Flat Design Evolution: How To Custom Flat Icon in Photoshop

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Flat design is trending now, up to several well-known brands use flat in their design such as Apple, Google and Microsoft. But the trend is not stopped, there are some designers had already exprimented with flat design and had added some effects like long shadow, drop shadow, and gradient effects.

In this photoshop tutorial, I’ll show you the very simple ways to create these effects (long shadow, gradient and drop shadow) so you can create it by yourself. Let’s get started!

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Here, what you’ll be creating:
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Creating a Basic Flat Icon

Before we create a custom for flat icon first create a basic icon, at here I create a simple play flat icon

Step 1:

Create new file with Open menu ‘File’ -> ‘New’, and set Width: 500px, Height: 400px. Then fill the Background with the color #e8d59b.

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Step 2:

Create guide with choose menu ‘View’ -> ‘New Guide’.
Check ‘Vertical’ and fill position to ‘122px’ and then click ‘OK’

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Do it again and fill this:
Vertical: 157px,177px,250px,323px, 343px, 378px
Horizontal: 72px, 107px, 127px, 200px, 273px, 293px, 328px

Here the result
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Step 3:

Now, let create the basic object for this flat icon.
Set the Foreground color to #d14242, Pick the Rounded Rectangle Tool, choose the Shape option in the Options bar, and set the Radius to 40.

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Step 4:

With Ellipse Tool and set the foreground color to #ffffff, create rounded object at the center

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

still on rounded object, click on “subtract from shape area (-)” and create another rounded area at the center

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Step 5:

With Custom Tool and set the foreground color to #ffffff, create an object at the center
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Now we have sample of a flat icon and then we will add some effects to this flat icon.

Effect I: LONG SHADOW

Here a step by step tutorial to add long shadow effect:

Step 1:

With Rectangle Tool and set the foreground color to #000000, create an object behind simbol layer
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

[CMD+T] or [CTRL+T] to free transform the object and rotate to 45°
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Add Layer Mask to Rectangle object
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Still at Layer Mask position press[CMD+left click on mouse] at Shape 1 and then click ‘Select’ -> ‘Inverse’ on top menu
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

With Paint Bucket Tool and set the foreground color to #000000, paint the selection
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

with Pen Tool change the poin like at the picture below
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

change layer Opacity to 20%
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Step 2:

Step 2 is almost same with the Step 1
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Effect II: GRADIENT

We continue with gradient effect, here the step by step:

Step 1:

Create a duplicate layer of “Shape 1” with [right click on the mouse] at layer “Shape 1”
and put click and drag layer to the top. Change the fill to 0%
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Step 2:

With Pen Tool, delete some point and drag the point to the center
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Add layer style with double click on Layer duplicate of “Shape 1” and apply this layer style
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Step 3:

Add layer style on Layer “Shape 1” too!
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Effect III: DROP SHADOW

And the last is drop shadow effect, since this effect is very simple. Let’s get started:

Add this layer style to every Layer
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

Congratulations! You’re done.
Flat Design Photoshop Tutorial

In this tutorial, I explained a very simple ways to add some trending effects on flat icon design by using Photoshop. We hope that you learned something in this tutorial and can use these tips to help create your own long shadow, gradient and drop shadow on your flat designs.

– Written by Yahya –

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