DIY Icons for e-Learning

The challenge

The Articulate e-Learning Heroes weekly challenge #78 challenged creatives to create a set of icons, buttons, or stickers to share with the e-learning community.  There was a fantastic range of designs submitted.

The process and the design

As always, some really useful resources were provided for this challenge. I started by collating some of these and my own resources on a Pinterest board here.

The possibilities for this type of challenge are endless and I found it hard to decide on what style of icon to design.  I settled on basic navigation and functional type icons that I’ve needed in courses I’ve created recently and spent way too much time searching for.

I started by gathering some images of icons that I liked the look of and created this montage to work from.

Montage of image inspiration

I then started working with basic shapes in PowerPoint.  Here’s an example of how I combined and grouped shapes to make up each icon.

The original set of icons I came up with looked like this.  All of these icons were made using shapes in PowerPoint, with the exception of the ‘replay’ icon.

Once I was happy with the initial design, I thought it might be interesting to see how these icons could be easily converted into different designs using predominantly PowerPoint as a design tool.

Some of the effects I used included the Artistic Effects in PowerPoint such as “Texturiser”, “Pencil Grayscale”, “Plastic Wrap” and “Paint Strokes”, as well as filling the shape with a picture or texture.


The “Recolour” option in PowerPoint also came in useful and this is how I changed the icon set from green to blue very easily.


I also saved out the icons and imported them into Pixlr Express to work with the colours a little bit, adding “Vintage” and “Grunge” effects.  Pixlr  Express would have to be my favourite online image editor for quickly adding effects, overlays and borders to images.  Pixlr Editor is also an online image edit, but is much more advanced and allows you to work with layers and replace colours, more like Adobe Illustrator.


The result

Here’s some of the designs I came up with:


Free download

You can download my original PowerPoint working file with all of these icons on it here.  Enjoy!

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