Create a Lightbulb Icon with a Retro Misaligned Print Effect in Illustrator CS6+

Create a Lightbulb Icon with a Retro Misaligned Print Effect in Illustrator CS6+

Don't worry, it's intentional

This tutorial will teach you how to create a lightbulb icon completely from scratch in Adobe Illustrator, and give it a retro offset/misaligned print effect.

Step 1

Launch Illustrator and create a new 400 x 400 pixel document. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 2

Draw a circle shape roughly in the center of the canvas.
  • X: 552 px
  • Y: 138 px
  • Width: 100 px
  • Height: 100 px
create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 3

Draw a rectangle slightly overlapping the bottom section of the circle.
  • X: 578 px
  • Y: 217 px
  • Width: 48 px
  • Height: 40 px
create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 4

Select both shapes and use the Pathfinder window to Unite the two objects: create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 5

Use the Direct Selection tool to highlight the two newly created vector points where the circle and rectangle intersected, and set the Corners radius as high as it will allow (53.59 px). create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 6

Draw another rectangle directly below the existing shape.
  • X: 578 px
  • Y: 257 px
  • Width: 48 px
  • Height: 30 px
  • Corners: 0/0/4/4
create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 7

Draw an oval shape overlapping the rectangle.
  • X: 583 px
  • Y: 279 px
  • Width: 38 px
  • Height: 16 px
create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 8

Select the rectangle shape and move it to the top of the layers list CTRL_SHIFT+] or CMD+SHIFT+], then copy it to the clipboard CTRL+C or CMD+C. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 9

Highlight both the rectangle and oval shapes and use the Pathfinder window to Subtract the rectangle from the oval. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 10

Paste in Place CTRL+SHIFT+V or CMD+SHIFT+V to restore the rectangle. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 11

Now let's add a bit of color the lightbulb, use #F2E1C0 for the top section, and #CCCCCC and #999999 for the base. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 12

Select all elements and Copy then Paste in Place to duplicate them. With only the duplicated elements selected, remove the fill colors and set the stroke width to 4 pt and color #F2E1C0. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 13

Draw a small rounded rectangle with one straight corner and the rest fully rounded:
  • X: 587 px
  • Y: 204 px
  • Width: 12 px
  • Height: 12 px
  • Corners: 6/6/0/6
  • Stroke: 2pt #F2E1C0
create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 14

Duplicate the shape and nudge it 18 pixels to the right, then switch which corner isn't rounded.
  • X: 605 px
  • Y: 204 px
  • Width: 12 px
  • Height: 12 px
  • Corners: 6/6/6/0
  • Stroke: 2pt #F2E1C0
create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 15

Hold down the Shift key and draw 3 straight lines with a 2pt #F2E1C0 stroke as shown in the image below. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 16

Hold down the Shift key and draw another 3 straight lines with a 2pt #F2E1C0 stroke as shown in the image below.
  • X: 584 px
  • Y (Line 1): 266 px
  • Y (Line 2): 272 px
  • Y (Line 3): 278 px
  • Width: 36 px
  • Height: 0 px
create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 17

Hold down the Alt and Shift keys to draw a perfect circle with the Oval tool, starting from the middle of the light bulb. Then double click the circle to enter isolation mode and use the Direct Selection tool to highlight the bottom and left points then hit the Delete key to remove them. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 18

Draw another rounded rectangle above the lightbulb.
  • X: 599 px
  • Y: 100 px
  • Width: 6 px
  • Height: 24 px
  • Corners: 3
  • Stroke: 2pt #F2E1C0
create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 19

Highlight the rounded rectangle and with the Rotate tool active, hold down ALT and click in the middle of the light bulb to bring up the Rotate dialog. Enter 36° and click Copy. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 20

Press CTRL+D or CMD+D to repeat the last step 8 times. Then delete the 3 bottom-most shapes. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 21

To add some color to these rays of light, group them all together and copy them to the clipboard, then remove the stroke and set the fill to #F2E1C0. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 23

Paste in Place to restore the versions with strokes above the fills. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Step 24

Carefully select all layers that have a solid color fill (do not select any layers with strokes), group them together, move to the bottom CTRL+SHIFT+[ or CMD+SHIFT+[ and then use the arrow keys to nudge the color fills down 4 pixels and left 4 pixels. create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator

Result & Conclusion

Finally, add a subtle light gray background #EDE9E6 and here is the result: create an offset print style lightbulb icon in illustrator Hopefully you have enjoyed following along with this tutorial and creating your own hipster lightbulb. To recap, we covered various techniques for creating custom vector icons in Illustrator; including combining shapes, manipulating rounded corners and separating fills and strokes from each other.

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