just wanted to bring it up. I feel like it's important to know because I feel like most of the reference you guys you're going to come up with can be depicted using the iconic and narrative design techniques. Now, that we know the iconic narrative and abstract design techniques, I want to move on and talk a little bit about design style. Obviously, there's an infinite amount of design styles you could use. But for this class, I really want to narrow it down to two design styles. The outline design style and the filled design style. The outline design style is exactly what it sounds, the shapes that are created are just simply brought to life by using outlines. The filled design style is just creating shapes by creating solid filled-in on shapes. In terms of complexity, the outline design style is a little bit easier to execute. If you're just beginning in the class, I would recommend using this style. If you are a little more advanced and you want a bigger challenge, then I would go for the filled design style. Let's look at some examples of these. Here are three symbols that are using the filled design style. You have someone that's smashing their head on something hanging from the ceiling. This is using the narrative design technique, but obviously using the filled-in design style. This is the very famous airplane symbol designed in 1974 by Roger Cook and Don Shanosky, that has been widely adopted around the world for airports. This is obviously using the iconic design technique, and it's using the filled-in design style. We have a symbol here representing something that everyone does in college, which is streaking, some guy throwing off his clothes and going for a run. This is using the narrative design technique and obviously is the filled-in design style. Let's look at some examples of the outline design style. We have a hot dog here that is using the iconic design technique and the narrative design style. We have an icon that actually I created for my timeline. This is the very last one on my timeline, representing me going to bed. It is a narrative design technique because I'm adding in the storytelling elements of the moon and the stars, and my body's in motion here showing my arm hanging down. This is obviously using the outline design style and then a lighter that is just simply shown using the iconic design technique, but the outline design style Once again, you have three design techniques. You have the narrative, the iconic, and the abstract. Then I'd like for you guys to choose from one of the design styles, the filled-in design style or the outline design style. Now, I want to move on and talk about taking these reference and creating some sketches for them. Here's a picture from my sketch book. This is my list of 20 reference that I narrowed down from last unit. This is my list that is the foundation for my timeline. What I want you guys to do is to go through and pick out two symbols. One is going to be using the iconic design technique and try to find another one that will use the narrative design technique. For me, I know that the bus, I'm probably just going to show the buses as a simple bus. It's probably going to be the iconic design technique. But, where's thinking here, thinking right here. That is going to be more than likely a narrative design technique. I'm going to illustrate the bus and the thinking icons. Starting off with the bus icon, I actually pulled the picture of what my actual bus looks like, that I take to work and I'd like you guys to do the same. If you're depicting a bicycle or if you're depicting your house or your bus, I think you should start with an actual picture of it. That way you can pull in some essential details of that object. Just looking at this bus, I can see some core elements, the essential facts of this bus, which is essentially this top part here, which has the information about where the bus is going. You notice it's just two really big windows, and then this really strong horizontal element, the bumper. There are a lot of other elements in this image that don't need representing like the windshield wipers or the spike cage up front. That's just going to add clutter to the design. If you start off with a picture, just think to yourself what the main elements of that object is. Now, I move to my sketchbook and you can see that I have the picture here still to get inspiration from. I started off sketching it from the side but one thing you notice is obviously the width is much greater than the height, and that doesn't make for the best icon. You want your icons to be equal height and width to have a similar ratio, so it takes up the entire space. I decided to go with the front view. Again, I'm just pulling in the essential elements of the bus, which is this top part. I've really simplified this area here where the information is displayed by simply a line. Then I have just the two windows here and pulled in some nice details of the lights on the bus. Then obviously, the bumper and then just showing the two tires underneath. Then to further drive home the point that's a bus, you know, throwing the driver in there, I