Retro style always remains trendy as it inspires artists and designers with its subtle palettes and smooth shapes. In this tutorial we’ll be creating a set of retro media icons in Affinity Designer, using basic shapes and modifying them with the help of the Operations panel. We’ll be working with gradient fills, adding a retro touch by using Noise. Let’s get started!
By the end of this lesson, you’ll have created three detailed flat media icons and will be able to apply your new skills to create any other set of flat icons in a similar pseudo-dimensional style with
Before we proceed, be sure to check out these references of
retro-style objects from Envato Market: retro TV sets and vintage radio. They might help you to brush up on the proper images in your
memory. Now that we’re inspired, let’s begin!
1. Prepare Your Document
Start by making a New File of 700 x 400 px
Take the Rectangle Tool (M) and make a rectangle of the same size for the
background. Fill it with light-beige color using the Colour panel. Find the tiny circle Opacity/Noise switcher at the bottom of the Colour panel. Switch to Noise
and set the slider to 30%, making
the background grainy.
Use the Arrange function from the control toolbar to Align the rectangle to the Centre
of the canvas horizontally and vertically.
2. Create a Retro TV Icon
Take the Rounded Rectangle Tool (M) and make a 110 x 85 px shape. Take the Fill
Tool (G) and drag it over the shape to apply a vertical Linear Fill.
You can adjust the colors of the gradient either from
the drop-down Fill menu in the control panel on top or by clicking the circle
markers of the gradient slider above the object and picking the proper color in the Colour panel.
Fill the shape with brown
gradient, making it darker on top. Apply 30%
Noise as we did for the background.
Set the Corner radius of the shape to 10%
on the control toolbar on top.
Copy the created rectangle and Paste
it (Command-C > Command-V). Hold Shift and shrink the new shape, making
it proportionally smaller. Change the colors of the gradient to dark and light beige.
(Command-C > Command-V) the shape once again and
make it smaller. Edit the colors, making the gradient lighter. Remember to
apply 30% Noise to every shape we
Let’s make the bottom panel of our TV set.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 104 x 13 px shape. Head to the control
toolbar on top and uncheck the Single
radius box. This way we can adjust each corner separately. Set the Corner radius of the bottom left and bottom right corners to 40%.
Apply the same dark-brown linear gradient as we
have for the base of the TV. You can do this either by picking the colors
manually, using the Eyedropper Tool (check
out Part 2, Step 1 of this Lighthouse Flat Icon tutorial to find out how to use it), or there is a
simpler way. Just copy the TV base shape (Command-C),
select the narrow panel shape, and Edit >
Paste Style. Adjust the position of the gradient with the Fill Tool (G).
Now let’s make the screen of our TV. Use the Rounded Rectangle Tool (M) to make an 85 x 54 px shape. Check the Single radius box and set the Corner radius value to 45%, making the shape almost elliptical. Fill it
with Linear gradient of
greyish-green retro colors, and remember to apply Noise.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to create a narrow stripe of 90 x 2 px size. Fill it with light
greyish-green color and set the Blend
Mode to Multiply on top of the Layers panel to make the stripe
and drag the object down, making a copy. Press Command-J several times to add more copies, covering the screen.
Let’s hide the unwanted pieces of the
stripes outside the screen. Group
(Command-G) the stripes. Head to the Layers
panel, and drag and drop the stripes over the screen layer. You will see a short
blue stripe like in the image below, indicating that the stripes are placed
inside the screen shape, as if inside a container.
Let’s add the channel and volume buttons. Use
the Ellipse Tool (M) to make a 14 x 14 px circle and apply a Linear gradient
from dark grey to light grey.
(Command-C > Command-V) the circle and shrink it to 11 x 11 px. Change the direction of the gradient to the opposite.
Add a narrow 2 x 11 px stripe across the circle and
use the Align panel or the Arrange panel in the control toolbar on
top to make the shapes fit each other.
Group the elements of the switcher and add a copy on the opposite side of
the TV. Rotate it a bit, adding variety to the image.
Add a row of buttons
to the front panel, using the Rounded
Rectangle Tool (M). Use the Pen Tool
(P) to draw two vertical lines across the rectangle. Place the
lines inside the rounded rectangle, using the Layers panel, as we did with the screen, thus separating the buttons from each other.
Let’s add the supporting legs to our TV. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to make an 8 x 8 px square with straight corners.
Fill it with vertical Linear gradient
from dark grey on top to lighter grey at the bottom.
Head to the control toolbar on top and Convert to Curves. Now we can edit each
node of the shape separately. Take the Node
Tool (A) and select and move both bottom nodes to the left a bit, making the shape
skewed. Move the bottom right node even more to the right.
Attach the leg to the bottom of the TV, Moving it to back (Shift-Command-[).
the leg and Flip
Horizontal to mirror the shape, using the Transforms panel on top. Attach the second leg to the opposite
side of the TV.
Use the Pen Tool (P) to add an antenna to the TV set. Head to the Stroke panel, set the Width to 3 pt and make the tips of the antenna rounded, switching the Cap to Round Cap.
