Design a Pixel Perfect Mail Icon

Written ByLiam McCabeinGraphics, Tutorials


In this tutorial I will be showing you how to design a detailed mail icon. Using a numer of simple Photoshop techniques it should take you no longer than 15-20 minutes to create this beautiful icon.

Final Result

Step 1

First thing you want to do is open up photoshop. Ctrl + N to bring up the new canvas window. Both the width and height should be set to at least 48px and the resolution set to 72 and the color mode, RGB 8 bit. I set the background to white.

Step 1

Step 2

Now when it comes to designing almost anything, it’s always a good idea to use guides to make sure everything is nicely aligned. To add a guide slap bang down the middle of the canvas, from the top menu select view -> new guide, then select vertical and input half of whatever your width maybe, for us its 24px. Do the same for horizontal. Little tip, you can turn on and off guides by press ctrl + ;

Step 2

Step 3

When it comes to pixel perfection it’s also a good idea to use a grid so you prevent pixel blur. To bring up the grid press ctrl + ‘. I’ve set my grid up so that their is a gridline every 10 pixels with 10 subdivisions. If you haven’t messed around with grids and guides before you can change the settings by selecting from the top menu Edit -> Preferences -> Guides, Grids, and Slices. I then zoomed in to 1200% as this will make it easier when we come to draw our icon.

Step 3

Step 4

Okay now our canvas is all set up we can begin to draw our icon. The first part of the icon we need is the base rectangle of the envelope, so from the panel on the left select the rectangle tool (U) and draw a rectangle onto your canvas. Like so:

Step 4

Step 5

To do the flap of the envelope we are going to add an anchor point to our rectangle path. To do this, select and hold the pen icon on the left panel to reveal more tools similar to the pen tool. Select the Add Anchor Point Tool and add an anchor at the top of the rectangle in the middle. Now select the Direct Selection tool and move the newly created anchor point up so it looks something like this:

Step 5

We can use the same tool too remove the curves by dragging both of the points either side of the anchor point to the center/anchor point.

Step 5

Step 6

Now we are going to apply some styling to the layer, so double click the layer. The first this you want to do is reduce the fill opacity to 0%; Then add a light grey stroke using something smiliar to the following values:

Step 6

You should then get the following result:

Step 6 - 2

Step 7

Next style to add is a gradient overlay:

Step 7

Which should give you the following result:

Step 7 - 2

Step 8

And the final style to add is the inner glow. It is important to check your progress by zooming once or twice when adding your styling to ensure the icon looks asthetically pleasing.

Step 8

The inner glow should leave your icon looking something like this:

Step 8 - 2

And zoomed out:

Step 8 - 3

Step 9

Now to add the folds. The first one to add is the bottom one so grab your pen tool (P) and draw a triangle at the bottom of the envelope like so:

Step 9

Now right click the rectangle layer (with all the styling) and select ‘Copy layer style’. This will copy all those stylings you just did, now paste them onto the triangle layer you just made. You should get the following result:

Step 9 - 2

Zoomed out:

Step 9 - 3

Step 10

Now to grab the pen tool again and draw a quadrilateral like below:

Step 10

Now to add some more styling. The first stylng to add is a gradient overlay:

Step 10 - 2

Which should give you:

Step 10 - 3

Bare with me. :)

Step 11

The next layer style to add is a stroke:

Step 11

Looking better:

Step 11 - 2

Step 12

The final style to add is an inner shadow to give the icon a little bit of depth.

Step 12 - 2

Which should give you:

Step 12 - 2

Now move that layer below the triangle/fold layer, zoom out and you should have something like this:

final

Finished!

And there you have it! Your very own mail icon. You can continue to work on the icon by adding things inside the envelope or you might want to try working on a closed envelope.

final

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Comments
  1. Hi Liam,
    Nice tutorail mate,
    Thanks

  2. this is so nice, no need to work in illustrator

  3. Very well done- thank you.

  4. Thanks for the tutorial. It will come in handy in our future ventures. Keep up the good work.