think it's a nice little touch. Now, moving on to the thinking reference, which I'm going to use the narrative technique with. I started off by sketching out a couple of different ideas. This obviously showing just the head and bust of a person and then showing the light bulb above. I thought that this wasn't showing enough information. I thought that cutting off this guy right here was a little confusing. I added a thinking bubble here. I'd liked that element a little bit marked. I think it communicates thinking a little better than just the light bulb, which I think communicates like an idea. I then switch to add a little more detail by showing a guy sitting in the chair from the side and then thinking bubble, adding the desk. I think this is getting a little bit stronger. It's a little bit more of a narrative design. Then finally I arrived at the final solution, which is guy sitting at the table. The bubble here is communicating thought, but also the way his hands are positioned, is also communicating that thinking is going on. I got my hands on my chin, I'm contemplating and then this hand is resting on the desk as well. I want you to go through a similar process for your reference. If you're going to illustrate a bus or a bicycle or a house, you might want to snap a picture of it and use that for inspiration for your sketches. Then using those same design techniques that we just went through, I created a sketch for each one of my reference and this is the final deliverable for this unit. Once you guys go through this process and create sketch for each of your reference, I'd like for you to take a picture of it and upload it to the project section of the website. Once you've done that, then you have completed unit 2 of this course for your class. Thanks again for taking the class and I will see you in next unit. 3. A Crash Course to Adobe Illustrator: Hi everyone. Its Edward Boatman. Welcome to unit 3 of the Skillshare class in introduction to symbol design. So in this unit, we're going to take the sketches that we just completed in unit 2 and we're going to put them in Illustrator and we're going to start to vectorize these designs. In this video in particular, it's going to be a crash course on the basics of Illustrator. So if you already know Adobe Illustrator, go ahead and turn this video off and go and skip to the next video. If you're just getting new to Adobe Illustrator, if you're just getting started with it, this video is perfect for you. We're in Illustrator here and one of the first things we're going to do is we're going to create a new document. So just go up here to File and New. Let's not give it a name for now. You can see this controls the size of it. Let's just leave it at letter and press "Okay". So here we go, we have a complete blank canvas here. Now, you're going to be looking around at this Illustrator program and you're going to be saying there's a lot of tools in here and it can probably look pretty intimidating, but good thing is that in order for you to execute the final project which is a set of 20 icons, there's only actually a few tools that you're going to need to know. So it should be actually pretty easy and I'm going to teach you these tools today. Let me move this out of the way. So the first thing I want to teach you guys is about how to draw lines. They are basically the basis for everything else we're going to learn how to do. So there's essentially two ways you can draw a line. One is with the pen tool, which is right here. You can essentially just create two points. So here to here, you can see right there we've created a line. So if you want to manipulate that line, you can go over here to the selection tool in the top left corner and grab it, and you can actually adjust the thickness of the line by going up here to the stroke weight and increasing it. You can make it really thick, you can actually type in a number here. So you want to make it 40 points thick, that makes it very thick. If you want to make it one point thick, that makes it very thin. So that's one way you can draw a line. The other way you can draw a line is with the line tool. So this one works a little differently in the sense that you have to hold down the mouse. So hold it down, drag where you want to go and then release. It's that simple. One thing you can do with line tool is if you want to keep your line completely 90 degrees, you can draw and then press the shift button on your keyboard and that keeps it completely straight, completely flat. You notice even if I go up or down with my cursor, it still remaining completely horizontal. I can do the same thing with keeping it vertical. It also works at 45 degrees as well. So all lines, with pen tool and with the line tool. Now let's talk about manipulating these lines a little bit. So let's go to the selection tool again and grab this. So if you want to move it, you can just move it anywhere you like on the canvas. It's one way to manipulate it. If you want to manipulate it a little bit more, you can go to the direct selection tool which is the top right. You select this tool, and actually you can