Now let’s make a flat long shadow for our
icon. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to
make a 95 x 95 px square. Fill it with
vertical gradient from light beige on top to white at the bottom. Switch the Blend Mode to Multiply in the Layers
panel, thus making the shape semi-transparent.
Rotate the shape 45 degrees.
Move the shadow to Back
(Shift-Command-[) and attach it to the TV. Convert to Curves and use the Node
Tool (A) to combine the nodes with the parts of the TV, as marked in the
Great job! Our first icon is finished.
Let’s move to the next one.
3. Design a Retro Radio Icon
Let’s start making the base of our radio
from a rounded rectangle of 108 x 80 px
size. Set the Corner radius to 25% and fill the shape with Linear gradient from darker red in the
bottom to pale red on top, adding a retro touch.
to Curves and use the Node Tool (A) to select both top left nodes of the shape and move
them 4 px to the right by pressing
the Right Arrow key four times.
Repeat the same for the opposite side, making the top part of the radio narrower.
Grab the top edge of the shape with the Node Tool (A) and drag it up, making
the edge slightly arched.
And let’s fix the nodes, making the line smooth.
Select them with the Node Tool (A)
and Convert to Smart from the control toolbar on top.
Let’s add a dynamic and some buttons to our
radio. Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to
make a semi-transparent shape in Multiply
Mode and place a group of narrow stripes on top of it, as we did with the screen of
the TV icon. Group the elements and
place them inside of the radio shape, using the Layers panel.
Copy the buttons from the TV panel, resize and recolor them into silver metal colors to make them fit the appearance of the radio.
Let’s add a big round switcher to our
radio. Use the Ellipse Tool (M) to
make a 43 x 43 px circle with Linear fill from grey to white, giving
it a metal look.
Duplicate the circle and make the top copy a bit smaller, filling it with vertical
gradient of dark-red tints.
Add another smaller copy on top and apply a
beige-yellow linear fill. Finally, add one more small circle and invert the
direction of the yellowish gradient.
Use the Pen Tool (P) to add a vertical 3
pt stripe across the switcher and rotate it 45 degrees. Finish up by placing a small circle on top of the
Now we’ll add a handle to our radio. Use
the Rectangle Tool (M) to make a 99 x 45 px shape with 3 pt Stroke and no Fill. You can apply a Linear
gradient to the Stroke as well,
making the handle look metal.
Uncheck the Single radius box in
the control toolbar on top and make the top left and right corners 25% rounded.
Move the handle to Back
(Shift-Command-[), placing it beneath the radio.
Add a red rounded rectangle for the grip,
placing it on top of the metal handle.
Add a rounded rectangle for the button and
a 3 pt Stroke for the metal antenna,
placing both objects beneath the radio (Shift-Command-[).
Finish up with the radio icon by adding a
long, flat, semi-transparent shadow.
And there we have it! Let’s move on to our
4. Make a Newspaper Icon
Start making a newspaper from an 85 x 85 px rectangle. Fill it with a
gentle greyish-green Linear gradient and make the
bottom right corner 10% rounded.
Let’s make our newspaper folded by placing
another paper sheet in front. Create a 93 x 45
px rectangle and make its top left corner 15% rounded.
rectangle of 36 x 45 px size, making
the shapes overlap. Make the top left corner 15% rounded. Fill it with Linear
gradient from dark greyish-blue to lighter grey.
created piece together with the largest rectangle in the back and use the Align panel on top to align the new shape to the right edge of the newspaper
Duplicate (Command-C > Command-V) the
dark shape and keep the copy invisible by removing
the tick in the Layers panel.
Select the dark shape and the smaller paper sheet it and apply Subtract from
the Operations panel in the control
toolbar on top to cut out the shape.
Duplicate the biggest newspaper sheet and
reveal the copy of the dark shape in the Layers
Select the paper sheet copy and the dark shape
and apply the Intersect Operation to
cut the dark shape.
Duplicate the dark shape once again and move the copy to the right. I’ve filled it with
red color just to make it visible in the image below. Select both copies and
apply the Subtract Operation to cut
Take the Corner Tool (C) and make the top right corner of the shape rounded as
well, forming a fold in the paper, so that the dark shape depicts the shadowed
back side of our newspaper.
Let’s add a large header to our newspaper.
Use the Artistic Text Tool (T) and
type the word NEWS using a bold font, such as Bevan free font. Fill the
letters with dark greyish-blue color and add 30% Noise.
Use the Rectangle Tool (M) to add a narrow stripe beneath the header,
filling it with the same dark color as the header and adding Noise. Continue adding narrow stripes
to create stylized silhouettes of the text lines.
Add a group of stripes to the front part of
the newspaper as well, making its color a bit lighter.
Create a flat long shadow and attach it to
the newspaper, finishing our last icon.
Breaking News! Our Set of Retro Media Icons
Great job! You’ve learned how to work with simple shapes and modify them, using the Arrange and Align panels, the Operations panel, and various tools and functions of Affinity Designer, as well as working with Gradients Fills and
Strokes. I hope you’ve enjoyed following this tutorial and discovered some new
tips and tricks that will inspire you to make more vintage and retro-style
elements in this program.
Have fun and stay tuned for more!