manipulate the line now by these points. Obviously with the line, there's only two points, a start point and a finish point. So I can grab one of those and move it. You can see I'm completely manipulating line now. Same thing here. You'll see there's some smart guides here that you'll see that will snap to be on vertical axis with this point down here, same thing to be completely horizontal. So Illustrator has got some really nice intelligent guides built into it. So we know how to draw the lines, we know how to use the pen tool to draw a line, we know how to use the line tool to draw a line, we know how to make them thick and thin. Let's talk about making shapes now. So let's go to the pen tool and let's make a long line with a series of points and I'll circle back. Let's actually close this line so it creates a shape. You can see as I near the starting point, you can see a little circle pops up by the pen tool. This means that I'm actually going to close this into a shape. So now I have no longer a line, but a closed shape. I can still do the same thing by manipulating the stroke weight so I can make it thick, I can move it, I can grab one of these points, and manipulate it still. How do I change the color inside? That's a perfect place to start talking about fill. So if I want to change the color here, I can do it with these two boxes here and these two boxes here. So if I highlight this, this is controlling the stroke. This box right here, the black outline is controlling the stroke, so the color of the outline. If I want to control the color of what's inside, the fill, I can do it with this box right here. You can see that there's nothing in there as indicated by the red line going to the box. But if I want a color, just hit the drop-down and let's say I want to make it blue. There we go, I have a shape. Now, if I don't want that black outline around it, I make the stroke so there's nothing. So make it so there's a red line going to the box, and I can also manipulate that down here as well, so let's keep the stroke at nothing. Here we go. So now we know how to create a shape, we know the different tutoring stroke and fill. I now want to talk about how to create some more geometric shapes. So let's start with a rectangle. So go to your rectangle tool, that's right here. One thing to point out is in this tool palette here, if you see that there's a little black arrow at the corner of these icons, that actually means that there's more tools buried beneath. So you can see here beyond the pencil tool, there's all these different tools here. The rectangle tools like that, it has a rounded rectangle tool, ellipse tool, and polygon tool. But for now, let's just do the rectangle tool. So for the rectangle tool, just select the mouse and drag it, and then release. Let's change the color of the rectangle to be black. So let's go up here, there we go. Here's our rectangle. We can do a couple of things with that. If we want to adjust the size of it, we just take our normal selection tool and we can just hover over the sides and you can see these two arrows pop up. We can make it thicker and thinner, we can also adjust the height of it like this, we can also select on it and go to the corner and rotate it. Now, when you're rotating it, you can also hold down the shift key, and that creates, so it only rotates in 45 degrees which is a really nice feature. If I release the shift key, you can see that I can rotate it anywhere I want. So that's the rectangle tool. Let's look at the ellipse tool. Same thing. Draw an ellipse. Now say I want to draw a perfect circle. Well, you go to the ellipse tool, but then you hold down shift while you're doing that and that creates a perfect circle. If I release shift, you can see it goes back to an ellipse, but if I hit shift, perfect circle, it constraints the proportions. Same thing with a rectangle tool in terms of drawing a square. So you can draw a rectangle, but if you want it to be a perfect square, hit shift and it constrains the proportions. We now know how to draw some lines, how to draw some basic shapes. Let's look at some more complex shapes. For example, how would you draw this shape? It's complex. You're probably thinking, "How would you do that?" Well, one of the keys with Illustrator is you have to see the shapes within a shape. This shape right here, I actually see two circles in it. I see one circle, then it looks like there was another circle laid on top of it, and it was subtracted from this first circle. Let's see if we can duplicate that. Let's go here let's go to the Ellipse tool, and let's just create a simple circle. Now let's copy this circle out. To copy, there's a couple of ways you can do it. You can do Command C on an Apple or Control C on an Apple. I'm pressing that right now. Then Command V or Control V, paste it. You can see it just paste there. Or another way you can do it is just select the object you want to copy and hit "Option". You can see how another arrow appears next to my cursor, and then you just drag away from that. There's two ways you can do it. Let's create a moon now. Let's just move this shape over the moon like that. Now if you highlight both of them, it shows these overlapping paths and it's this path that we want. Essentially, we have to subtract this shape from this one. The way we would do that is with the Pathfinder tool menu here. To get to the Pathfinder tool, I'll close it out so I can show you how to get it. You can go to window here and you will go down to Pathfinder right here. You can see there's a bunch of different options here in the Pathfinder tool. What's great is that these little icons are actually really intuitive. You can see this is the unite one. If you wanted to make this shape into one, either press "Unite" and all of a sudden it joins those. Let's not do that though. This is a good time to introduce another concept which is taking a step back, which the shortcut for that on a Mac is Command Z, on a PC it's Control Z. Take a step backwards. You can also just do that by going up here to Edit, sorry, I always do it with the Command Z and Control Z. Yeah, sorry, redo. There, you can undo a move by doing redo. Let's look at some of these other Pathfinder tools. You can minus this one from that, and that's what we want. You can just hit that. There you go. It subtracted this circle from this one. What you're left with is this moon shape. That's one way you can create these complex shapes. Let's look at this speech bubble. When I look at it, it just looks like a simple ellipse and then looks like a triangle is drawn down here. Let's see if we can do that. You take your ellipse tool, just drag it horizontally, and then you're going to create a triangle. To create a triangle you're going to want to go back to your point tool. We're just going to want to 1, 2, 3 and then go back to the original and close it. Now you have a triangle tool. You can move it there where you like. If you want to adjust this a little bit, you can bring that in. If you want to make this a little bigger, you can actually hover over here in the corner and enlarge that. There you go, another way you can create those complex shapes. Lesson here is that when you see these complex shapes, always try to be thinking of the shape within a shape. Just with those simple tools that I gave you, the line tool, the ellipse tool, the rectangle tool, some of these pathfinder elements, you can begin to start creating this and to get your confidence going, we're going to actually trace one of these icons. You saw that I just zoomed in there. I should probably tell you about that. Zooming in is Command Plus and Command Minus on a Mac, on a PC, that would just be Control Plus and Control Minus. Let's start with a pretty simple shape. This TV console is very simple. Let's just copy this out. Just select it. Again, it's Command C and, that copies it to your clipboard. Let's go to our original document and let's just paste it in there. I designed this icon on a grid and we're going to get to that in the next video in this unit. But for now, let's try to duplicate the grid. You're going to go to Command K. That would be Control K on a PC. It brings up this Preferences menu. You're going to want to go to Guides and Grid. It's already set there at 48 points. You're going to have a good line every 48 points and you're going to do 48 subdivisions within those grids. Just press "Okay". Now I have to show that grid. You go up to View and you go to Show Grid. Now you're going to want your cursor to snap to the grid. You're going to go to View and you're going to Snap to Grid. There we go. Now when you move this, you're going to see that it's going to jerk. You see that, how it's snapping to the grids individually. Let's just place this so it aligns perfectly with the grid and you can see right in there it's aligned perfectly. See how every line falls on the grid. This is going to make it really easy to design this. Another thing we want to do and another concept introduced is the idea of layers. We want to move this to a different layer than the layer we're going to be drawing on. To do that, you go over here and you're going to go to this icon right here, which is the Layers icon. You're going to select that. You're going to want to create a new layer, which is right here. There we go. Well currently I'm this layer because it's highlighted. If you select this, you can see that it's on the bottom layer. What we want to do is we essentially want to lock this layer. We're just going to press this button right there, that locks it. You can see I can't grab it anymore. Now we're going to want to literally trace this, and this is going to teach you a bunch of concepts when you trace this. Let's get our line tool out. Remember this one. Let's zoom in here. Let's just start tracing. You can see a line here. Now, we probably want to trace in a different color so it shows up against the background. Let's make these red. There we go. You can see that my lines are two points thick. There we go. Now to do this curved line, there's actually a tool that does that. You can hold down your line tool and you have this Arc Tool. Ark tool is really amazing. It creates these interesting arcs. But if you want to keep it completely circular, again, you just hit and hold the "Shift" key. That keeps the proportions constraint. There we go. Now let's use the Arc tool. There we go, just like that. Now, you can do that separately or you can just copy them out. I will copy them and I would rotate that. Let's do another one here. Finally, the last one. Now let's go back to our line tool and let's fill in the gaps, in this point. You can see that my cursor is really snapping to these grids, which makes it really nice. Stop there. If I want to adjust it, just move it here. Let's go here. There we go. We're almost halfway done, it's that easy. Now, let's look here. This little detail of this curved line here can be solved a couple of ways. That's the thing with Illustrator, you can really draw anything probably 10 different ways and come to the same solution. You could create a line like that and then go to the circle tool. I'm in stroke form so I need to switch it out to fill. That's one way you can do it. Another way you can do it as pretty cool because you can actually select the stroke, you can go to the stroke tool over here, hit that, and you can actually adjust how the endpoints of your stroke appear. Right now, you can see that it's ending in a butt cap. But if you wanted to be a round cap, you can do that. You can see how now your strokes are going to be ending with a circle. You can see that's another way you can do it. For this exercise, let's just keep it at a butt cap, but I just wanted to show you that detail because it's really powerful. Let's highlight this. Copy these over. There it is. Let's draw here. Now, this is another opportunity to learn something new. You can see that I didn't have the right stroke settings selected, so you can see that my stroke is nothing and my fill is nothing. So you just see this red line here. If I want to match the properties of this stroke to this one, I can just go to this eye drop tool here, select it, hover over here, and select it. You can see that the properties of this stroke automatically get placed on this one, which is a really cool tool. Let's go back to our Arc tool. There we go. Let's rotate that and pull this up. You can pull this up. Let's connect these lines here. Zoom in a little further and let's get the stroke tool again. See how I created that in a new way? I moved to the rectangle, drew the rectangle, and I created these rounded edges with this tool right here, with the corner tool. Normally, it's on this minor joint, which means it's just going to be a hard 90 degrees, but if you want to make it soft, you can do the round joint. There you go. That simple. Let's copy this over. Now we only have one last part here. Copy this over. Another way, you can flip these as you can go. You can have it highlighted, and you can go to objects, you can go to transform, you can go to reflect. If you just imagine a mirror, do you want to reflect it vertically or do you want to reflect it horizontally? In this case, we want to flip it vertically. So we want it to be shaped over here. Just do vertical and it flips for you. Here we go. Let's connect it, and there we go. You just created that icon. It's that simple. That was really simple. Now let's highlight this entire icon and let's move it over. Let's move it over to the next grids section here. Now, you notice everything is still in stroke form. You can tell that by when you highlight it, it's a stroke and not a fill. One thing about that is, if you enlarge this, you would see that the shape of the strokes would enlarge, but the thickness would not. What we want to do is we want to change all of these to a fill to actually make it a shape. Let me unlock this, show you the difference. See how this is all fill right here? I can enlarge it and it actually enlarges as opposed to this one, where you can enlarge the strokes, but then the line weights don't change. How do we change this from a stroke to fill? Well, what you do is you would highlight everything. Well, let's just start with one so I can show you an example. Just highlight this. You go up here to object, path, outline stroke. There you go. You now started with a stroke, but now you have an actual shape with points here that you can change. So you want to do that for the entire shape, the entire icon. Just select everything. Object, path, outline stroke. There you go. Now, you also want to merge all of these together because you don't want to have just a bunch of separate shapes floating around, you want them to be merged together. Highlight this, and you're going to want to go to the Pathfinder tool. You're going to want to go to this one, right here, which says Unite, and you just want to hit that. There it is. You united everything together, which is really cool. Now you can enlarge this, change the color of it. Just like that. There you go. Now you know how to use Illustrator. A few basic functions that are going to allow you to execute these designs and turn your sketches into finished icons. Now, I also have linked to a bunch of other tutorials in the resources section of this unit and I would recommend looking at those. Then also check out the next video. I think if you were a beginner and you watch this tutorial, you're definitely going to have a better grasp on some fundamental concepts. 4. Designing a Symbol in Adobe Illustrator: Hi, everyone. It's Edward Boatman in here. Welcome to Unit 3 of the Skillshare class in Introduction to Symbol Design. In this unit, we're going to take the sketches that we created in the last unit, and we're going to place them in Adobe Illustrator. We're going to start to vectorize these designs. I'm going to walk you through the design process that I use. Hopefully, you can learn something from that. The final deliverable for this unit is you're going to share one design or one finished icon in Illustrator that you're most proud of. That's going to the final deliverable. When you create that, go ahead and upload that to the Project section in the Skillshare website. So let's jump into the Illustrator. The Illustrator template file open up here. This is available for you to download in the Resources section of Unit 3. You can see inside of the file, I have all of my finalized icons from my timeline. There's a couple of things I want to talk about here. One of them is that all these icons look like they belong together in a set; they all have the same aesthetic. I achieve that in a couple of different ways. One is I used a grid and I made sure that the designs fell on top of the grid. If you zoom in here, you can see that all the lines fall on the grid. This is good for keeping things aesthetically similar, but it's also good because it simplifies the design process a lot. Now, obviously, the grid is just simply a guide; you can break from it. You can see that this design is not necessarily completely on the grid. Another thing that helps keep the set consistent is that all the line weights are exactly the same. There are two points. You can see that this line weight is the same as this line weight, is the same as that. That really helps keep the design consistent. The third thing is that all of the corners around it just gives it a nice, soft, subtle feel to it. It helps keep the design playful, and it also helps keep the icons together as a group. Before you start out on your designs, I would recommend setting some rules for yourself. Define what line weight you're going to use if you're going to use the outline technique. Are you going to use curved or hard 90-degree corners? If you're just getting started out, I would recommend doing this exact same design aesthetic that I did. So a two-point line and then keeping things rounded. I think it will simplify the design process quite a bit. If you're advanced, then by all means, use your own design style and have at it. I'm going to now go through the process that I use to design one of these icons. Let's open up a new document. Let's just call it Edward's Day. We can leave it at letter, that's fine. Now, one of the first things we're going to do is we're going to want to set up our grid. Let's go into Command, K. It's going to be Control, K on a PC. You go to "Guides & Grid". You can see here, we're going to have a grid line every 48 points and then 40 subdivisions within those grids. That's perfect, that's exactly what we want. They you go to "View", "Show Grid", and then "View", "Snap to Grid". Now, we have our grid setup. Let's place a image of one of our sketches in here. Just go to "File", "Place". I'm just placing in a JPEG here. This is the icon we're going to draw. Now, let's make the height of this 48 points. Now, we're going to create an icon that is going to be in the style that communicates this sketch. We're going to want it to basically take up an entire section of the grid. What I would recommend is just analyze the basic shapes and let's just get those down on paper first. It's very similar to drawing in your sketch book where you just start with a little bit of detail, and then you slowly add in more over time. Like I said, we're going to do two points. Let's have this guy's head at seven. It's pretty good. You're also going to need another circle to create the shoulders. Let's make that six because your shoulders are always a little smaller than your head. Let's move this down tinny bit. I look at the feet here. How will we create those? What I like to do is start off with just creating a stroke. I'm going to make this 1.5 and you're going to see why. We're actually going to put a round cap on it. What I'd like to do is I outline the stroke. Then, now it's all filled, but I'm going to change it back into a stroke, and then align that to the outside, and then make that two. That's the process I'd like to go through to create these arms and legs in my people. Let's copy one out for the other leg. You can start to see these shapes are starting to come together. Now, we're going to need a line here to connect the shoulders to the legs. Let's get in a line for this arm up here. Again, 1.5. We're going to make this a round cap. We're going to outline it. Then we're going to make the stroke again. Align that to the outside, two points. There you go, looks pretty nice. Actually, that's transitioning pretty well there. So you can see that we're starting to get it laid out pretty nicely. Now that we have it laid out, I want to start layering in some more detail. Let's keep this version the way it is in case we make a mistake later, we can always go back to it. Let's just copy it out. One thing that we're going to do is we're going to start carving away at this. Let's outline all these strokes. Now, obviously, this line in here we're going to have to get rid of, because we just want it to be one line all the way here. Why we do that is we just create another shape and we would subtract the shape that we are going to create from the circle. Go to the "Pathfinder" tool to track, and there we go. Now, let's move on here down to the legs. I have a different technique for the legs. What I want to do is I essentially want to get rid of this entire curved portion here, but leave these two lines. So what I'm going to do is just create another shape. Again, I'm going to subtract this shape from this. Let me bring this to the front. You can see it locks. So now, select both of them and again, subtract. This needs to be brought to the front. There we go. Sometimes, you're going to want to change the color of this just so you can see it better. Now, we're going to want to create a line that comes from here, down here to form the front of the chest. Lets turn our grid back on first. You can see, this is a very much like drawing. It's a lot of trial and error. Let's move this piece, this point up little bit. So if there's two points on top of one another, if that happens, you just delete one of them. Let's pull this up a little bit. It's starting to look nice. So now, we're going to have to get rid of all of this in here. Again, the way we're going to do that is just by creating a shape to delete this part. So let's first outline that stroke and let's create a shape. So I'm just going to go here. Again, I'm going to take this shape and subtract it from this shape. There we go. Let's send this to the back. Again, this is about layering in detail slowly. So even though right now, it still looks very rough. We're slowly refining it. This is going to have to be cut. Let's make sure this line intersects. Here we go. Now, even though these are different shapes, we will merge them together at the end, but starting to look like they're all in one path, which is great. Let's go up here, and what we're going to want to do is make this transition from this shape to this curve really nice. So you can see that's a very smooth transition now. I also want this line to end here, so I need to get rid of all the stuff inside here. So what I'm going to do is just create simply a square, and I also where I cut off this line, I want it to be perpendicular to this line, and you'll see why. The way I do that is I just draw a square, make sure it's parallel to this line, there it is, then move it over where I want to cut off. Like that. Here we go. Now, you can take these two and divide them, and that allows you to start deleting some areas. Now, it's really starting to get clean. Now, I'm going to want to make this circular here, so it has that nice curved, soft aesthetic. We know that this line was a two-point line, so let's just go to our circle to make sure our grid is on and create that circle. Now, we can just move this over, and I'm going to clean that up a little bit later, but you can see that really makes that design a lot more soft. So you can see we're getting there. Now, let's add this back arm. Again, we're going to want it to be 1.5 just like all the other ones, make it curved, and then round caps. We'll want to save this in case we get it wrong, so we can go back and adjust it. You can see maybe that this angle should probably beat up a little bit, or actually, let's see. I guess that's all right, actually. We have that layered in here. Let's outline this now. Again, all we're going to want is just this part. We don't need any of this, so let's just create a shape to get rid of it. We want to ungroup this to get rid of this portion as well. There we go, we have a guy walking. Now, we have to just join these together, so let's copy this out. Let's first make sure all the paths, let's outline them, so you'll want to highlight everything and make sure that there's no paths which it looks like there's not, so let's make sure this is all black. Now, we're going to want to go through, and we're going to want to start joining everything, start merging everything together. When you do that, you're going to see that there are some points that we'll need to go back and touch up later, and we'll get to that in the next unit. You can see I'm trying to join these. If you want to move really fast, just highlight it all. There you go. We've created that design there. Again, the steps were; you lay out the basic shapes, once you get the basic geometry right, you start outlining the strokes, and using the Pathfinder tool, you start cutting away at the elements that you don't want until you're left with only the elements that you do want and then you merge them together. In the next unit, we're going to start perfecting those, or we'll polish these designs even more. So thanks again, and we'll see you in the next unit. 5. Creating the Final Product: Hi, everyone. It's Edward Boatman here. Welcome to the very last unit, unit 4, in the Skillshare class; an introduction to simple design. In this unit, we're going to learn how to polish up the designs that we created in the last unit and we're going to format our timeline so we can get it ready to share it with the world and complete it. So let's go ahead and jump in Illustrator. One thing that we're going to be looking at in particular today is these anchor points. As you can see, there's some unnecessary ones that we need to delete. An anchor point, they control the intersections, essentially where these lines intersect. You can see from here to here, this is just one continuous line. These anchor points right here are completely unnecessary. So let's delete them. The way we do it on as we go to this tool and it's going to delete anchor point. Just hover over it and delete them. Just like that. You want to go through your design and look for other ones. Here's one. This one as well. This is looking pretty clean down here. Now up here, this needs to be cleaned up. There's way too many. Obviously, don't delete that one, it changes the entire shape. You can now see it's starting to get much more clean. Looks like there's a tiny little edge here. We can look at the clean-up. Perfect. All right, that's looking pretty good. You want to just make sure again that there's no strokes. You can tell that by highlighting it all and the stroke box has a red line through it. It's all black. This is ready to go. Let's copy this into our Illustrator template here. When you do yours, these will obviously be filled with all of your designs. Just like that. This is what yours will start to look like. Just to check one more time, you should highlight all of your symbols and again, you're seeing that there's no strokes, and it's all fill, it's all black. That means that this is ready to go, that this is ready to be shared with the world. Before we finalize it and upload it to Skillshare, I want to upload my symbols that I created to the Noun Project website because people then from around the world can download them and use them in infographics and all kinds of projects, and you can actually make money from the people that download your symbols. I'll show you how to upload that. You're going to want to highlight an icon. Let's do this one, this is the shower one. A french breakfast actually. Copy that. Let's create a new document and just call it "Coffee." It's going to be 100 points by 100 points. Paste that in there. You want to make the largest dimension of your symbol, in this case, the height, you want to make that a 100 points. You want to go to Object, Artboards, Fit To Selected Art. There we go. Save that out. Save it as an SVG, Scalable Vector Graphic. Okay. Now I can go to the Noun Project website. I'm already logged in, but if you don't have an account, you can log in with Facebook or you can log in just creating an account yourself. Just go to upload icons. If you follow the directions that I just gave you, your icons will be in compliance with all these rules. You can select multiple ones, just hold down the Shift key. There they go. You can fill the information out, the source of the symbol. I am the original designer of the symbol. What is this symbol? Breakfast. You can choose the license of it. I'm going to choose to license it under Creative Commons Attribution, which means anyone can download it, they can use it for any purpose, but they must say that it's designed by Edward Boatman. This one here essentially releases it into the public domain. It means anyone can use it for any purpose, but they don't have to attribute it to you. The symbol should be attributed to Edward Boatman. The year it was designed is 2013. Oops, sorry. United States. You can link to your portfolio if you want to, and you can just tag it. So coffee. There you go. As simple as that. That's how you upload the symbols to the Noun Project. I want to now go back to the final icons here. This is your final artboard. You can see that I've created all these icons here that represent the day. I'm going to now copy these in. Before I do that and I should probably type in here my name. Let's copy all of these out. Let's go to the final artboard file. This is available in the Resources section of unit 4. You're just going to paste. You're going to want to make sure that it fits right into this guide that I placed in here. It's pretty perfect. Delete the guide, and there you go. This is your final artwork that you can save it out as a JPEG and upload it to the Skillshare website. Share with the world, post it on Facebook. It is your timeline, visually described to icons. So that's the end of the course. I hope you guys learned a lot and I really hope that you keep these timelines around and maybe in 15-20 years you look back at them, and it's a nice visual artifact that tells the story of your life. Once again, thank you so much for taking the course and have a great day.